DOKKEN frontman Don Dokken spoke to Abrasive Rock over the weekend about the tragic murder of DAMAGEPLAN/ex-PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
Don Dokken: "I heard about it twenty minutes after it happened. We were playing, we got a call, four of the crew guys knew that we knew them, and I said, 'You know what I said? I said I don't believe it. I said, it's just a bullshit rumor. I don't believe it. I'm not going to believe it.' And we were on the way to the gig in Seattle, and we saw that it was true. It was like, it's just wrong.
"OK, [PANTERA's] music was aggressive, you know, and they were aggressive, and they said socially lyrics were about injustices of the world, talking about shit sucks sometimes, but it doesn't get anybody to stand behind their speakers and put a bullet in his head. So I'm just… in fact I just told the boys, let's find out when the funeral is because I want to go, because he was a friend of mine, and I want to go say goodbye to him.
"It just sucks. It's just horrible. Everything we're talking about this guy [the gunman, Nathan Gale], he's an ex-Marine, he has problems, blah, blah, blah. But I got real insulted tonight. On TV tonight, I don't know what station I was watching, they were talking about the band will be missed, blah, blah, blah, and the other guy said, 'Well, their songs are about death, and destruction, all that, I don't know how much he'll be missed in the musical community.' That guy said that on TV, one the newscasters. I wanted to punch him in the face right through the TV. The guy said right there on television, like, 'Oh well, he got killed.' It was almost like he said, 'You want to do this kind of music, or talk about lyrics with death and destruction, then well, what do you expect? You've got it coming.' I couldn't believe it. I want to know who this guy is, man. I'd punch his lights out. I couldn't believe he said that. He said it on television. How dare him? How dare him? But no one says anything about the rap artists and the rap art that talks about killing cops and justify gang banging, and talking about carrying guns, and fight for your turf, blah, blah, blah. And this newscaster on TV, this pompous little punk-in his suit and tie, said, he'll be missed and blah, blah, blah, but he wrote about this and he wrote about that, and the one girl said, 'Well, he'll be missed in the community,' and the guy said, 'Well, I don't know how much he'll be missed. His lyrics were about this, this, and that.' And I thought, 'Oh, you've got a lot of balls, dude.' I guess he figured he's a newscaster. He can get away with saying shit like that. He didn't know Darrell. He doesn't know what Darrell is all about. How dare him? That shit just gets under my skin, man. I mean, how dare these people? What, he's on TV, he's a newscaster, so he figures he can talk shit about someone he didn't know?
"I can see it. If they guy [Nathan Gale] had lived, they would take him to jail, and he'd say 'I'm insane, and I was listening to SLAYER albums and they told me to do it. It's my...and he told me to do it.' I can see it coming a mile away. That's what happens in this country. But luckily, god bless, the police officer shot him.
"A lot of people, they didn't know Darrell, they didn't know his brother. Those guys, as aggressive as their music was, they were a really hard core band, we used to always laugh about it, because the last time we played Texas they'd come see us. We were like antithesis to what they're not. For DOKKEN, we're more of a melodic rock band. But we were one of the first bands they played with when they got started, when they were still kind of like a VAN HALEN band. And they'd always invited us to their club, and they'd always come down and say, 'We dig you guys, we dig your music.' They're just nice people. Nice guys, man. It's just not fair."
Read Don Dokken's entire interview with Abrasive Rock at this location.