Zakk Wylde Pays Tribute to Dimebag Darrell
Tomorrow marks seven years since Pantera and Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell was killed onstage. Over the next few days, we are posting remembrances of him by his friends. Today, Black Label Society frontman and former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde (pictured left) explains Dime's legacy and what they had in common. The new, 100th issue of Revolver, which is available here and on newsstands on December 13, features a free pullout poster of Dimebag.
REVOLVER Why was Dimebag important to heavy music?
ZAKK WYLDE When people ask me, “What was Dime’s guitar playing like?” I say, “With Dime, it wasn’t just what he brought to the table, with the blues-y feel and the beyond-fucking-heavy riffs.” When you really think about it, he actually inspired a genre, like how [Black Sabbath guitarist] Tony Iommi inspired a genre of music. Not just Dime's ripping solos and all that bullshit, I’m talking about like the actual style of the fucking music.
What is it about Pantera’s music that signaled something new in metal?
They were head and shoulders above anybody that did that style of music. The rhythms are super tight, the musicianship was fucking slamming. I’m talking production, the musicianship, you know, ’cause it wasn’t just like fucking Pantera was making loud, fucking stupid shit. It was just the combination of the four guys, like Zeppelin or whatever, where the chemistry is perfect together. As as far as Dime goes, aside from sounding influenced by Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen, which you can hear in his solos, you can’t say his riffs were influenced by Black Sabbath or Metallica. Even though Dime would say, “Man, I love those early Metallica recordings,” I would tell him it doesn’t sound like it. He created his own sound.
Before they invented their own style, Pantera were playing glam metal on their early, out-of-print independent records. How did Dime feel about those albums?
When you listen to early Pantera, Dime used to say, “We all gotta start somewhere until you find your identity.” We’d always laugh about the early Pantera records and he goes, “Ah, fuck it, Zakk. I’m not ashamed of those fucking records.” He goes, “What the fuck? I was into that shit at the time.” You look at your high-school picture and you go, “Well, that’s what I was into, man.” [Laughs] I mean, if anything, I look back at that shit and I think it’s fucking awesome, because it’s like fucking hysterical, man. [Laughs] Like me, when I first started with Ozzy, I had big, puffy hair. I know some dudes that are like, “I ain’t fucking signing a picture of me looking like that.” But I go, “Dude, this is fucking gold, man.” [Laughs] It’s just like what Dime was saying about not being ashamed. We’d always laugh about that shit.
Wylde photo by Clay Patrick McBride // Dimebag photo by Lorinda Sullivan