Both Van Halen and Pantera had guitar and drum playing brothers in their bands, and the two sets of siblings — the Van Halens (Eddie and Alex Van Halen) and the Abbotts (Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul) — developed a friendship. After Dimebag’s murder, Eddie donated his famous guitar with the black and yellow tape stripes that’s featured on the back cover of Van Halen II to be buried with the guitarist.
In a recent Q&A in Dallas that you can watch above, Vinnie Paul talked about how much Eddie and Alex inspired him and the first time he met Eddie. ”He was in town and I was off doing something and my brother was in Phoenix working on an amp deal,” Paul recalls. “And my manager at the Clubhouse [Paul’s strip club in Dallas] calls me and says, ‘Hey, man, Eddie Van Halen is in the club. He wants to see you.’ And I was, like, ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me! He’s in there?’ ‘Yeah.’ I hauled ass over, walked into the club, and he’s sitting there at the table by himself waiting on me.”
He continues, “I came in, and we gave each other a big hug…We’d been talking maybe ten minutes, and he goes, ‘You know, man, it’s crazy. We’ve only been talking, like, 10 minutes, but it’s unbelievable how much we’ve got in common; you and your brother, and me and Al.’ And it was an amazing thing that happened. And then we [Damageplan] had to fly out and play this thing called Locobazooka in Boston [in 2004], and [Van Halen] had some shows, and he wanted us to come and see him. And Eddie sent a limo to pick us up, which was very cool.”
“And we came in, and he brought us right up onstage, we hung out at soundcheck and everything,” Paul says. “And the show was amazing. And I’ll never forget. We got on the plane, and when we were flying back to Dallas, my brother looked over at me, and he goes, ‘Man, you know what? If this plane was to go down in a crash right now, I’d be okay with it. I finally got to meet the dude that made me wanna play guitar.’ It was really special.”
Paul also gave an update on what his current band Hellyeah are up to. He said after they finish up touring in September, they’ll write new songs in Dallas and then begin recording a new album in Las Vegas in October.
As to what we can expect from the new record, Paul says, “A continuation of what we did with the last record. I think the last record really established what Hellyeah is all about. We really got back to our roots, our heavy metal past of what we all did collectively, and it really made a statement for the band.”
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