EDDIE VAN HALEN BURIED HIS ’79 BLACK & YELLOW GUITAR WITH DIMEBAG DARRELL
So it’s almost that time of year again… Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott was viciously shot and killed 3 years ago this coming Saturday, on December 8, 2004 (John Lennon shot on the same day 24 years earlier). Get ready for the obligatory Dimebag tributes and press flurries in the coming days (more on that later — this tiring phenomenon deserves its own post). Metal Monthly has already released an interview with Dimebag’s widow Rita Haney, who seems to be getting quite a bit of press herself of late, in which she revealed that Eddie Van Halen donated his original — not a copy — black and yellow custom guitar (featured in the Van Halen II album artwork) to go six feet deep with Dimebag:
Metal Monthly: Many people do not know that Eddie Van Halen buried one of his guitars with Darrell. This is true, right? And like 20 bottles of Crown Royal?
Rita: [Laughs] There’s a few bottles of 7 up in there too! My boy loooves Seagram’s! But yeah, Vinnie and I were trying to figure out which guitar, and about that time Ed called… he asked me on the phone if there was anything he could do, and I said, “Yes, as a matter of fact there is… Can you stripe him a yellow-and-black guitar?” He said, “Are you sure you don’t want the red-black-and-white?” I said, “No… Dime told me the yellow-and-black is the shit! It’s the toughest lookin’!” He always thought that. We had just seen Van Halen in Midland, TX a few weeks earlier and that was the first time Dime ever got to meet Eddie Van Halen. They hung out before and after the show. Dime even got to play on his rig at soundcheck. He was like a kid in a candy store… the way his eyes were lit up. He told me later in the limo — which Van Halen provided — “How cool is that?” Anyway he leaned over and looked me right in the eyes and said, “If I died tonight, it wouldn’t matter, ’cause I’ve done everything now, I’ve met Eddie Van Halen!” and he had the biggest smile on his face… he was so happy! But, shit, I strayed! I’m the world’s worst about telling 10 stories at once! [Laughs] Back to Ed… He said, “OK,” that he would be down in a couple of days. When Ed came in at the viewing, he had the guitar, but it wasn’t the guitar we expected… he told Vinnie and I that “Dime was an original and only an original deserves the original!” He popped open the case and there it was… his original ’79 still with the rusted set of strings on it! It was so amazing!!! I took it in to Dime and I said, “See, baby, you didn’t get a replica! You got THE one,” and I gave him a kiss on the forehead and place it in there with him… Ed was awesome and I thank him still!
That is pretty fucking rad. Though many people seem to forget to pay tribute to Eddie Van Halen, it’s good to know what he meant to Dimebag and that the feeling was reciprocated.