A Snapshot of Dimebag Darrell

I’m not a collector by nature. It seems like after 20 years in the business I’d have all sorts of valuable music-related artifacts. Instead, my office is dotted with just a couple of guitars, a blizzard of press releases and small handful of weird memorabilia that has somehow stuck to my walls and shelves like chewed gum on the bottom of a shoe.

Most of the memorabilia is more humorous than valuable.

For example, there’s a picture of me with Ozzy Osboune at his house in England, a piece of signed computer art made by Ace Frehley, an autographed print of porn superstar Jenna Jameson, a cheese grater in the shape of a Flying V and a framed set of guitar strings that Jimi Hendrix had in his bag at Woodstock.

Admittedly, the strings are probably valuable, but the rest is just junky stuff that makes me smile.

The other day, I was digging through one of my many books when something I had saved, but completely forgotten, fell out of its pages. It was a Polaroid of me on a golden throne surrounded by Dimebag Darrell, his brother Vinnie and three really hot girls. It was signed in silver magic marker, “BRAD! LOOK WHAT HAPPENS! LOVE DIMEBAG.”

You can see the photo below, at the bottom of the page.

The story behind the photo is great and explains why we all miss Dime, Pantera’s late-great guitar hero. Back in early 2004, just months before he was killed, Guitar World had arranged to do a cover shoot with Dime. The idea was to put him on a royal throne, surround him with a few lovely ladies and declare him the king of all metal guitarists.

When the photographer was almost finished, Dime jumped off the chair, grabbed me by the arm, sat me on the throne and then proceeded to carefully pose everyone around me. He then jumped in the shot and instructed the photographer to click away.

Afterwards, he turned to me and said, “You’re the real king, man! I just want to thank you for the magazine and all the stories you’ve done on me!”

I think I almost blushed.

It’s surprisingly rare that an artist ever bothers to thank us, but Dime was a class act all the way. He knew he was a great guitarist, but he never forgot to thank his fans. God bless you, Dime, wherever you are.

As for the Polaroid, it’s going up on my wall. Something else to make me grin.

Brad Tolinksi is the editor-in-chief of Guitar World.

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Brad Tolinski

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Brad was the editor of Guitar World from 1990 to 2015. Since his departure he has authored Eruption: Conversations with Eddie Van Halen, Light & Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page and Play it Loud: An Epic History of the Style, Sound & Revolution of the Electric Guitar, which was the inspiration for the Play It Loud exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2019.