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My Night Out With Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul

My Night Out With Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul
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(Photo: ©Annamaria DiSanto\/WireImage)

Last night I came out of a movie premiere for some of our film scene folks here in Sacramento to the news of the passing of Vinnie Paul, brother to Dimebag Darrell, and famed drummer of the great Pantera and rockers Hell Yeah. But I feel the need to share this story because I don’t want it to fall into oblivion somewhere, and it feels immensely appropriate given the circumstances.

In 2004 me and a friend decided to go check out Shadows Fall and Damageplan in San Francisco at the Grand Regency Ballroom. Keep in mind that I was not really a fan of Damageplan, they always seemed to me like a cheapened version of Pantera, but I was a huge Shadows Fall fan and it was my first time interviewing them very early in my journalist career, so we went and had a killer time!

But after my interview with Brian Fair of Shadows Fall we headed down the street to a small burger joint that always had some decent grub since we had a few hours to kill before the show started. I had ordered my burger and went and sat down, my buddy was ordering his when I looked up and realized that Vinnie Paul was standing behind him waiting to order as well. My buddy ordered his and sat down, and Vinnie ordered his and sat down at the table right next to us. The last thing you ever want to do is piss a “rockstar” off by bugging them or whatever when they’re at dinner or doing normal things, God knows I had been shrugged off in the past for it from other big musicians before I knew any better. But, that didn’t happen. We ended up striking up a conversation with Vinnie that was very brief, chatting about the upcoming show and how the tour was going, etc.. then we finished eating and went our own way.

The show went on, we had a fantastic time, Damageplan was better than I expected, and ripped out a few Pantera hits as well. But afterwards we went next door to Club 101, a very small, somewhat shitty dive bar that sits on Van Ness in San Francisco that feels mostly like a locals only bar. We grabbed a beer and sat at the end of the bar with only a handful of other people, then a few moments pass until Jon Donais (Shadows Fall and Anthrax guitarist) walks in with Dimebag Darrell behind him. The few people in there are from the show and immediately get amped. I distinctly remember Jon asking for the microphone at the bar, clearly both were a little intoxicated already and asked to put on Skid Row’s “Youth Gone Wild”, and Jon and Dime decide to lead the bar in a rendition of the song – not a good one.

Shortly after Dime buys the entire bar a round of shots and then signs our shot glasses and hugs us both.

This was one month before Dimebag Darrell Abbott was brutally slain in Ohio. This night will live with me forever.

Long live Dimebag and Vinnie in the hearts and minds of everyone they touched on and off the stage, they were fantastic individuals that always wanted to make sure the party was always fun and the music stay pumping and loud.

Rest in Peace brothers, I hope somewhere the two of you are writing amazing riffs again, smiling and having fun.