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From the Archive: Dimebag Darrell and Zakk Wylde Discuss the State of Metal and Dissolution of Pantera

From the Archive: Dimebag Darrell and Zakk Wylde Discuss the State of Metal and Dissolution of Pantera

DIMEBAG DARRELL: I say thanks a fuckin' million, right out of the chute. And I just want to say that Zakk Wylde is easily the best, most well-rounded player in every category, and he wholeheartedly deserves the Most Valuable Player award, hands down. He's the hardest workin' motherfucker in rock and roll, period. He does double duty — he does Black Label, he does Ozzy. He's been nonstop since he showed his face in the first place, and he keeps taking it to a new level. He's done scared everybody else the fuck off, so nobody else is even gonna try, you know? [laughs]

ZAKK: The first time I heard Pantera, I thought, Jesus Christ! I still think that, to this day, Pantera is the heaviest fuckin' band on the planet, but it's not just heavy for the sake of bein' heavy; it's got groove to it, and it's pure musicianship at the same time. And what I'd say about Dime is, you can't get that good unless you work at it. You can tell he put the hours in and the practice in, and drew from so many of the great players. You surround yourself with greatness — the Randy Rhoadses, the Van Halens, the Tony Iommis — and you'll be in the right ballpark. Or the right zip code, anyways!

DIME: Maybe that's kinda what ties us in — we come from pretty much the exact same school.

ZAKK: When I was growin' up, to be the big gun on the block you had to know how to play Randy's stuff, Eddie's shit, or anybody that was cool. I mean, I'm not a big Dokken fan, but I'll tell you right now: George Lynch can throw down. It wasn't like superheavy metal shit, but you listened to George Lynch's solos, his vibrato and everything, and it was like, "What the fuck's he doing?" Me and Dime came up at the end of the Eighties, when all that stuff was kind of fizzling out.

DIME: [laughs] The three-handed technique was goin' out of style!

ZAKK: Guitar, with Yngwie and everything like that, kind of hit a ceiling where it couldn't go any further and had to start over again. And that's when GN'R came out, and Slash brought it back to more feel and more rock and roll, you know? Which was awesome. And then, of course, the grunge thing came in, but Jerry Cantrell was still doin' solos. The guitar thing is comin' back around, too. I mean, you'll always have me and Dime playin' solos on our records. But what's gonna happen is, some 19- or 20-year-old kid is gmma come out with some cool kick- ass band, and he's gonna make some 15-year-old kid wanna pick up a guitar and learn how to do a solo.

When Van Halen first came out with "Eruption," every town had some kid who knew how to play the song in its entirety. Nowadays, no one seems to be coming up with solos that inspire kids in the same way.

ZAKK: Put it this way: I love Ozzfest because Ozzy and Sharon started the whole thing to promote metal. But two summers ago — I was actually laughing — I was telling Freddy McTaggart, who does my guitars," I think Dime and I are the only motherfuckers on this whole tour that actually can get up from low E to high E and back safely!" [laughs] We were sitting out there watching Pantera just blow the fucking stage up and Dime just shredding all sick and fucking insane. I was watching the other bands, and no one else was playing solos! And it's just like, why wouldn't you want to get better? I don't understand that.

DIME: I'm into the whole song-as-a-piece-of-music thing: if it literally doesn't call for it, if it already has enough stuff going on, then it's okay not to play a solo. I've tried to force a solo before, but sometimes it's like, "That thing don't really fit, man! " You know, you end up on a groove part that's powerful, I understand that. But let's have some fuckin' action out there! There's more to it than two or three strings on the low-end side, you know?

I mean, I could see how some people might hear some of the shit Zakk does and say, ''I'm not ever gonna catch up, so why even try?" And that's the wrong way to look at it, if you ask me, man. You ain't gonna catch him, but why not do your own thing? Like I always say, the thick strings are a fuckin' nut in themselves, what with all that chugging and grinding. But to really express yourself, you have to get out on them high strings and bend them motherfuckers. Get out there and play some shit! There ain't nothing wrong with it. I can never understand how a solo could ever be "uncool." Play something good and it won't be uncool, you know?

ZAKK: When you listen to Randy Rhoads do a solo, or Eddie, or Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page, it brings the song to another spot. It's not like he's just going, ''I'm the guitar player — I've gotta put a solo here."

DIME: That's not what we're saying — we're not saying, " Play the solo for the fuck of it, dude, just so you could say you did it!" But goddanm, you can't tell me that on a whole CD, from start to finish , there's no place for somethin' badass to be played over the top. And for music lovers, man, where we come from, I'm wantin' to hear some of that shit, you know'


Guitar World Editor-In-Chief Performing with Izzy Zay in NYC!