TMD shares one of the last known interviews the late great axeman conducted with the site smnnews.com, originally published on November 15, 2004.
In the discussion, the legendary guitarist expresses his opinions on a number of topics, including his thoughts on the bitter Pantera breakup with Phil and Rex, the second Damageplan album he was working on at the time of his death, and so much more! Prepare to get in depth with Dimebag only a few weeks before he was murdered on the stage by a mentally ill ex-marine.
SMN: Hello, Dime! So you are knee deep into your tour with Shadows Fall and The Haunted, what do you think of these opening bands?
DIME: The Haunted blow the crowd away every fuckin’ night. Shadows Fall and Damageplan, we trade off and on the spot, on who closes each night, it’s 50/50 each time we go on. Shadows Fall kicks total fuckin’ ass. We fuckin’ kick ass big time, and it’s just ass kickin’ head to toe all 3 bands on the fuckin’ bill.
SMN: Shadows Fall and The Haunted are pretty extreme bands. Do you see Damageplan staying out on the road with only extreme bands in the future and thus maintaining more underground credibility or are are you guys looking to get back into the mainstream?
DIME: Well that’s the thing about Damageplan. We are completely flexible. We are for everything. We have old school roots, but we are reborn, we aren’t new school but we are fresh up to date and we’ll go out with anyone, anytime, and play whenever and wherever the fuck man.
SMN: In 3 words or less…can you sum up the trek so far for everyone out there?
DIME: Uh … [laugh] heavy drinking hell raising ass kickin’ mayhem.
SMN: Good. Good stuff. How’s everybody’s liver been holding up thus far on tour?
DIME: We are all professionals man. We do it up all day and all night ‘till that shit runs dry.
SMN: I have to ask, Brian Fair, front man of Shadows Fall was a little nervous going into the trek, citing fears of yourself and Vinnie just destroying him with your staple Crown Royal, do you have any stories you can share of any band hazing?
DIME: 1st time we got a hold of him was the 3rd show in. We were hangin’ out in karaoke bar, which was on the side of the club we were at. I got 20 shots down his neck that night, and that motherfucker was on the bar singing “18 & Life”, “Youth Gone Wild”, and shit, God damn, he can sign like Sebastian Bach like you cannot believe. By the end of the night we were climbing the walls, and got kicked out, and that was the 1st shindig. Now we got drinking teams.
SMN: Teams? I envy you. That’s awesome. In the vein of “alchohol kills everything”, Mr. Fair was recently battling bronchitis; did you lay off him for a week or so?
DIME: [laugh] I gotta lotta respect for that kid – he was really fucked up and showed a lotta heart. He could barely talk when you saw him in the hallway, and he still gave it everything – I got a lotta love and respect for what that dude did. I’ll get on him when he’s all good and better though.
SMN: Well, better act fast, he just posted something up today about how he was feeling all good to go.
DIME: Shit, well that’s the green light to go man. [laugh]
SMN: You just released a video for ‘Explode’, are there plans for any more singles after this or?
DIME: We just shot an extra video while we were doing the other ones, just keeping things floating. We are 5 songs in on the new record, and as well with this tour, and then we’ll ride this tour out, then the 2nd record will do the serious damage.
SMN: Now – what insider information can you tell me about that!
DIME: Well dude our 1st record kinda goes all the way out to left field and covers a spectrum of everything. Now we’ve been out for while, been over the world, people are digging what we are doing, we’re going back to the old school. We aren’t gonna hide our fuckin’ influences, and our sound. We just wanted people to know its not Pantera. Next time we are gonna be blatant about Vinnie and Dime and the drums and the guitars. It’s gonna be a thorough ass kickin’, and extremely brutal.
SMN: Will Pat feature on guitar on any parts of the CD?
DIME: No man… he’s all about the singin’, I’m all about guitar, that’s how it goes. Damageplan is not a 2 guitar band. Ill tell ya this though, out of any singer I’ve ever seen, Pat’s never lost his voice. He’s the best singer I’ve seen whether he’s onstage or in the studio, he’s a hidden talent man.
SMN: Are there any guest appearances lined up for the new disc?
DIME: We have so many family and friends in the industry dude, all those people that appeared on the 1st, weren’t even planned. Zakk Wylde or whoever shows up at my house, it’s more than likely they will go downstairs and will do something for the record its open for anyone, anytime.
SMN: When are you guys planning to release the disc?
DIME: No set date, but as soon as we’re done, we’ll celebrate Christmas, and everyone’s pumped, after we got to play around the world, accepted unbelievably, and greatly, and we are lookin’ forward to the studio and shit.
SMN: Would Summer `05 sound like a good bet?
DIME: Yeah man, yeah, around there!
SMN: Yourself and Vinnie have written everything from ballads to all out thrash… how important is musical creativity to you now and what direction do you see Damageplan going in the future since you’ve now established yourselves and have seen what works, and what doesn’t?
