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"Dimebag was like Santa Claus with a pink beard": Zakk Wylde shares memories of the late Dimebag Darrell

Dimebag
(Image credit: James Cumpsty/Redferns)

Zakk Wylde is the subject of the Metal Hammer Interview in next month's issue of the magazine, and in a wide-ranging conversation with writer Rich Hobson, the 55-year-old guitarist goes deep on life as Ozzy Osbourne's right hand man, his Catholic upbringing, his battle with alcohol, and memorable encounters with Elton John, Axl Rose, Lemmy and more.

During the interview Wylde also shares his memories of his dear, departed friend, Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, who was killed onstage in Columbus, Ohio on December 8, 2004.

"Dime had a massive heart and just loved seeing everybody have a good time," says Wylde. "He was like Santa Claus with a pink beard; I think about him all the time. First time I met Dime was at Donington when I was with Pride & Glory [in 1994]. Pantera’s set was amazing, the power they had was unbelievable, and we became buddies after that show. We talked all the time.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Wylde speaks about discovering Black Sabbath at the age of 11, via [1975 compilation album] We Sold Our Soul For Rock’N’Roll.

"Not even a real Black Sabbath record!" he laughs. "I was beyond terrified; I’d been raised Catholic and by halfway through that record I’d turned full Satanist. By the end I’d gone back to Catholicism just so’s I could thank God for creating Black Sabbath, ha ha ha!”

For more wit and wisdom from Mr Wylde, pick up the new issue of Metal Hammer (opens in new tab) when it goes on sale on March 3.

Paul Brannigan
Paul Brannigan

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.