A touching feature of the Melbourne (Australia) leg of the Big Day Out and this year's Metal For The Brain Festival in Canberra was the startling number of shirts that eulogized the death of American heavy metal guitarist Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott. Abbott was shot on stage on December 8 while performing with DAMAGEPLAN and, even though eight weeks has passed, the number of t-shirts on display served as a haunting reminder of the atrocity.
The shirts, identical in design, are the creations of Melbourne screenprinter and PANTERA fan, Daniel McDougall, who is also vocalist with local metal group BLOCK. "Basically, the shirt is a gesture from the Australian heavy metal community," said McDougall, who works at A&D Printing and Design. "I want to sell as many of these as possible and to gather photos on a web site of people wearing them."
McDougall epitomizes the connection that fans have historically shared with their stars in life and in death. "I just want Vinnie Paul (Dimebag's brother and DAMAGEPLAN drummer) and the band to know how much we appreciated and loved Dimebag. Once the message gets sent, that's it. That's all I want: For them to know how much he meant to us all."
The shirt, predictably black in colour, carries an image of the guitarist on the front, and the following message on the back: "R.I.P. Dimebag Darrell. You will live in our memories forever. The metal heads of Australia." McDougall developed the design after viewing Abbott's face on the cover of a music magazine and has sold around 400 t-shirts so far out of a backpack that he carries to various festivals.
McDougall is selling "The Dime Shirts" for just $5 each. He stands to make nothing for the time and effort he has thus far contributed but believes the low price will encourage as many people as possible to buy one for themselves and one for each of their friends; draw attention to the real cost of producing a t-shirt in the aim that people will reject similar commemorative items that will be inevitably overpriced.
"It's very important to me that people realize that we're not profiteering here," says McDougall, who has thus far enlisted a team of 10 volunteers to help spread the word. "We're doing this to create a feeling of unity and togetherness in the music community and it's working. I can't print them fast enough because everyone wants to buy more than one."