Diary of a Metal Fan: Remembering the Legends
Written by Matt Drummond
“Metal is what I’m into. Shit that moves you. Shit that has heart and soul.” -Dimebag Darrell
My standard approach to writing anything heavy metal related is to open with a brief rundown of the history about bands, and or musicians. On this particular occasion, I will strictly be talking from the heart. I don’t feel the need to inform people who Jeff Hanneman and Dimebag Darrell were. If you’re reading this and you are unfamiliar with the two people I just mentioned then may Lucifer have mercy on your wretched soul; your lack of knowledge can only be described as heavy metal blasphemy.
Masters of the riff, Dimebag and Jeff played enormous roles in the writing of the heavy metal constitution. We’re not talking about guys who played rhythm guitar for Creed, we’re talking about arguably the best heavy metal songwriters and greatest guitarists of all time. Dimebag Darrell and Jeff Hanneman are guitarists of an almost mythological status. It’s like your Grandparents telling you how they walked 50 miles to school, uphill both ways; it’s campfire folklore. The difference is these metal gods were real.
One thing that was easy to see was the love these two had for writing, listening to, and playing heavy music. Not only did these two leave us with some of the greatest heavy music ever recorded, they helped shape historic bands: Pantera, and Slayer. Jeff and Dimebag also never seemed to get “rock star” egos. They were fans just like us. Whether it was Jeff plastering Dead Kennedy’s stickers on his guitar or Dimebag tattooing Ace Frehley on his chest, these guys loved other bands as much as we loved theirs. Hell, Dime was even buried with one of Eddie Van Halen’s guitars.
“When we started writing this kind of music in the beginning, I didn’t think that many people would listen to it, but over the years our fan base just kept growing and growing. Now it’s like we do it for us and our fans.” -Jeff Hanneman
That quote speaks for itself, these guys loved it, and loved us for listening to it. Showering us with untouchable classics like; ‘Cowboys From Hell,’ ‘Angel of Death,’ ‘Use My Third Arm,’ and ‘Seasons in the Abyss’, Jeff and Dime sprayed unbelievable metal like machine gun fire.
One of the most magnificent things I have ever witnessed as a metal fan was the inconceivable concert in 2000, where Slayer and Pantera shared the stage. It was one of those moments in time where the two greatest metal bands of all time decapitated the scene. In a way, I think Pantera and Slayer touring together was them saying “thank you” to the fans, and as exhausting as it was, it was the unrivaled pinnacle of a brutal metal show.
I can say with pure sincerity that I listen to either one or both of these legends’ music every single day. My goal in writing this isn’t to educate, it’s to simply pay my respects and shake loose memories of Jeff and Dime. What we lost with their passing isn’t something I can properly communicate through words. Those of you who understand that, understand what they gave us, day in and day out. The legacies of Jeff Hanneman, and “Dimebag” Darrel Abbott are cemented. They were, and still are, everything a heavy metal guitarist should be. If I can request one thing from you, the reader, it’s just to take a minute and remember these GREAT musicians. They deserve it.
“We still get those kind of cats coming out to our shows. Once you’re into it, you’re into it for a lifetime.” -Dimebag Darrell