DIME: Well we never wanted to limit ourselves with Damageplan, that’s why we went for the broad spectrum. We do have a wide variety of influences. There’s enough bands out there that sound the same, and most can only do what they do, whether its thrash, or its just ONE thing, we are musicians, we wont put that behind us. We will express the musical and melody side of things, going more BRUTAL this time. I’m glad to let it all hang out [laugh] – crank that fucker!
SMN: SOiL recently bundled into…was it your studio to lay down some acoustic tracks?
DIME: It was mine, but Vinnie did it all.
SMN: Cool, well, do you think we’ll ever see any acoustic Damageplan material?
DIME: Yeah man, we will do anything we wanna do.
SMN: Solid. So, what are your touring plans for 2005?
DIME: Man, uh, shit – we gotta get the record done 1st, but like I said, anyone, anytime anywhere, it’s gonna be brutal. We’re stickin’ to the heavy.
SMN: You aren’t aiming to hit the road with Limp Bizkit are you?
DIME: That wouldn’t make sense. Shit that don’t make sense we don’t do. We like our metal with no rap on it. That’s all there is to it. We are lookin’ at the Triple Threat tour though. That’s Zakk Wylde, me, and Kerry King. Damageplan, Black Label Society, and Slayer. I can tell you right now, that is in the works. We been tryin’ to do that, us and Zakk for a long time. Black Label Society’s got a new one comin’ out, AND also on top of that, me, Zakk and Kerry are doing a guitar record, we don’t know when it’s coming out, or when we’ll do it, but we definitely will be doing one.
SMN: I just shat my pants. Give me a second to clean up here. So, after that, are there any bands in particular you are eying up to take out on tour with you guys?
DIME: We’ll jam with anyone, and play with anyone man, doesn’t make a difference to me right now. Damageplan can go out with a lotta different bands.
SMN: Damageplan turned down the chance to shine on Ozzfest 2004 – Is there any talk to see you guys take to the stage in 2005?
DIME: Uh, we didn’t turn it down, that was all fucked up in the end, it was outta our control. We woulda been happy to play the fuckin’ thing, and we’ll be happy to play it next year if they want it – shit, lets go.
SMN: Are you guys happy with your current label situation and the promotion you received for your most recent album?
DIME: I’ll say this. We were all Elektra, and things were real good, they accepted Pantera, and it was a done deal, and they saw the deal in Damageplan, and saw we could get radio play and reach more people. We can be bigger than Pantera, and it will take a longer time, but, when it was in the works and was going to break, the merger happened, and it fucked up our 1st record. It got sent to Atlantic, and everyone was afraid to back it up because they might lose their jobs, and now Atlantic is good and stable, and we got a good A&R guy, treatin’ us great, and we are just looking forward to it all. The music business is so tough right now with the internet, it’s just makin’ it real tough for everyone, but hey the motherfuckers that truly love it won’t let it stop it, we do it ‘cause we love it.
SMN: Will you continue to use Washburn equipment on tour, there was a bit of an endorsement issue wasn’t there?
DIME: They made it look like they dropped me, but mine is comin’… I haven’t done it. The ink hasn’t dried, but I’ve signed 2 new deals.
SMN: Awesome, fill me in.
DIME: I’m going with my original Dean guitar, the one we copied at Washburn, but never made it near as good. It’s the truth, they couldn’t do it. Same thing with the amps. I was forced to move, I chose to NOT renew my deal, so I got two new companies, and the quality and integrity that I deserve. I know they are good. I’m gonna also be using Crank Amps, and I’m using the ‘Revolution’ rite now live and uh, I will be playing the Dimebag Crankenstein Amp, a signature, as well.
SMN: Will the guitars and amps be on the new CD?
DIME: Oh yeah! You’ll hear that motherfucker all over that shit.
SMN: So when will these guitars and amps officially be released and revealed?
DIME: When NAMM hits, you’ll se the new Dime guitar, the ‘Razorback’ – it’s comin’. The fuckin’ Crankenstein too, that is monster shit, like a fuckin’ monster truck compared to a Toyota.
SMN: Yeah we all know those Asians can’t make trucks right? Are you planning on putting out any instructional guitar videos?
DIME: [laugh] Man we’ll se what happens you know. I’m always doing pieces for Guitar World, and someday I’ll take a break and do it right. A little thing of “Alright kids here how it’s done”.
SMN: Comparing club gigs to arena, stadium and amphitheater shows, I mean, you’ve played them all. How does your performance feed off the crowd’s energy in each setting?
DIME: In each setting, we can adapt to any crowd any size, any venue, we just have a way with Damageplan for reaching the people we have never played. In the Pantera days, after that long, things got loose and sloppy, and you do it day in and day out, and you do it in your sleep. With Damageplan we got something to prove, we play the best shows we’ve done in my brothers life. When I go to bed at night, and I know sweated my balls off, and played my guitar solo, Pantera songs, Damageplan songs, and whooped their ass, and know the motherfuckers got their moneys worth on the night, and the applause, it’s good to know people are thrilled.
