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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

This past year, a number of popular guitar bands like the Hives, the White Stripes and the Vines seemed to take pride in playing few, if any, solos at all.

ZAKK: The only thing I think is really cool about that stuff is that it's guitar based. They're not doing solos, but thank fuck it's not, like, tons of Pro Tools. The bands are actually performing live, and the shit's actually kind of a little out of tune, but that's how it is — that's how a fuckin' rock and roll band sounds, you know? It shouldn't be perfect.

At least the Hives have two guys plugging their guitars right into the fuckin' amp, and the bass player's got a P-Bass or whatever, and they're just grinding it out. It's just meat-and-potatoes shit, like the Kinks on steroids. But at least they're a band, and they're writin' their own shit, as opposed to songwriters writing their music for 'em. The whole joy of being a real musician is writing your own music, you know what I mean? Backstreet Boys, 'NSync, all those bands — in Black Label, we call 'em "skin puppets," man, because that's what they are. They ain't real musicians.

DIME: But that's for somebody else, man. It ain't something for real music lovers at all. It's just a form of entertainment for some kids, you know what I mean?

ZAKK: I agree. But you look at Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page… I mean, Jimmy Page wasn't exactly Al Di Meola, but you can't take his songwriting away from him. Like "The Rain Song" — you can't take the fucking "Rain Song" away from Jimmy Page! He wrote that! Or Randy Rhoads playing "Over the Mountain." Or Eddie Van Halen playing "Eruption" or "Hear About It Later" -- not only did he perform it, he wrote it and played it! That's a real fucking musician. Bach, Mozart — all the greats always write their own shit, I don't care what anybody fucking says.

In our poll, among the Biggest Disappointments of 2002 was “No new albums by Metallica, Pantera, Van Halen or Guns N' Roses." Discuss.

ZAKK: The Guns N' Roses thing: I think Ax! should call up the old guys. No disrespect to the new guys, but the original Guns N' Roses lineup was flat-out one of the greatest bands that's ever been. It's just like, call the guys. I mean, how hard could it be to get Slash on the phone? Get the original lineup together, and make a fucking album that pisses all over Appetite for Destruction, and get it on. End of story, you know? That would be my biggest disappointment for the past year, and now that he's canceled all the fucking shows… the world's waiting for it to happen, you know? I think he's a great guy, and I think it could be massive. But then again, it's up to him.

DIME: Well, all I can say is, it's a touchy thing for me. If it's a disappointment that there ain't a Pantera record, I just want to let everybody know that it ain't because Dimebag Darrell ain't sitting here with a fucking cocked-and-loaded shotgun, ready to pull the fucking trigger. I've been waiting, ready to roll; so's my brother. Them cats [Phil and Rex] want to go do their thing. I've got a prepared statement I wanna lay on you, and I'd appreciate it if you'd print it verbatim, just like it is. That'll clear up the situation.

ZAKK: Pantera is the heaviest fuckin' band on the planet, brother!

DIME: Man, it's the only goddamn thing I ever gave a fuck about in my life, and it's an odd situation right now. It's not me holding anything back, that's all I can say. I respect the Pantera fans with all my heart. They've been so great to us for so long. Tell you, this last year has sucked the fucking biggest dong in the world for me and my brother. Since 9/11, it's just not been a good time. There's been a ridiculous amount of horseshit, and we're just ready to let this year pass on by I've had to reach inside, find my strength, get my shit together, figure out what I've gotta do, what I was born on this earth to do. It sucks, man. I miss the fans, I miss the music. But that's all right; we're gettin' some shit rolling, and it's coming.

What are your hopes and dreams for 2003?

DIME: Hopes and dreams for 2003? To have a better year than 2002! I'm looking forward to a better year, period -- gettin' back out and fuckin' rippin', comin' out with a kick-ass new record with New Found Power, and not lettin' anybody down, just goin' out there and throwin' down, doin' what I fuckin' do. This is what I'm meant to do, you know?

ZAKK: You wanna tell them about the album we were talkin' about doin' with you, me and Eddie Van Halen?

DIME: Break it out, dude!

ZAKK: We were sittin' there talkin' one day, and my wife just goes, "Why don't you and Dime make a guitar record together? I mean, you are guitar players, you're old friends. Why don't you just make a record together?" I said, "Yeah, it'd be a fuckin' piece of cake. We could put this thing together and then tour venues like the House of Blues, or whatever. We'd need a third guy, though." And my wife goes, "You're gonna have to call Eddie Van Halen for this one!"

DIME: Zakk done rang his ass and woke his ass up in the middle of the night! [laughs]

ZAKK: When we were on the Ozzfest, I'd call him up loaded. [laughs] I called him, he hung up; called him, he hung up; called him, he hung up; called him, he hung up. Then finally he goes, "What the fuck do you want?" I said, "Dude! We're gonna do this fuckin ' album — me, you and Dime from fuckin' Pantera!" He just goes, ''I've gotta figure out what the fuck's goin' on. I don't even know what's goin' on here at the fuckin' house! What are you fuckin' talkin' about?" It'd be like, everybody writes four songs on the record, and I'll just go, "Dime, what key is this fuckin' thing in?"

DIME: Send things back and forth till the shit's put together.

ZAKK: [to Dime] You've got the studio. We could do it up here, for fuck's sake!

DIME: Hey, strap Eddie down in Dime's compound! Hey man, no disrespect to Ed; if it weren't for Van Halen, I wouldn't be here.

ZAKK: There wouldn't be a fuckin' Pantera, and there wouldn't be a Black Label.

So you're still waiting to hear back from Eddie on that one?

ZAKK: Yeah, but it'd be fuckin' awesome.

DIME [laughs] Let's call him right now!


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