In a new interview with The Aquarian Weekly, ANTHRAX bassist Frank Bello was asked about all the PANTERA stories he chose to include in his memoir, “Fathers, Brothers, And Sons: Surviving Anguish, Abandonment, And Anthrax”, which is due on November 2 via Rare Bird.

“These were my brothers,” he said. “I still feel close to Dime [guitarist ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott] and Vinnie [drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott] and all of the PANTERA guys, but Dime and Vinnie, specifically, were the best of the best. When I say people know PANTERA, they know the guys, but the real people that they were…. Dime and Vinnie were good-hearted people. They were the best of the best on Earth. They were just good people aside from the music stuff. They were good people that you wanted to talk with like we’re talking right now, and every other word would have you laughing your ass off. The Abbott brothers were just great people from a great family.

“I remember we went on tour with PANTERA, and I don’t even think I put this in the book,” he continued. “We’re on the road and we’re having a ball, usually drinking, and it was insane. I remember we were going to have a Thanksgiving on the road. We were on tour and we couldn’t all get home, so we, the band ANTHRAX, were just going to have it at some restaurant. Now, the guys from PANTERAVinnie, Dime, and the rest of them — put together this great Thanksgiving dinner for all of us — PANTERA and ANTHRAX, all crews and everybody involved with the tour — and it was one of the most fun times I ever had in my life because it was great food, great people, music, and it was family. That’s why when I talk about PANTERA, that’s family. As much as my family is, PANTERA is family because we had those times together. They made us have a specific dinner. They knew we were away from home. We were in Dallas and we had this great dinner. They’re the best of the best. Top notch — nothing will every touch them. Dime will forever be known as the sixth member of ANTHRAX because he played on so many records with us.”

Back in 2012, ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian stated about Abbott: “[Dimebag‘s] one of the few people on the planet I’ve ever seen that was able to drink the way he drank starting at 5 in the afternoon and then get onstage at 9, 9:30 and still rip it up. It just made him loose,” King agreed. “It got him in the vibe to play.”

Ian also explained why his time with Dimebag was more booze-soaked than any regular old alcohol-fueled metal tour. “My normal rules went out the window when I played with those guys,” he said. “I would try to keep it to a minimum and say, ‘I’m not doing more than three shots with you before I play.’ But then they’re walking onstage and handing me drinks in the middle of a set or pouring ’em down your throat. Any time I toured with those guys was the drunkest I’ve been in my life.”

Ian also recalled hitting a strip club with several other metal musicians, including members of KISS and MÖTLEY CRÜE. “I do remember a night in New York where randomly, somehow Frankie, Vinnie Paul, Darrell, Tommy Lee and Gene Simmons all ended up together at [the strip club] Scores. We ended up in a private room and for three or four hours I’m sitting next to Dime with a stripper on my lap constantly. There never wasn’t a girl on my lap and there was always someone refilling my drinks. I remember saying to somebody afterward, ‘Who paid for that? What did we do?’ And the next day in the New York Post I saw a story, ‘Tommy Lee dropped 28 grand at Scores last night.’ So I guess I owe Tommy a thank you.”

“Dimebag” Darrell Abbott was shot to death along with three others during a DAMAGEPLAN performance at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio in December 2004.

Dimebag was posthumously inducted into the Hollywood RockWalk in May 2007 in a ceremony attended by Vinnie Paul, their father Jerry Abbott and Dimebag‘s longtime girlfriend, Rita Haney, along with members of ALICE IN CHAINS, ANTHRAX, KISS, SLAYER and Ozzy Osbourne‘s band.

Vinnie Paul died in June 2018 at the age of 54 in his sleep at his home in Las Vegas. The official cause of death was dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease. He was buried next to his brother and their mother, Carolyn, at Moore Memorial Gardens cemetery in Arlington, Texas.