Twelve years ago today, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott was tragically shot onstage on December 8, 2004, while performing with Damageplan at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio.
Months before his death, Dimebag asked one of his idols, Eddie Van Halen, for a black and yellow striped Charvel “Bumblebee,” like the one pictured on the back cover and inside sleeve of the Van Halen II album.
Eddie agreed to make Dimebag a copy of the guitar, but never got around to it. When Eddie learned of the tragic death, he called Dime’s widow, Rita, and asked if there was anything he could do.
She said, “Yes. As a matter of fact there is. Can you stripe him a yellow-and-black guitar?”
Van Halen said, “Are you sure you don’t want the red-black-and-white one?”
Rita declined, saying, “No, Dime told me the yellow-and-black is the toughest looking. He always thought that.”
In an interview Rita explained, “We had just seen Van Halen in Midland, Texas, a few weeks earlier, and that was the first time Dime ever got to meet Eddie. They hung out before and after the show. Dime even got to play Eddie’s 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?’”
When Van Halen arrived at the viewing, he had the guitar, but it wasn’t what Rita expected. He brought his original 1979 Bumblebee Charvel Hybrid VH2 to be placed inside Dimebag’s casket and buried along with him.
“Dime was an original and only an original deserves the original,” said Van Halen.
Now that’s a tribute.
In the video below, from August 2015, Vinnie Paul, Dimebag’s brother and former bandmate, reminisces about when Darrell first met Eddie.