Members of BLACK SABBATH, DISTURBED, ALICE IN CHAINS, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES and MACHINE HEAD took part in a massive gathering this past Wednesday night (December 14) at the Key Club in Hollywood, California to help celebrate the life and music of “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott (PANTERA, DAMAGEPLAN) as part of this year’s Dimebash.
Two musicians that were conspicuously absent from this year’s event were former PANTERA members Philip Anselmo and Vinnie Paul Abbott.
Anselmo was originally supposed to appear at last year’s Dimebash but pulled out at the last minute after coming down with pneumonia.
When asked about Anselmo‘s non-appearance at this year’s concert, Dimebag‘s longtime girlfriend Rita Haney — who organized the event — told Artisan News (see video below), “I think if we would have kept it on our original date, on [December 8], he would have been able to make it. Because Pepper [Keenan, Anselmo‘s DOWN bandmate] had obligations — they’re doing a new DOWN record — and [Pepper] had obligations with [his participation in] the METALLICA [week-long 30th-anniversary celebrations in San Francisco]. So they were scheduled off through that time. But then when we had to move things, it’s like, [Philip‘s] schedule, and doing… you know him — five projects at once… He sent the most apologetic letter; it was really, really cool, because it’s the Philip I know. But he goes, ‘Please don’t count me out next year.’ And like I said… I go, ‘Hey, well, it could be three things. It could go either way. It could be, ‘Third time’s a charm,’ or it could be ‘Strike three, you’re out.’ So we’ll see.”
Haney recently called on Vinnie Paul Abbott and Anselmo to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag, who was shot and killed by a crazed gunman while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at a Columbus, Ohio rock club in December 2004.
Vinnie, who is Dimebag‘s brother, and Anselmo have not spoken since PANTERA split in 2003. But the relationship got even more acrimonious when Vinnie indirectly blamed Philip for Dimebag‘s death, suggesting that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag‘s killer.
Haney spoke out about the long-running feud earlier in the year, saying, “Everybody still has resentment towards each other about things in the past. It’s easy to direct your anger at the wrong people. Philip didn’t murder Darrell and [he] would never have wanted that.”
Haney added, “Yeah, I resent Philip for becoming a jackass and a drug addict, and I’m a little sketchy about trusting him all the way yet. But some of the things he’s emailed and some of the thing he’s said — that’s the Philip I know, the ‘stronger than all.’ There’s always room in my heart for him — I love him.”
Haney admitted that Vinnie was not happy that she had been in touch with Anselmo, saying, “I just hope some day he sees the light that I know Darrell is about, which is forgiving. I know it’ll come in time — you’ve got to let go to continue on.”
When asked by Artisan News about Vinnie‘s apparent decision to sit out this year’s Dimebash, Rita said, “I sent him [a message]… On December 8 [the seven-year anniversary of Dimebag‘s death], I wanted him to know I was thinking about him, that I love him no matter what, [whatever] issues that he has. But I haven’t spoken to him in almost a year now. He doesn’t… But you know what?! I don’t give up. I still love him. I have no animosity. And I just hope that he comes and celebrates with us [at some point in the future].”