It's an unspoken tradition among metal bands to pay homage to Dimebag Darrell any time they pass through North Texas. The legendary Pantera guitarist's grave is located at Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Arlington. Some bands etch their names into the gold-plated memorial honoring Dime's life. Black markers are also sometimes used to tattoo Dime's grave. Whiskey bottles, guitar picks and a cigarette or two are usually left behind by bands and fans paying their respect.
But it emerged over the weekend that one rogue musician took things too far recently in an attempt to desecrate Dime's gravesite, and the metal community responded with predictable displeasure.
Reece Eber, the former lead singer of a death metal band called Nuclear Hellfrost from Fort Wayne, Indiana, posted a hateful comment to his former band's Instagram account along with a photo of a piece of paper that read "FAG" on Dime's grave. The post generated more than 13,000 comments from Pantera fans after it appeared on Pantera's Facebook page.
"i HATE pantera... with a passion, and so does the rest of my band (Nuclear Hellfrost)," the former singer wrote. (Please excuse the horrible grammar of his comments.) "So on tour going through Texas, we paid douchebag darrell a visit. We spit on his grave, stole a pair of cowboy boats, and i wrote 'FAG' on his grave.
"I'm not a homophobe (scared of homosexuals)," Eber added, "but I hope all the panturrrra fans see this and shit themselves with anger.... FUCK DIMEBAG, buncha racist hillbillies."
It's unclear if Eber was referring to the fans or the band members as racist hillbillies.
Nuclear Hellfrost, having met an immediate backlash for Eber's actions, issued a statement two hours after their former singer's post appeared on Pantera's Facebook page:
"Anything having to do with grave desecration was entirely a hoax put on by our former lead singer completely disconnected from other members of the band," Nuclear Hellfrost posted on the band's Facebook page. "If you see Dimebag's grave, you can see there is nothing carved into his grave. The only thing that exists is a photo of a piece of paper posted by the former member.
"FAG" was written on the paper slip, placed on Dime's grave and photographed, and the band claims the former singer reportedly posted it on his Instagram account "as a misguided political publicity stunt that we were dragged into by a former member with an awful sense of humor.
"Even if what you say is true... you guys are now hated more than Justin Bieber," wrote one of the more than 9.3 million Pantera fans on the Facebook. "You better kick your ex singer's ass, cuz he just ruined your band and your reputations."
Nuclear Hellfrost recently played a show on December 28 in Dallas, but do not appear to have been anywhere in the area since then. Some Pantera fans did foam at the mouth when they heard the news of Dime's disrespect, and others screamed. "Off with their heads," and more than a few club owners claimed to have canceled the Indiana band's shows. But this Pantera fan's comment truly captures what many fans felt:
"Sad day when someone who has no idea who Dime even was decided to disgrace his final resting place. That man was the most genuine person I have ever met. Wouldn't even flinch to give someone the shirt off his back and the cash out of his pockets. Dime wouldn't have hold a grudge against those little fucks. He'd ask 'Why, brother?'"
Eventually, Ebert made his own public statement accepting full responsibility for the post, exonerating his former band and apologizing for what he'd done. The band reposted it on their own Facebook page:
"This is Reece Eber, the guy who ignorantly acted like a fool and pulled the dumbest possible delinquent act of my life... And where to begin... I've become famous today in the worst possible way. My friends and I have received death threats and multiple insults over the past day or so, I've made the news, and all I can say to sum it all up is I'm deeply sorry. I acted ignorantly and completely out of line. There is NO reason for doing what I did, and when I say "I", I mean ME alone. My friends were not present for the event and should have caught up with them when they were walking away, instead i left a piece of paper with an insult to a man many people idolize and for a cheap laugh that I didn't think about the consequences. I did not carve into it and it was a piece of paper and nothing was stolen. I'm not asking for forgiveness, I'm not asking for sympathy, I am only attempting to express an apology that I want to reach out to the people I hurt and offended with this dumb act. There is no reason for what I did and it was the worst mistake I've made in my young and evidently dumb life. I don't blame the threats and comments. I understand how you feel and that's why I'm an asshole because I knowingly was out for blood, and so I don't blame anyone for wanting to do god knows what to me. The fact of the matter is I feel awful and guilty and this will stick with me forever, just like the Seinfeld guy using the N word... I can not express how sorry I am to Vinnie Paul and the Abbott family for the distress I caused, and the other members of Pantera and other acts Darrell was a part of. I owe everyone an apology for my actions because they were uncalled for, and horrible, despicable, and I went way too far. Some jokes are NOT funny and this is one of them. I took a joke way too far with a piece of paper and some hurtful words and as I've expressed, I don't expect any sort of acceptance or sympathy. I'm doing this out of the guilt I feel, knowing I caused this and I want to attempt to make it right even though I'm sure many will not accept this... I'm truly sorry for my actions and I'm sorry I put people I care about in potential danger and upsetting people for my selfish and morbid sense of humor. Anyways to wrap this up, I hope this was read, I hope at least someone will accept this and I hope for a better future for everyone..."
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Thankfully, no actual damage appears to have been done Dime's gravesite, although the now-decade-long tradition of etchings have left it permanently scarred. Pantera could not be reached for comment when we asked for this thoughts on the matter. However, Vinnie Paul Abbott, Dime's brother, once said that he didn't understand "why somebody would wanna scratch their name in somebody's tombstone or anything." But he conceded that their fans are rabid and often do unheard-of-things.
"I just wish they would respect him," he said, "and let him rest in peace and just leave it at that."
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