PANTERA – Rita Haney’s Double Vision

November 22, 2017, a year ago

Martin Popoff

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PANTERA – Rita Haney’s Double Vision

Hey, Dimebag Darrell fans, get ready for Dimevision Vol. 2: Roll With It or Get Rolled Over, follow-up to the riotous Dimevision Vol. 1: That’s the Fun I Have from back in 2006. These DVDs are essentially for any Pantera fan, companion sets to the Pantera home videos and more than that, a poignant reminder of what we lost with the death of Dime.

The DVD, dependably packed with heavy drinking and fireworks being set off in the house, was years in the making, says Dime’s partner in romance since the beginning, Rita Haney. “The biggest challenge, I suppose was getting everybody on the same page with the same schedule to finally come together to work on it. But yeah, other than that, I mean, who doesn’t enjoy getting to watch all the videos of Dime? So it was a pretty magical experience. But as far as going through footage, pulling clips, that took a while. Another difficult thing would be trying to decide what is going in it, or actually trying to decide what is not going in, because there’s so much stuff, it’s impossible (laughs).”

What falls out of this video for the outsider looking in (in the same way everybody that Dime gets drunk eventually falls over, or, occasionally in this video, throws up) is how much Dime wanted to make sure everybody was having a good time.

As for what Rita gathered from the footage she gathered... “I think him just being an open book as a person, was probably the greatest thing about him. I know when he played on stage he’s being that open book, and I think his fans feel that—they know it’s genuine.. They know it comes right from his heart and his soul. And he lived that persona 24-7. I mean, it wasn’t just something that was a stage presence. What you saw was him the second he rolled out of bed—very genuine.”

“And that’s what we hope to do with Dimevision. With the Pantera home videos, there are other things that Darrell did that we really wouldn’t use there, like the stuff with David Allen Coe, the Rebel Meets Rebel stuff, Damageplan, his four-tracks, music like that; it gives us a place to get to share that. Plus, people get to see Darrell at home, whether it’s putting together a Christmas present at Christmas time, or the Girl Scouts come knocking on the door with cookies or taking our lawn guy to get a pedicure. That was just him. He was that true reality character. You didn’t have to like write a script for him. That’s just how he lived all the time.”

Asked if she recalled a time when she had to grit her teeth and scribble off a big check for damages from some of this stuff Dime and the boys got up to after guzzling, Haney chuckles, “I’m sure there are some of those. I remember being in Hawaii, actually, Pantera was playing a show. Or they were playing the next night. And we didn’t realize that Anthrax was over playing the night before. And we just happen to go into the club where they were. We just wanted to check it out and Anthrax was playing that night.”

“And everybody kind of hung out afterwards, and we hit this place called The Wave. It was right after they had done the ‘Broken’ video, the one where, I believe, Philip punches the light bulb. We’re upstairs in this area. And it wasn’t really a VIP area; it was just a balcony. And all of us were up there hanging out, and there was a light bulb hanging down with no cover over it. Darrell punched it and all of a sudden we were surrounded by all these Sumo-type guys who were about to kick everybody’s ass and kick them out (laughs). And it was funny, because here comes Frankie trying to get his backpack off, and all the guys are like a fraction of the size. But for that light bulb, and to keep the peace and no one getting hurt, I think I wrote a check that night for $1000, or ringed it up on his card. For a light bulb—that’s it.”

Watch Dimevision 2, and you can see how some of this stuff would cause a few checks to get written, but most of it is just heavy drinking and its effects on those that get handed a Black Tooth Grin from a grinning Dime. Like the naked guy swinging a pole around, for instance.

“He was our lawn guy,” laughs Haney. “Yeah, he just happened to still be there when a birthday party got... kind of moved to our house and he should’ve already been home (laughs). And yeah, it just kind of escalated.”

And of course this is a different lawn worker that Dime cajoles on his property one morning while he’s manning the leaf blower, forcing the guy to blast back a tumbler of hard stuff.

(Photo by: Joe Giron)

“Yes, a different guy,” clarifies Rita. “That was actually a different lawn company. That was a lawn company that we had prior to, and they pretty much killed all of our lawn and they just kinda mowed the dirt. So we finally clipped them and got 23 in there, so... that’s probably my favourite part there, with 23 and the song ‘True,’ just because I can’t quit laughing at it. It’s got that Keystone Kops effect, and it’s a pretty hilarious full frontal (laughs).”

Throughout all this, through the welling up of some great memories, there’s healing going on. Vinnie worked closely on Dimevision 2, so all is good there, but a contentious bunch of years with Phil, well, that’s getting put in the rear-view mirror.

Reflects Rita, “Yeah, you know, all of us used to live in the same apartment complex. I mean, Vinnie and Darrell didn’t, but they just lived down the street from where all of us lived. And Phil was just a few doors down from me, and Rex was across, in the other apartment complex, and several of our friends lived there. So there was a good 20 of us in the units there, so we just had a good all time, partied a lot. You know, Philip is really a funny guy too. As far as cracking up jokes and things like that. And I know that the last time that I saw him, there was more of that with him now. He’s back to being himself and being the Philip that I know and love. The Philip I know Darrell knew and loved. And he is, I know this last run, he wasn’t drinking at all, he’s working out. He’s lost a lot of weight. He looks really great, really healthy, really clear-minded and focused. And I’m glad because that man has... he’s risen from some pretty terrible ashes at times. But I’ve got faith in him, so...”

Asked what Pantera’s legacy is, the band beyond Dime, Rita figures, “They kept metal strong in the ‘90s. Bands had stopped putting guitar solos in their music. There were so many young bands out there, and of course you had grunge. They just stayed true to it, you know? They just stayed heavy. And I hear a lot of musicians, even today and through the 2000s and so forth, I still hear that Pantera influence. Plus I have a lot of other artists tell me exactly what Darrell’s music meant to them, and seeing them live, or not being able to see them. The way that fans have embraced me, and the love that they have for him, and being able to go out on the road and do merch and stuff during the festivals—you know, we go all summer and all fall—and without them, I don’t think I would be here to climb out of the bed. They were the best therapy in the world, as far as sharing what it meant to them. It’s just incredible.”

For advance orders with all manner of option, depending on your level of Dime fandom, see Pledge Music. Otherwise, the set is out, along with vinyl and CD (there are five tracks of Dime home demos!) on Black Friday, November 24th, through Metal Blade Records.

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