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The music world stood in shock and pain when the news spread about the unexpected death of Vinnie Paul Abbott June 22nd. Around 9pm my phone started blowing up with calls from people I don’t usually hear from. When I was first told the news, I didn’t react that much at first because I didn’t believe it and I wanted to check the close sources to know for sure. But soon it dawned on me that we had lost a major figure in the rock world. And it wasn’t long before I was sobbing on the phone to my friend about the loss of my hero and my friend. Vinnie Paul had become a major figure on the Las Vegas scene after moving here in 2006 and to some known as “Vegas Vinnie”. I had heard Vinnie moved to Las Vegas from Texas to escape the constant reminder of his dearly departed brother DVP 023arrell “Dimebag” Abbott who was murdered onstage during the band Damageplan’s performance December 8, 2004, at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to the tragedy, their metal band Pantera set the world on fire sending them to the heights of fame. I first met Vinnie walking across the parking lot of the Hard Rock Café in Las Vegas in 2006. Everyone loved him here. From the rich and famous to the local people at the bar who he would alIMG_7531ways have a beer with.  He was always down-to-earth and never turned down a photo or an autograph for a fan. After knowing him and seeing him on a constant basis for the past 12 years, I almost felt uncomfortable to keep bugging him for photos so after awhile I just stopped taking photos. He would attend many of my parties and events including The Vegas Rocks! MagazineMusic Award

_MG_9170cs where we honored him in 2012. I will never forget his text to me when he said; “Are you SURE Sammy (Hagar) is going to be there?”  Sammy as well as Vinnie made it a memorable night and I also flew in Vinnie’s special friend Zakk Wylde to present Vinnie with his award.  I arranged for the event to be filmed for AXS TV and Vinnie thanked me profusely afterwards for doing such a great job and giving him his award.


After meeting Vinnie in 2006, I finally caught up with him for an interview in 2008 which is below. I had not read the interview for manGL 175y years and when I read it for this article, I cried reading it as Vinnie expressed his love for his brother that and I felt great empathy for his pain. Vinnie spoke about the last time he saw his IMG_7890brother and his disdain for ex-Pantera lead vocalist Phil Anselmo.

One thing is for sure, there wasn’t one dry eye in the music world as the biggest music artists worldwide expressed their love for the departed hero. I had someIMG_2235 interesting talks with Vinnie over the years and he always acted so happy to see me. But then again, Vinnie was happy to  see everyone. Vinnie was always the center of excitement and life at every party and event and he lived every day to the fullest and partied hard. I heard that he had been living it up at a party the night before he died and I was happy that he had a good time until the end. Early reports from TMZ and the Las Vegas Review Journal and various sources said the cause of death was a heart attack and he died in his sleep. But family members  shot back the autopsy was still being conducted in Las Vegas where he died and it was too soon to announce the cause of death.

They say the person who dies with the most toys wins. But I think the person who dies with the most friends wins… and that would be Vinnie Paul Abbott. R.I.P my hero my friend.

Sally Steele


By Sally Steele

The following interview was my first interview I did with Vinnie Paul. It took place at the Hard Rock Café  where Vinnie Paul was promoting his book about his brother Dimebag Darrell;  “He Came to Rock”in November 2008.

VR: “Here we are with the legendary Vinnie Paul”

Vinnie: “Proud to be here.”

VR: “Let’s set the rumor straight: You do live in Vegas now?”

Vinnie: “You guys see me here all the time, right?”

VR: “ So you go back and forth?”

Vinnie: “Back and forth. I’ll never leave Texas permanently. I love my place. It’s beautiful. But I really like the desert. I like the people out

VP 030

here and it’s just a beautiful place man, so…I just couldn’t resist.”

VR: “I heard you opened up a strip club. Did you buy Cheetahs?”

Vinnie: “No, I don’t know where that rumor came from. I’d love to have a place like that but that’s way out of my league. I have a place off of North Las Vegas Boulevard called Chicas Bonitas and it’s a Tejano strip bar. We have one in Dallas that did really well so we put one out here and it’s doing really good so it looks like we’re going to be putting a club house out here before the end of next year for sure so… we’re working on that.”

VR: “You should put an ad in the magazine for that!”

Vinnie: “We will definitely.”

VR: “I heard there’s some Pantera memorabilia in there?”

Vinnie: ”Yep, thereVP 170’s some Pantera memorabilia. 1818 North Las Vegas Boulevard right across from Jerry’s Nugget [laughing].”

VR: “I know this is probably not the place to talk about it, I mean, it would be very emotional and I don’t know if you’re comfortable talking about it but what do you remember about that night (Darrell being shot)? Did you know what was happening?”

