UK's Metal Hammer magazine conducted an interview with drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott (HELLYEAH, PANTERA, DAMAGEPLAN) for its January 2008 issue, which celebrates the life of Vinnie's brother, late PANTERA/DAMAGEPLAN guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Metal Hammer: Do you think [Dimebag] gets the recognition he deserves? That people were too quick to merely see him as Dimebag the party animal and not the talented guitarist?
Vinnie: No, he knew those things went hand in hand. He knew he was the life of the party and a character and that kind of came along with everything he did. That was okay with him and okay with us.
Metal Hammer: Did the pair of you turn to each other for support when Phil Anselmo [PANTERA singer] started encountering his various problems whilst in PANTERA?
Vinnie: Oh, yeah, we spoke to each other about it all the time. We'd made several attempts to reach out to Phil. In the end, we felt it had gone too far and we really needed to do something. I remember, Dime had made some demos, and Jerry Cantrell [ALICE IN CHAINS guitarist] was over. We were just hanging out, pretty depressed. Dime took Jerry out in the car and played him the demos — which later became DAMAGEPLAN — and Jerry said, "You need to move on and do your own thing." Dime came back into the house and said, "Fuck this shit, we're not waiting around anymore. Let's just start our own band and do our own thing." And that's how DAMAGEPLAN came about.
Metal Hammer: Much has been made of the interview Phil did with Metal Hammer in 2004, just prior to Dimebag's tragic death, to the extent that you actually requested a tape of that interview to confirm its veracity, which we supplied. Since then, Phil has said a lot online and in the press about wanting to make amends. Has he ever tried to make contact with you?
Vinnie: No, man. I don't want to talk to him. I don't believe anything he says. He's the master of lies. He says that shit because he wants the fans to believe what he has to say and follow what he does. And they're like sheep and they will. I don't want to elaborate on it any further apart from to say: listen to the Metal Hammer interview and you'll know exactly how he felt about my brother. He can say anything he wants, now on the backside.
Metal Hammer: This is obviously a very sensitive area, and I hope you don't mind me asking the question, and you don't have to answer this if you don't want to, but what memories do you have of that tragic night?
Vinnie: Ah, man, the last thing that really matters to me is the last thing we said to each other before we went on stage. We were warming up on the side of the stage like we always did and we were both really excited — we only had two shows left and we were gonna be going home for Christmas and to begin work on the second [DAMAGEPLAN] record. Our code word to let it all hang out and have a good time was "Van Halen," man. And that's the last two words we ever said to each other. I said "Van Halen" and he said "Van Halen" and we high-fived each other and went on the deck to do our thing… and a minute and a half later I'll never see him again.
For more information on Metal Hammer's January 2008 issue, go to this location.