SMN: So, things have been rather quiet on the Philip Anselmo front for a while, when I was down at the Ozzfest in LA this past summer, my scheduled interview had to be postponed due to Philip heading out to the city to meet up with none other than Rex Brown, have you guys had any contact with Phil like that over the recent months or…?
DIME: Haven’t heard from him 3 years, and you know what. I don’t care to hear from him.
SMN: Do you guys still keep in touch with Rex?
DIME: I heard from him 1 time. The same thing goes for that guy too though.
SMN: Now, as an obvious fan, and lover of everything Pantera has done, and you lads as individuals have done, for the fans, say in the next few years, could you ever forseeably see a Pantera reunion? Not now, but if the time, and money was right, say 5 years down the road, what do you say to that?
DIME: No way, not for the money, not for the time, not for nothing man. The fucking people gotta get over it. I’m not Nostradamus, I can’t even tell ya wat will happen tomorrow, and all that shit is definitely hypothetical. I’m not broke or anything, I’m not doing it for time or money – none of that fuckin’ bullshit. Shit, I mean the way things went down were just so fuckin’ sour.
SMN: I’ve read so much bullshit about someone saying this, and someone saying that, and I find it incredibly hard to believe that what I read is absolute truth – In 100% truth, reality, and honesty if you could send out a message to Phil and the fans that says what you want it to say, with the guarantee it will get press word for word and verbatim, what would it be?
DIME: Yeah man. I totally agree with ya on that bullshit thing, it’s so true, but for a message….It would be, Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell never ever, EVER turned our backs on the Pantera fans, we planned on Pantera lasting a lifetime and we were there 150% of the time. No side projects, nothing BUT Pantera, every fuckin’ day and night, and the other 2 dudes took it for granted and walked away, and left us in the cold, left us hangin’, and left the fans hangin’. I aint biting off at the other dudes, but just have the common courtesy to call us and my brother and tell us that you are trying to do bigger things than Pantera or whatever, that you want to leave the band. The feelings were just no common courtesy, and I don’t understand the whole fuckin’ thing. Then I hear the bad mouthin’ that Phil is doing, I didn’t do anything to the guy man, and I hear he’s falling asleep in interviews. You know man, its just something you can’t control I’ll tell ya, that’s what I learnt ‘bout hard dope – they’re gone, they are never comin’ back that shit will ruin you. Some people stay the same, but man, most are just gone.
That’s the brutal reality of it. It’s like a fuckin’ wife going back on ya, but as far as mine and Vinnie’s credibility, it hasn’t been scarred a bit. If the fans wanna hear a Pantera song, we make them motherfuckers whole, we want them to know that we never left.
SMN: So stemming off playing Pantera songs, what kind of set-list is Damageplan playing right now in terms of both Damageplan songs and Pantera songs?
DIME: Man that’s another great thing about Damageplan. We change it up every night, where as in Pantera we played a few songs, and only the ones Phil felt comfortable with. Every night he would change it up, scratch songs off the list, makin’ it shorter and shorter, and now I hear in his new band he plays plays like 30 to 40 minutes, and the other time he just rambles. I’m there to play music, the people are there to hear music, and uh, the thing with Damageplan is that we can PLAY any song, and any Pantera song we want. We know all that shit.
SMN: So what Pantera tunes do you play onstage then?
DIME: We play Walk, New Level, Becoming, This Love, Cemetary Gates, we know ‘em all. We do ‘em better than we used to do ‘em. That’s tough to a have to admit, but we are out kill.
SMN: Away from music for a second here, I want to touch on something completely out of the realm of metal. Last week was the Presidential election, what do you think of the outcome of that whole situation?
DIME: Dude I didn’t even know, I turned on the TV and the voting thing was going on, and I was like “Shit, is it time for a new President already?”. Tell you the truth man, I have no time for that shit. Not one man, not one motherfucker can do the unity of the world, of course I’m all American and I believe in our way, and if there’s miserable people overseas, and all across the world, I cant help ‘em – I wish I could. I wish people could have a good double shot of Crown, and fuckin’ hang out. If I was President, shit I’d put on free concert, invite all my friends, and drink a beer, and chill the fuck out – I’m not political at all.
SMN: [laugh] That has to be one of the greatest responses to a question like that, so wrapping things up here, what are you doing for Christmas?
DIME: I’m getting drunk, opening a million presents, hangin’ out with the huge friends and family I got and, uh fuckin’ celebratin the fuck outta it. Blowing it up.
SMN: As a last word out there to Damageplan fans and friends, what do you have to say?
DIME: Just thanks so much for the fuckin’ relentless support and belief in what we are doing. We ain’t gonna let ya down we appreciate the FUCK outta it.
SMN: Cheers Dime, I appreciate your time and candor!
DIME: Thank YOU, brother.