Josh Miller began coming of age as a musician in high school, when a buddy directed him to Pantera's influential slab of hard rock, "Vulgar Display of Power."
The fulcrum of the band's sound was guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, who combined power and soul in a pummeling approach that helped define early '90s metal. As soon as Miller heard it he was hooked.
"His guitar playing was just perfect," Miller said. "There are always songs you listen to that you think, 'They could have done this differently or that differently,' but listening to that album you realized they couldn't do it better."
Last year he had a chance to meet his idol before a show in Detroit. They knocked down a few of shots of whiskey and the guitarist, who was leading his new band Damageplan, made sure Miller and his fellow Sole Remedy member, bassist Justin Bailey, got into the show.
Tomorrow night he will pay final tribute to his hero when his band takes the stage with three other groups at Howard's Club H in Bowling Green. The show will raise money for the families of those who were shot at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus the same night Abbott was fatally shot Dec. 8 while performing with Damageplan.
Nathan Gale, 25, climbed on the stage at the suburban nightclub and shot Abbott and three other people, forever scarring the family members of those who were killed and leaving legions of heavy metal music fans mourning Abbott's death.
Tomorrow's show - which will feature Miller and Bailey's band Sole Remedy, Sever, Sledge, and New Found Element - was organized by Deb Miller, Josh's mother. She said her son was "absolutely devastated" by the shooting and the benefit seemed like a good idea to help him grieve and do something positive. Each of the bands will play one or two Pantera songs.
The cover charge for the 9 p.m. show is $4, but anyone wearing any Pantera or Damageplan clothing will be admitted for $3. Howard's donated the club for the night and other than paying a sound man, all the proceeds will go to an account for the family members, said Ms. Miller.
Bailey said he and some buddies were playing video games when Miller came over and told them about Abbott's murder. "He came in the door and said 'Dime' has been shot and we just stopped and dropped our controllers and basically just started crying," he said.
The loss in the metal music community is comparable to the loss of John Lennon to an assassin, Miller said. "It's crazy to think that strong about someone you don't really know - that you've only met once - or that you could have that kind of attachment with someone emotionally, but you do," he said. "There were millions of people going through the exact same thing I was going through."
Four bands will play at the tribute to late Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott tomorrow night Howard's Club H, 210 North Main St., Bowling Green. Doors open at 9 and the bands will start playing at 10. Tickets are $4 at the door or $3 for anyone wearing clothes with Pantera or Damageplan logos Proceeds taken in at the door will go to the Dimebag Darrell Memorial Fund for the families of the employees of the Columbus club where Abbott was murdered last month.
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