It's not a household name. And it shouldn't be. It belongs among the ranks of Mark David Chapman and Yolanda Salvidar -- people who forever altered the course of artistic history but who deserve no more than scant vilification and quick dismissal.
Looking back upon Guitar World's covers of yesteryear, it feels pertinent to recall the moments that made up those 12 months of publication -- to reminisce upon events and milestones that shared a timeline with GW's issues. But some events have such monumental impact, they cannot help be the first and last thing a person thinks of when they look back.
Gale injected the cruelest charge into 2004. On December 8, he entered the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. Damageplan was playing. Gale stepped onstage during the band's set. Using a 9mm handgun, he shot and killed Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott along with three other innocent people.
Tragedies born of senselessness and lunacy have plagued society since time immemorial. This was no more special or insignificant than any other. But it held a painful resonance for guitar fans. Anyone who knew Dime would attest he was the nicest, most genuine person you'd ever meet. And anyone with a set of ears and a stereo could tell you, hands down, Dime was a master of the guitar; a true virtuoso with seemingly limitless talent.
On December 8, the world was robbed of that talent. It was also robbed of Nathan Bray, Erin Halk and Jeff Thompson. So when looking back upon this week's gallery of Guitar World issues, remember all the great guitar moments of 2004, remember Dimebag and the path he blazed for groove metal devotees -- and remember the heroes who showed courage under fire that horrible night in Columbus, Ohio.