AKA Darrell Lance Abbott
Birthplace: Dallas, TX
Location of death: Columbus, OH
Cause of death: Murder
Remains: Buried, Moore Funeral Home Cemetery, Arlington, TX
Race or Ethnicity: White
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Lead guitarist for Pantera
The son of country songwriter Jerry Abbott, Dallas-born Darrell Lance Abbott was given a strong exposure to music from the very beginning of his life, learning the basics from the various musicians that came through his father's studio. As with many teenagers of his generation, his interest quickly turned towards rock music, inspired by the on-stage shenannigans of Kiss and their lead guitarist Ace Frehley, and the heavy rock of Black Sabbath. By the age of 16 Abbott had achieved full mastery of the guitar, taking first place in all the local talent competitions (one of which earned him his first 'Dean ML' - a model he would use throughout his career); that same year he created the band Pantera (adopting the stage name 'Diamond Darrell') with his brother Vinnie Paul. With help from their father, the two brothers founded the Metal Magic label and began issuing a series of nondescript pop-metal albums: Metal Magic (1983), Projects In The Jungle (1984) and I Am The Night (1985).
A significant change in direction for Pantera coincided with the addition of vocalist Phil Anselmo in 1988 - Power Metal, their first album with the new singer (and their first major label release), deliberately moving away from their earlier, dubious glam stylings towards a more driving and forceful sound. With the arrival of their fifth release Cowboys From Hell (1990), the reinvention of the band was complete, (now 'Dimebag') Darrell and his bandmates dispensing an uncompromising form of metal that would transform the entire genre. This new approach was further refined over the next two studio albums: Vulgar Display Of Power (1992) and Far Beyond Driven (1994), the popularity of which elevated Pantera to one of the leading stadium acts of its time. This changed somewhat with 1996's The Great Southern Trendkill, a further stylistic evolution that took the dangerous step of defying fan's expectations. A corresponding drop in sales resulted.
After Trendkill, Darrell took several years off from the band, filling in the gap with the live album Official Live: 101 Proof (1997). During this hiatus he recorded several tracks as a solo artist: an interpretation of the song Snowblind for a tribute collection in honor of one his primary inluences, Ace Frehley, and the original song Caged In A Rage for the Jackie Chan feature Supercop. Pantera reconvened in 2000 to make its final recorded statement Reinventing The Steel, but once again the new album did not match the impact of their early 90s offerings. The four members subsequently moved on to different projects -- one of the first for the Abbott brothers being Rebel Meets Rebel, a collaboration with underground country performer David Allan Coe. Following the official demise of Pantera in 2003, the two created Damageplan, a further development of the sound developed during their years with their former band.
In 2004 Damageplan released their debut album New Found Power, which was given a reasonably warm reception from both critics and fans. The tour in support of the album, however, was abruptly cut short during a performance at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus: during the band's opening song, a deranged fan jumped on stage and gunned down Darrell, one of the band's bodyguards, an audience member, and a venue employee. The fan (Nathan Gale, age 25) was subsequently killed by a police officer when it appeared he was about to execute a hostage. By strange coincidence, the shootings occurred on the anniversary of the murder of John Lennon in New York, also by a deranged fan.
Father: Jerry Abbott (songwriter)
Brother: Vinnie Paul (drummer for Pantera)
Pantera Guitarist (1983-2003)
Damageplan Guitarist (2003-04)
Shot Columbus, OH (8-Dec-2004)
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