CHAD KROEGER Says DIMEBAG And VINNIE PAUL Used To 'Defend' Their Love Of NICKELBACK To Metal Community: 'It Was Lovely'
June 1, 2023
In a new interview with Tommy Carroll of the 97.9 WGRD radio station, NICKELBACK frontman Chad Kroeger reflected on his friendship with PANTERA founders, drummer Vincent "Vinnie Paul" Abbott and guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Vinnie Paul and Dimebag used to say all the time. When the metal community would come down on those guys and be, like, 'What's with this love for NICKELBACK? I don't get it.' And they would defend us, and it was really, really lovely. They were, like, 'Go watch 'em play. And then say they suck. Or then say something negative about them.' Because my favorite thing is when someone comes to the show, and they go, 'Honestly, I wouldn't call myself a fan, but I would definitely go see that show again.' I'm, like, 'I'll take that. I'll take that all day long. That's a hell of a compliment.'"
Kroeger said that Dimebag's murder in 2004 affected him deeply. "That one hurt," he said. "I had a tough time — really tough time — with that one for such a long time. You'd see him on [the cover of] a guitar magazine or something like that, and I'd be standing there in a grocery store. And my girlfriend would go to pull me. She's, like, 'C'mon, let's go.' And she can't move me. And then she looks over and there's just tears streaming down my face. And I'm, like, 'Ugh.' And she's, like, 'Do you wanna go home?' And I'm, like, 'Yup. I wanna go home right now.'"
Chad went on to call Dimebag and Vinnie "talented, down-home, amazing individuals. And Jerry Cantrell from ALICE IN CHAINS actually introduced me to them," he said. "We were on tour together, and he goes, 'Hey, you're gonna meet the brothers tonight.' And we were pulling into Dallas. And I said, 'The brothers?' And he goes, 'Yeah, buddy. You'll see.' I didn't know what the hell he meant at first. And the next thing I know I've got Dime and Vinnie on my bus. And I was just, like, 'Dude, this is the coolest day of my life.'"
In 2005, NICKELBACK recorded a song called "Side Of A Bullet", which was inspired by the death of Dimebag. Chad first penned the song's aggressive, metallic riff, then wrote call-and-response lyrics from the perspective of a PANTERA fan so enraged over Dimebag's murder that he vows revenge, not realizing the shooter had already been killed by a policeman. "Side Of A Bullet" featured a previously unheard guitar solo from Darrell that was edited together from outtakes off various PANTERA albums. The song was written shortly after Dimebag was killed.
"I was very upset, and for two months, if I saw his picture somewhere I would get angry," Kroeger told MTV.com. "I hadn't lost somebody to a shooting before — it wasn't as though he'd been killed in some sort of accident. He was taken in such a horrible, malicious way that just made it more painful."
Once Kroeger finished demoing "Side Of A Bullet", he called up Vinnie Paul and played it to him to get his take on the tune. Paul liked what he heard and urged Kroeger to write lyrics about Dime. "I said, 'Well, funny enough, that song is about your brother,' " Kroeger recalled.
Vinnie Paul volunteered to play on the song, so Kroeger overnighted him the tape and encouraged him to record a new drum track over the one played by NICKELBACK drummer Daniel Adair. "He thought about it for a while," Kroeger said, "then he decided that Daniel had done such an amazing job that we should leave it the way it was. That's when he sent the guitar parts from 'Vulgar Display Of Power' and 'Far Beyond Driven', which we used for the solo."
Chad spoke to Launch about the first time he played the track for Vinnie Paul. "I called Vinnie, I wanted to get his blessing, and I play him the tune and I'm telling him that it's this very PANTERA-inspired riff," Chad said. "He was into it. He was digging it over the phone, and then he says, 'You know what, dude? You gotta write one for Dime.' And I said, 'Well, I wasn't quite sure how to lead into this, but that's what the song's about, and I kind of want to get your blessing on it.' And he's, like, 'Brother, of course you have my blessing.'"
Last September, Chad weighed in on the news that PANTERA's surviving members Philip Anselmo (vocals) and Rex Brown (bass) were uniting with guitarist Zakk Wylde (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY) and drummer Charlie Benante (ANTHRAX) for a world tour under the PANTERA banner. He told LA Lloyd: "Well, selfishly, I wanna see those songs performed live. When you listen to a PANTERA record and you think to yourself — well, as we thought for the last, I don't know how many years, since the band broke up — it's, like, 'Oh, I'm never gonna get to see these songs [performed] live again.' And it's heartbreaking. So the fact that the boys are getting called in from here and there… [I] love Zakk; [I] love Charlie — great, great guys. I think the fact that they're gonna get on stage and do this… All Phil has to do is just get up there and crush it.
"I would go see that," he continued. "I would buy a ticket to go see that show. I wanna see it. I wanna scream those songs. And I think that calling it more of a tribute is probably closer to what it's gonna be, which is great; that's great. People that love that music that wanna recreate it live every single night… And like I said, as long as Phil brings it, it's gonna be great. Just to be able to sit back and watch those guys to do it up… And I think all the PANTERA fans are gonna love it.
"Anybody who's sitting back hating on the idea, I think when it comes to town, they're gonna do the same thing that happens with those people that say they don't like NICKELBACK," Chad added. "They always find themselves at the show. Strangely enough — shocker! It's, like, 'Ah, I hate those guys. They suck.' 'Are you going?' 'Of course' [Laughs]"
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