When he was alive, Pantera guitarist and cannabis enthusiast ‘Dimebag’ Darrell was open about his admiration for many guitarists. And while KISS‘ Ace Frehley likely held the top rank in his heart, one of his contemporaries received a lot of admiration from the Texan axeman — Metallica‘s James Hetfield. For example, while speaking with Guitar World back in 1993, he said he loved Metallica’s “Motorbreath” because “[Hetfield’s] the god of chugging riffs…I don’t know any guitarist that can down-pick like Hetfield, and “Motorbreath” is a prime example of his expertise.”
Now, years after Darrell’s untimely murder and while Metallica’s out on a major world tour right now, James Hetfield once again heaped praise on Dimebag and shared stories of hanging out with Pantera back in their early days during a recent chat with SiriusXM host Jose Mangin on SiriusXM’s “Metal Ambassador” podcast (as transcribed by Blabbermouth).
“Well, what a blessing to have been in his life and him in my life. And yeah, some of those early days, just traveling down there to the Dallas area and meeting with those guys and just hanging out. Yeah, Dimebag introduced me to the solid state amp, I remember. He had this fricking amazing crunch going on. I was, like, ‘What is that?’ You know? So, uh, yeah. [We] inspired each other. He inspired me as well. No doubt.”
Oh, to be a fly on the wall while those two were jamming out and showing each other guitar techniques or talking shop or whatever they were doing. It had to be one hell of a meeting of the minds — James Hetfield showing off his heavy right hand while Dime just shreds everyone’s face off, patented divebombs and all.
Now I just wish Dime were still around and part of Metallica. At least his solos would have been way cooler than the boring ones Kirk slapped together for 72 Seasons…
Truth be told, both the Metallica and Pantera camps eventually became close, with Lars Ulrich remembers shortly after Dime’s murder that he and his friend eventually hung out with Darrell and Vinnie Paul in the mid-80s because “they were the coolest mutherfuckers that we had met after criss-crossing the states for three months. That was the beginning of a friendship that was anchored in love, respect, fun, outrageousness, music, booze, sweat, late nights, early mornings, hangovers, headaches, pounding eardrums, sore bodies… the list goes on.”
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