The following story from our December 1990 issue represents the very first time Dimebag Darrell appeared in the pages of Guitar World. In the 14 years that followed, Dime was featured on our cover seven times, participated in countless exclusive features and lessons and churned out his beloved Riffer Madness columns by the dozen.
“We look at our music as ball-busting, gut wrenching heavy whatever,” says Pantera’s Diamond Darrell. “But people can call it whatever they want.”
Cowboys from Hell, Pantera’s major-label debut, will no doubt have metal guitar fans scrambling for complimentary adjectives. Eight years ago, at the age of 16, Darrell was already a respected guitarist on the Texas club scene.
“He was banned from every guitar competition by the time he was 18 because he already won ’em all,” notes guitar maker and fellow Texan Buddy Blaze. “Every hard-rock band in the state was compared to Pantera and every guitarist compared to Darrell.”
“I was more influenced by players like Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen than by the guys in southern rock bands,” explains Darrell. “But I haven’t copied a lick from a record since Ozzy’s first solo album.” Nowadays, Darrell would rather be writing with Pantera than copying other players.
“We’re a super-aggressive band and all our songs are meant to be played live,” he says. “We play a new groove—we call it ‘power groove.’ We’re like fine-tuned, clean-cutting machinery. After listening to Cowboys from Hell, you’ll view the world with a bigger pair of balls. The album makes you another foot taller, and gives you crushing, go-for-it power.”