The names of Zakk Wylde and Dimebag Darrell are closely linked, now more than ever. Not only is Wylde currently honoring the late heavy metal icon as part of Pantera’s ongoing tour, the pair were also close friends, having first met way back at the 1994 Monsters of Rock Show in England.
You’d think, given their offstage friendship, heavy metal bond and shared appreciation for the electric guitar, that the two titan would have been trading licks every chance they got.
Well, according to Wylde, that wasn’t the case. In fact, the Black Label Society axeman said he and Dimebag never even jammed together when they weren't onstage.
At least, that’s what he revealed in the latest issue of Guitar World, which contains an in-depth exploration of Wylde’s Pantera exploits past and present. It was after recounting his appreciation for Dimebag that he dropped the surprising revelation, saying the pair prioritized having “a good time together” over anything else.
“It was a combination of everything,” Wylde responded when asked about the source of their friendship. “Between the playing, the drinking, how we matched our stilettos and our fishnets with our eyeliner and our rouge – all the typical stuff that brings fellas together. [Laughs]”
As for any potential jamming, though, that was strictly second fiddle to the duo’s other alcohol-related activities. In other words, jamming cut into “drinking time”.
When asked if they’d jammed over the years, Wylde replied, “No. Why would we do that? Let’s see. We could be at an Irish pub somewhere laughing our asses off or we could be working on writing some new music. Hmmmm. I think we’ll be at the Irish pub! [Laughs]”
But boozing wasn’t the only thing that stood in the way of jam sessions, with Wylde also pointing out the geographical obstacles that were imposed on the two drinking buddies.
“Seriously, man. There was no time to jam,” he continued. “They live in Texas. I was out in California. Whenever we got together it was just to have a good time.”
Such obstacles, however, proved to be no match for the pair’s penchant for getting hammered together – while regaling Guitar World with the tales of his and Dimebag’s drinking escapades, Wylde recalled how he and his pal would drink together over the phone.
“When we started hanging out, of course, we drank, but most of the time drinking with Dime would be over the phone,” he explained. “We talked on the phone all the time for several hours just drinking away.
“We’d make each other cry, we’d be laughing so hard. But every time we got together it was always hilarious – nothing but pure comedy. And sometimes we caused mayhem.”
Such “mayhem” included trashing a car that Pantera producer Terry Date had borrowed from his friend, getting so drunk at Dimebag’s house he missed a flight home to help his wife care for their two newborn kids, and “just tons of silliness and stupidity”.
Despite the emphasis on such extra-curricular activities, part of the conversation was indeed reserved for the gear side of Wylde’s ongoing Pantera stint, for which he used a Guitar World buyer’s guide to select the one pedal he needed to channel Dimebag’s tone.
To read the full interview with Zakk Wylde, head over to Magazines Direct to pick up the latest copy of Guitar World.