Vinnie: “Let’s keep it brief. It’s just something that is very… it was terrible. I hope it never happens again.  It’s unexplained, it’s unanswered and we just have to keep carrying on. We’ve gotta keep kicking a**, that ‘s the only way Dime would have it. It took me awhile to get on my feet again and get my bearings and Im lucky that I got the Hell Yeah! Band together. That really helped me to get my life together to keep moving forward and I think today was just a really special day for Dime, you know. Having the book really tells his story from day one. There’s so much more to him that Pantera and Damage Plan, you know, or a guitar player.  You just really got to see what he was like and what he was all about and hopefully it’s very inspiring to any up-and-coming musicians or to any people just to enjoy your life. I mean he lived his life like there is no tomorrow. He f*&king gave it everything he had every day and you know, there was no moment spared, that’s for sure.”

VR: “Did you actually see it happen?”VP 080

Vinnie: “Man, let’s not talk about that. Yes, yes… but it’s not anything I’m gonna talk about.”

VR: “Yeah, I know, it’s a special day for him. We all miss him very much. What do you remember most about him? Any special memories?”

Vinnie: “Well…everything. The most important thing about him, he never had a negative outlook on anything. Anything that was going on, he could make a really bad situation not so bad.  He would always say you know, ‘there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.’ He was always very positive. He always had a lot of faith in what we did as brothers and as bands we were in and anytime one of us needed a shoulder to lean on, he was always there. I never really thought of him like by brother. I thought of him as my best friend. We had so much in common and we just drove each other to what we achieved and to every level possible, so…it’s been a really, really long road in learning how to deal without him here. I think he’s pretty proud of what we’ve done.”P1040589

VR: “Do you ever feel nervous onstage because of that when you play?”

Vinnie: “I told myself, we weren’t afraid of anything happening to us that night…never would have thought of it in a million years and if I was  going to continue to do this, there is no way I could do it looking over my shoulder and having that kind of fear you know. So I’m going back into it with the same confidence I had before. I’m up there to play music. I’m an entertainer. I’m doing something I love. It makes me excited, it turns me on and the thought never crosses my mind.”

VP 027VR: “Are you ever nervous sometimes in public when people come at you?”

Vinnie: “ It happens, I’m used to it. I’ve been around them all my life, you know. They just get excited… the music and the things you do turns them on and unfortunately, there’s some people out there that have got some screws loose and they do some stupid stuff.”

VR: “Do you blame Phil (Anselmo- Pantera’s vocalist) at all… because he wouldn’t play with Pantera and kept putting it off….”

Vinnie: “I’ll put it this way; He took it upon himself to destroy Pantera. He wasn’t into it, he wanted to be bigger that it and he didn’t realize that he was a part of it. It’s really sad you know. It was the most amazing thing on the face of the earth. We had the greatest chemistry and we did some things that were unheard of for a metal band. I’m not going to speak for him, you know but I’ll say when the time came that we knew we had to move on, that’s when we put Damage Plan together.”

VR: “Have you spoken to Phil since…VP 157

Vinnie: “Nope. Don’t speak to him at all, haven’t spoken to him and I don’t plan on speaking to him.”

VR: “Well, we love you here in Vegas. We do miss your brother.”

Vinnie: “We all do.”

VR: “We think the world of you and we appreciate you coming to your book signing. Do you want to tell anybody anything else about your brother that they may not have known?”

Vinnie: “I think that he was a very open and honest person. I think pretty much everything… there wasn’t anything that was unknown about him, you know. He was always upfront, as with me, we’ve always been that way and so that’s the one thing that I can be comfortable with when I go to sleep at night is there’s not any unanswered questions between me and him. We knew each other inside and out you know, and I know there wasn’t anything like I wish I could’ve asked him that because we knew everything about each other.”

VR: “Do you remember that day before it happened? Like the last thing he ever said to you?”

Vinnie: “The last thing he ever said to me that night was ‘Van Halen’ and I said ‘F*&king Van Halen’. That was our code word for let it all hang out and have a good time. We always admired the Van Halen brothers and the Van Halen bands, both versions with Dave and Sammy and they always just f*&king went for it. They didn’t give a f*&k , you know?” It was just have a good time and that was the last thing he said. He was warming up his guitar like normal and he said ‘Van Halen’ and I said ‘F*&king Van Halen’ and I gave him a high five, we went onstage, a minute and forty-five seconds later I’d never get to see him again, you know. It was terrible.”

VR: “I’m really sorry about that. I cried when I read about it. We really appreciate you keeping his name alive and thank you for taking the time to talk to us about it.”

Vinnie: “I think the book will definitely help his legendary status to grow and the things he did accomplish will far exceed anything any of us can do for the rest of our lives. I’m just really proud of him and I’m gonna do everything I can to keep his name high in the sky as I can.”

VR: “We will too.”

Vinnie: “Thank you.”

ITM 793