From page 8 of Classic Rock Magazine February 2005
Ex-Pantera guitarist shot dead by fan.
JUST ONE NUMBER INTO A SHOW he was playing with his band Damageplan at the at the 200-capacity Alrosa Villa club in Columbus, Ohio, Dimebag Darrell (real name Darrell Abbott) was gunned down by a member of the audience.
His assassin, Nate Gale, climbed from the mosh pit on to the stage and shot the 38-year-old former Pantera guitarist several times at point-blank range. He then turned his handgun on the audience, killing fan Nathan Bray. Band bodyguard Jeff Thompson and club employee Erin Halk were also killed.
Shortly afterwards, while holding a hostage, assassin Gale was shot and killed by a Columbus police officer.
Eyewitness Chris Couch later claimed that the incident was no random killing, and that Gale had sought out his victim.
A former US Marine, 25-year-old Gale was said to have a quick temper, and to be angry at the break-up of Pantera. His mother bought him the gun as a gift.
Formed in 1981 by the Abbot brothers, Pantera sold more than seven million albums and received a Grammy nomination before fragmenting acrimoniously in 2003.
Damageplan released just one album, last year’s ‘New Found Power’, which included guest spots from Ozzy’s guitarist Zakk Wylde and Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor. The band played their first UK dates last summer, and were due to begin work on a second album in the spring.
Former Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo, who fell out with the Abbots during Pantera’s demise, was said to be “devastated”. Ozzy Osbourne said: “I’m beside myself with grief”. Tributes to Dimebag have poured in.
For our photographic tribute, see pages 28-31.
IN MORE SAD NEWS, ALASTAIR Symons, former guitarist with The Dirty Strangers and The Lords Of The New Church, died in a hospital A&E department while waiting to be treated for a severe headache. A famous drinker, Symons was cremated on December 3 and celebrated at a wake in his local.
Lords founder Brian James says: “He was a beautiful guy and a beautiful guitarist when he was together. He was larger-than-life. I miss him such a lot.
He’d always phone up drunk and have a go at me and just keep chatting and chatting. I wish he’d phone now.”