Dimebag Darrell Discusses His Roots, Gear and Pantera in 1994 Guitar World Interview
From the April 1994 issue of Guitar World: Is heavy metal dead? Not if Dimebag Darrell has anything to say about it.
Do you fuss much over your parts?
I try to do things in one take, but doubling rhythm parts is always difficult, especially if you want things to cut the way I want them to cut. Each track has to be precise, and that is a problem on a rhythmically complex track like "Slaughtered." The first run through is always cool, but the second is always a bitch. In fact, I think "Slaughtered" was the most difficult track on the album. It was a nightmare to double. It's the shit once you're done with it, but getting there is hell.
We actually went with more loose doubles than on our previous records, but sometimes it has to be right on the money and that's where the fussing comes in. I mean, goddamn, I wish sometimes I could just do an Edward Van Halen -- a rhythm track on one side, reverb on the other, and leave it alone. But that's not my style.
What was your workhorse amp and guitar?
I stuck to what I've always used -- Randall amps, and my main guitar is still my blue '81 Dean with the Kiss stickers. That guitar just can't be topped. I use that on all the songs that are in standard tuning. When we tune down to D, I use my brown tobacco-burst Dean.
The only thing that was really different on this album is that the signal from my guitar was routed through three Randall amps which were recorded simultaneously on each track -- three amps mixed down to one track. One stack was effected with my MXR flanger, for a kind of hollow sound; another stack was just straight up and dry, and the third was set similar to the dry stack except that it had a little more gain. Separately, one sounded horrible, one sounded great and the other sounded bassy; but together they sounded incredible.
I know you're a fan of vintage effects pedals, like the MXR flanger. Where do you get them?
Pawn shops, man.
Where are the best pawn shops?
The best ones are anywhere where the owner doesn't know the value of his merchandise. [laughs] Part of the fun is just talking trash with the dudes that run the shops. It's like, "Dude, what's up with this fuckin' thing?"
One time I was checking out some guitars, amps and effects at a pawn shop and the store owner unintentionally gave me a defective cord. So I plugged it into an effect that I wanted and started kicking the box around so the cord would crackle. As soon as I got the store owner's attention, I started pretending it was the effects box that was broken. I started cursing and calling the effect a "no good piece of shit." He said, "It was working fine three weeks ago. We gave up 30 bucks for that thing." So I said, "Well, it can sit here and rot then. Nobody' s gonna pay for this thing." In the end, the dude sold it to me for five bucks!
Since this interview will appear in our special "Survival Guide" issue, I wanted to ask you a few questions about life on the road. What was your biggest disaster while touring, and how did you fix it?
I've weathered broken headstocks, fried pickups, stagedivers breaking my pedals, guitars cutting out and stacks going down. I've been knocked out, banged up and I've run out of Seagram's. All that stuff is cool -- I can deal with it. But the top thing that's tooled me, the worst thing? Food poisoning. I got food poisoning in Venezuela, and it sucked! I couldn't do anything for two weeks but shit and sweat. And how to cure it? Stay in bed.
What are five things needed to survive on the road?
Beer, Taco Bell, joints, whiskey, a Walkman, and a little acid for long bus trips.
Places to avoid?
Venezuela. We got there and found out that we were supposed to play this baseball field that was crawling with bats, snakes and huge blue crabs. We were going to cancel, but we were told that if we did that the government might try to plant drugs on us and arrest us. So we decided to play the show. That day 11 kids were treated for snake bites and that night I got the food poisoning that almost killed me. It was pretty crazy.
What is the Pantera Philosophy?
Go for it, go with it, but just don't fuck with us.
Finally, once and for all, is it Dimebag or Diamond?
It's whatever you want it to be.
How about "Five And Dime" Darrell?
"Five And Dime" is beautiful -- it may be the new one.
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