Kirk Hammett remembers his last encounter with Dimebag Darrell: "I still regret not taking the time to have a full conversation with him"

Kirk Hammett (left) and Dimebag Darrell
(Image credit: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images, Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Metallica's headlining set at the 2004 Download Festival is most famous for not featuring the band's drummer and co-founder, Lars Ulrich, who was hospitalized the day of the show.

In a newly-published oral history of the Download Festival, though, Metallica lead electric guitar player Kirk Hammett revealed that that fateful day also proved to be the last time he ever saw Pantera guitar legend Dimebag Darrell, who was tragically murdered onstage in Columbus, Ohio – while performing with his post-Pantera group, Damageplan – just months later.

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.