Saturday, August 01, 2009

Biography: Black Tooth Grin: The High Life, Good Times, and Tragic End of “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott by Zac Crain

Unsurprisingly, Black Tooth Grin (Da Capo) begins at the end. December 8, 2004, 24 years to the day that John Lennon died. “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott killed onstage, mid-song. The founder of the metal cover band Pantera, Abbott was not well known outside of his own metal community. However according to author Zac Crain, no one who knew the musician ever wondered why so many people called the act “the 9/11 of heavy metal.”

Of course, Black Tooth Grin doesn’t just tell the story of Abbott’s death. Much more time and detail is spent on the doomed musician’s life. Does D Magazine senior editor and music scribe heavyweight Crain sometimes move Black Tooth Grin towards the maudlin? Maybe only slightly. For the most part, though, Crain seems to hit all the right notes, skillfully blending fact with educated fancy, filling in the blanks and also imagining the what-might have beens and the nearly-weres.

Metal fans will, of course, find Black Tooth Grin to be a must-read but even those who had only barely heard of Abbott will find Crain’s book compelling. It’s a portrait of the music industry exactly as you always suspected it was... and yet entirely different. Fascinating.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Dime back in the 90's when Dallas had a metal scene. My favorite memory is from the night they closed "The Basement". Sat at the bar laughing, telling lies, and doin' shot after shot with Darrell and Vin. To this day I have not watched the whole VH1-Behind the music because i cry like a little girl. He is missed. As Dime would say: Keep Rippin'!