Black Tooth Grin: The High Life, Good Times, and Tragic End of 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., July 17, 2009
Black Tooth Grin: The High Life, Good Times, and Tragic End of 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbottby Zac Crain
Da Capo Press, 336 pp., $15.95 (paper)
On Dec. 8, 2004, Arlington-born "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott was shot five times and killed onstage while performing with his band Damageplan at Alrosa Villa, a small club in Columbus, Ohio, by Nathan Gale, a delusional former Marine. The horrific slaying, which Disturbed's David Draiman once deemed "the 9/11 of heavy metal," accounts for 28 pages (including the introduction) of Black Tooth Grin, the first book from Zac Crain. The other pages translate into grave-robbing of the worst kind, where "unauthorized" biography means "no pertinent interviews with surviving band members" or even Abbott's father, Jerry, who produced Pantera's first four albums. Worse, it's only through Abbott's unnerving death that Crain, a former music editor at the Dallas Observer, finds significance in the guitarist's life. The book glazes over Abbott's personal transition from "Diamond" to "Dimebag," mirroring Pantera's evolution from a Texas imitation of Van Halen to certified Platinum Cowboys From Hell, while Crain's lack of insight, heavy-handed repetition (such as how Abbott was killed the same day as John Lennon), and laughable Guitar Hero verbiage makes the whole thing simply unbearable. Drink this away with a Black Tooth Grin – whiskey with a dash of coke.