Ex-PANTERA and current DOWN frontman Philip Anselmo spoke to Artisan News about his desire to reconnect with his former PANTERA bandmate Vinnie Paul Abbott more than eight years since ex-PANTERA guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott was shot and killed by a crazed gunman while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at a Columbus, Ohio rock club.
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.
Asked if he thinks Vinnie Paul will ever be open to repairing the rift, Anselmo said (see video below): “You know, that would be a question for Vinnie Paul; I don’t know. But once again I’ll say that I love him. I feel his pain every single day. Dime was very much my brother, Rex‘s [Brown; PANTERA bassist] brother as well.”
He continued: “In this life, one thing I’ve learned is that it does not take pure blood to make family; it’s the relationship and how strong you hold that bond. And once again, my door is always for Vince.”
Dimebag‘s longtime girlfriend Rita Haney has called on Vinnie and Anselmo to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag, telling the producers of “Behind The Music Remastered: Pantera” that she forgave the singer after they found themselves unexpectedly face to face at a concert in California.
In Rex Brown‘s memoir, “Official Truth, 101 Proof: The Inside Story Of Pantera”, Haney said: “My line has softened over the years since Darrell‘s death, probably because I feel an element of forgiveness and a desire for everybody to get along. No matter what ever happened, nobody did this to Darrell. I mean, they — Rex and Philip — didn’t. The person who did it did it, and no matter what reason the killer — if he was still alive today — could give to justify that, it wouldn’t change anything. But when you go through something like this, you want to lay blame somewhere. Obviously I had resentment to Rex and Philip because I had to watch Darrell trying to save his band. I wanted to fix it for him. As far as Philip is concerned, we are at least communicating, albeit on a fairly surface level. We haven’t talked about any deep things like resentments because I’ve told him that I still harbor some resentment for how he handled band issues and how that impacted Darrell and I’ve made that very clear to him. And it’s hard for me to trust him. But we’ll see. It’s a start and in time we’ll probably sit down face to face.”
She continued: “Despite all the issues I’ll say this: going out selling the merchandise for Darrell every summer has given me a whole different perspective. When you are with all the people that PANTERA‘s music touched and you hear the stories they have about how a certain song got them through, even if they never got to see them, it makes you realize that you’re being selfish and that your issues are petty and false. I’m not the big picture. They are. I’m so grateful for all the things I learned from Darrell and I want to try to be that kind of person you know. Better.”
She added: “I wish Vince was more like his brother when it comes to welcoming new people into his world, instead of feeling strapped up or that it’s a problem or an inconvenience. Of course it can be overwhelming, I used to watch Darrell every day and marveled at how amazing he was at handling it, but I wish there was more of that in Vinnie. I know he has never really dealt with the death of his brother head on, and instead he’s chosen to shut it away and hope that he’ll never have to discuss it. If he was open to sharing some of his stories with people, he might just find peace, and if he let people in, he might also just see the big picture I’m talking about.”