I was never a Pantera fan. Their first album was different and very heavy, but it never appealed to me. I guess I always had a respect for Pantera, though; it is hard to explain. I have a close friend who is a Pantera fan and I recently borrowed their first 2 CDs, Cowboys From Hell and Vulgar Display of Power. I liked them a little better 13 years after I heard them the first time, but I still really did not care for them. I never heard Damageplan.
So, why do I mourn (OK not mourn, but feel sad about) the death of Dimebag Darrel? A guitarist who I never really listened to or liked. My only connection to his music was an impression that it wasn’t crap like nu-metal, but still was not my thing, so again I ask why?
I have a theory, and it is a bit complex. Readers of this site (all three of you) will know that I recently had a run in with the metal community at some web site. My conclusion was that the metal community is a bunch of losers and worse. These people were curt, rude and showed no civility in any way shape or form. I had concluded that the metal community had become a horde of former geeks turned into obnoxious, rude and violent miscreants.
This shooting confirmed my fears.
It seems as if this may be the beginning of the end for the metal community as I knew it. The metal scene in the USA was horrible before this incident; now, it will only get worse. I can easily see many European bands deciding not to play in the USA because of our warped culture. It wasn’t always this way.
Our once friendly metal community of the 1980’s who, while enjoyed overturning cars in concert parking lots and setting them on fire from time to time, were, in general a decent bunch of guys. People at concerts were always friendly and personable to each other. I hate to sound corny, but those silly Judas Priest songs like United, Take on the World, and Defenders of the Faith had some element of truth to them, we really did all like each other. Serious violence was never even a fleeting thought.
I fear that this ridiculous gun culture of rap and hip-hop may be affecting heavy metal, at least here in the United States. I hope I am wrong, but since the killer is dead, we will probably never know the motive. Until it happens again.
I saw some reaction to Dimebag’s death blaming the government, gun laws (or lack thereof), etc. Sorry, but that is a narrow vision. I am sure several gun laws were violated in this shooting. Tougher laws are not the answer and we all know guns have been around for a long time, and this is the first incident of gun violence at a metal show aimed at a performer. The blame is on our culture of violence, not on the weapons themselves or the politics of those in power.
Our culture of violence is too complex to discuss in a short blog, but let’s not be pissed at Smith and Wesson for Dimebag’s death. The sad truth is, we are all to blame for allowing society to erode to this point. The question is, how bad will it get before it gets better?