Recently, a lineup of legendary musicians and people from the music business sat down to discuss the 20th anniversary of the Download festival with The Guardian. Among them was none other than Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett who recalled some of his great moments from the band performing at the festival.
In particular, the focus was on that one performance from back in 2004 when Metallica’s Lars Ulrich was unable to perform. This wasn’t good news. However, Metallica got help from then-Slayer’s Dave Lombardo and then-Slipknot’s Joey Jordison.
And, most importantly, Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell was there to perform with Damageplan and he proved to be great emotional support for Kirk. Unfortunately, what they didn’t know at the time is that this was the last time they would talk before Dime’s tragic murder later that year. Kirk said:
“When stuff like this happens, I don’t know why but the responsibility seems to land on me [laughs]. I couldn’t do anything for the next three hours except talk to drummers.“
“I remember seeing Dimebag [Darrell] wave at me from a distance backstage; I looked at him and mouthed: ‘We are completely fucked.’ He came over laughing and just said: ‘You guys have got this.’ And that was the last time I saw Dime [before his death that December]. I still regret not taking the time to have a full conversation with him.”
Going more into what happened on that day in June 2004, Kirk also recalled how Joey Jordison of Slipknot also swooped in alongside Lombardo to save the day. He said:
“Joey could play all sorts of things; I remember saying to him ’Bro, you’re gonna have to play a bunch of these tunes tonight…’ He was beside himself, he was so happy.“
“At the end of the set, I turned to Joey onstage, and I asked him if he could play ‘Enter Sandman.‘ And I saw through his mask [Jordison was still in his Slipknot stage attire] that he had tears in both of his eyes.“
“He was crying because it meant so much for him to be playing ‘Sandman‘ with us at Download. I’ll never forget that.“
Joey Jordison would continue playing with Slipknot until 2013. Although, at the time, no official reason was shared for his departure, it was revealed in June 2016 that he was suffering from transverse myelitis which hindered his ability to perform. The musician eventually passed away in July of 2021.
Dimebag Darrell, as well as his brother Vinnie Paul, were pretty close with a variety of musicians in the world of rock and metal music. With that said, Dime’s tragic passing in late 2004 affected many of them deeply. One of their close friends was also Chad Kroeger of Nickelback.
And, interestingly enough, despite the negative reputation Nickelback got back in the day, the Abbott brothers always defended them. In a recent interview, Kroeger recalled:
“Vinnie Paul and Dimebag used to say all the time. When the metal community would come down on those guys and be, like, ‘What’s with this love for Nickelback? I don’t get it.’ And they would defend us, and it was really, really lovely.”
“They were, like, ‘Go watch ’em play. And then say they suck. Or then say something negative about them.’”
He also added:
“Because my favorite thing is when someone comes to the show, and they go, ‘Honestly, I wouldn’t call myself a fan, but I would definitely go see that show again.’ I’m, like, ‘I’ll take that. I’ll take that all day long. That’s a hell of a compliment.’”
Looking back at Dime’s passing, Kroeger recalled:
“That one hurt. I had a tough time — really tough time — with that one for such a long time. You’d see him on [the cover of] a guitar magazine or something like that, and I’d be standing there in a grocery store.”
“And my girlfriend would go to pull me. She’s, like, ‘C’mon, let’s go.’ And she can’t move me. And then she looks over and there’s just tears streaming down my face. And I’m, like, ‘Ugh.’ And she’s, like, ‘Do you wanna go home?’ And I’m, like, ‘Yup. I wanna go home right now.’”