Watch: DIMEBAG's Longtime Girlfriend RITA HANEY Joins PANTERA On Stage In Houston
August 19, 2023
Rita Haney, the longtime girlfriend of late PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, and LAMB OF GOD singer Randy Blythe joined PANTERA on stage this past Thursday (August 17) at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, Texas to perform the band's classic song "Walk". Fan-filmed video of their appearance can be seen below.
Dimebag and his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, formed PANTERA in the mid-eighties in Texas. The band recorded four independent albums before their 1990 major label debut, "Cowboys From Hell", introduced a heavier sound and made them a favorite with metal fans. 1994's "Far Beyond Driven" debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 without benefit of a commercial hit single.
The group splintered in 2002 following the departure of volatile lead singer Philip Anselmo. Dime and Vinnie regrouped with DAMAGEPLAN, releasing the band's debut album, "New Found Power", in February of 2004.
Dimebag, one of the most beloved and respected musicians in hard rock, was shot onstage during a DAMAGEPLAN concert on December 8, 2004 at the Alrosa Villa club in Columbus, Ohio by a 25-year-old ex-Marine named Nathan Gale. Gale murdered a total of four people and wounded three others before being killed himself by police officer James D. Niggemeyer, who arrived on the scene minutes after Gale began his rampage.
DAMAGEPLAN was touring in support of "New Found Power" at the time of the shootings.
Haney in 2011 called on Vinnie and Anselmo to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag.
Vinnie and Anselmo had not spoken since PANTERA split in 2003. But the relationship got even more acrimonious when Vinnie indirectly blamed Philip for Dimebag's death, suggesting that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag's killer.
Haney told the producers of "Behind The Music Remastered: Pantera" that she forgave the singer after they found themselves unexpectedly face to face at a concert in California.
The reformed PANTERA kicked off its U.S. headlining tour with LAMB OF GOD on July 28 at The Pavilion at Star Lake in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania.
PANTERA's 2023 lineup includes two surviving members from the band's classic formation, Anselmo and Rex Brown (bass),along with guitarist Zakk Wylde (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY) and drummer Charlie Benante (ANTHRAX).
Anselmo and Brown, along with Wylde and Benante, are headlining a number of major festivals across South America, Asia, North America and Europe and staging some of their own headline concerts. They will also support METALLICA on a massive North American stadium tour in 2023 and 2024.
According to Billboard, the lineup has been given a green light by Dimebag and Vinnie Paul's estates.
In 2017, Haney criticized Brown's book as full of inaccuracies and has described the PANTERA bassist's portrayal of Vinnie Paul as "pretty hateful."
Asked in an interview with Metal Forces for her opinion of Rex's 2013 memoir, "Official Truth, 101 Proof: The Inside Story Of Pantera", Haney said: "Good lord… It's not good to write a book when you don't remember things, and you have other people telling you in your ear, 'This is how it went down,' when it didn't. I got to chapter three, and I felt like I needed to get a highlighter out for things I knew were incorrect. [Laughs] I know where Rex is today, and where is head is. I know he regrets a lot of the things that are in that book. It's kind of a… I don't know. How can you write a book when there's shit you don't remember?"
Haney also commented on the fact that "Official Truth" seemed to paint the PANTERA drummer in a particularly unfavorable light.
"It seemed [to be a] potshot, like, 'Let's try to take some potshots and stab at you,'" Rita said. "And yeah, it was pretty hateful. It's the pot calling the kettle black. How can you throw stuff out there when you're just as guilty or guilty of worse things? Some of the stuff is not yours to tell, or yours to judge. And yeah, it was pretty shitty, I would say. I know [Rex] has regrets about that. If he doesn't, he needs to."
In February 2020, Haney said she would "definitely" be in favor of Anselmo, Brown and Wylde teaming up for a PANTERA tribute tour. A few days later, Brown weighed in on her comments, writing on Twitter: "I wanna make sure that ppl understand what I'm about to tweet.. It's not up to Rita to say what will happen, only what Philip & I say...I'm in!! Dig?!?!?"
Rita discussed the possibility of the PANTERA members and the OZZY OSBOURNE guitarist paying tribute to Dimebag and Vinnie Paul while speaking to "The Blairing Out With Eric Blair Show" on the red carpet of the Ronnie James Dio 10th Memorial Awards Gala at the Avalon in Los Angeles. She said: "I don't think there could be a PANTERA reunion, but I think that his two remaining brothers, Rex and Philip, if they wanted to honor Darrell and Vinnie, as far as where I'm coming from and what I believe Darrell would believe — because he was the most forgiving person that I know — I believe that he would be honored. It's kind of a cliché to say, but he truly would be grateful that he meant that much to them. And I think if they wanna honor their fallen brothers with a tribute, I think that that's great. But as far as trying to say put PANTERA back together, PANTERA tribute, this and that, no — that's distasteful without those other guys. But I think as a tribute, it would be a really great thing. Because I know, from a fan's point, if I hadn't been able to see them play or hear those songs — the songs, they mean so much to me; I can imagine [they do to] other people as well. I think it's great that they can at least see it performed, and by people that truly love 'em. So, yeah, I think it would be a really cool thing."
When asked to clarify if she would "be okay with a tour," she responded: "I definitely would. I'd wanna be at every show. [Laughs]"
Vinnie passed away on June 22, 2018 at his other home in Las Vegas at the age of 54. He died of dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease. His death was the result of chronic weakening of the heart muscle — basically meaning his heart couldn't pump blood as well as a healthy heart.
BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).