Mark Carras of RockMyMonkey TV conducted an interview with PANTERA/DAMAGEPLAN guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott's longtime girlfriend Rita Haney at a recent stop on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. You can now watch the chat below. A couple of excerpts follow.
On her reconciliation with former PANTERA singer Philip Anselmo:
"We've exchanged a few e-mails and we bumped into each other in London. We're still in the process of talking. Everybody has still resentments towards each other as far as things from the past. But these days, the Philip that I know? There's always room in my heart for him. I love him. He's my family and I would never want anything bad to happen to him."
On how Dimebag would want everyone to forgive each other and come together after the horrible events of December 8, 2004:
"Darrell was probably the person that had the most forgiving nature. I mean, he had family members, friends things that all of us have all done to each other, and he always forgave. And there's not person in our camp or in our whole family that hadn't had a problem that he didn't forgive. And some of them were really brutal like the things with Philip and the drug abuse and just stuff like that but I know him and I know that that's the way he would be as well."
On her involvement with overseeing Dimebag's estate and keeping his legacy alive:
"Vinnie [Paul Abbott, Dimebag's brother and former PANTERA drummer] and I are 50/50 on our whole entity, as far as [overseeing Darrell's estate] goes. We had a little bump in the road since I started talking to Philip [Vinnie's] a little hot at me but you know what?! We're family and I just hope some day he sees the light that I know Darrell is about, which is forgiving, and I know it'll come in time, as far as him not holding on to something so bitter. You've gotta let go to continue on. Our issues and our little pettiness it is petty That's not the big picture the big picture [is] all these people that loved Darrell. They're what matters not who we're mad at. And that shouldn't be somebody else's burden. And I think in time [Vinnie and I] work on everything together. I have all of [Darrell's] notes, all of his tapes, all of his video tapes. I mean, I lived with him. You can only live with each other so much on the road, And you do have that significant other that you tell everything to. And it takes both of us [Vinnie and I] to make [Darrell's] legacy the best that it can be. And that's what I'm about. I have no animosity."
On being able to forgive and move on after Dimebag's murder:
"It's easy to direct your anger at the wrong people. Philip and Rex [Brown, ex-PANTERA bassist] didn't murder Darrell and they would have never wanted that. But it is very easy to vent your anger towards other issues, as far as, yeah, I'm pissed off and resent [Philip] for becoming a jackass and being a drug addict. And also I'm a little sketchy on trusting him quite all the way yet, 'cause I've seen it happen so many times. But I know I saw him [being interviewed] on [VH1 Classic's] 'That Metal Show' and just some of the things he's e-mailed and some things that he's said, I know when I looked into his eyes, that's the Philip I know that's the 'stronger than all.'"
"Dimebag" Darrell Abbott was shot to death along with three others during a DAMAGEPLAN performance at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio in December 2004.
Dimebag was posthumously inducted into the Hollywood RockWalk in May 2007 in a ceremony attended by Dimebag's brother Vinnie Paul, their father Jerry Abbott and Dimebag's longtime girlfriend, Rita Haney, along with members of ALICE IN CHAINS, ANTHRAX, KISS, SLAYER and Ozzy Osbourne's band.
A bronze bust of Dimebag was unveiled during the ceremony and later installed on the RockWalk's posthumous inductee wall, alongside luminaries such as Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix and Robert Johnson.
A special one-time only all-star tribute to Dimebag was held on August 9, 2008 at the one-day Ozzfest at Dallas' Pizza Hut Park.
The tribute to "Dimebag" Darrell featured Vinnie Paul (acting as musical director and playing drums), along with an array of prominent hard rockers, including HATEBREED's Jamey Jasta, SLAYER's Kerry King, SOULFLY's Max Cavalera, King Diamond, ANTHRAX's Scott Ian, ALICE IN CHAINS' Jerry Cantrell and METALLICA's Lars Ulrich.