“Dimebag” Darrell Abbott‘s longtime girlfriend Rita Haney was recently interviewed by the “Talk Toomey” podcast about a number of topics, including “Dimevision Vol. 2: Roll With It Or Get Rolled Over”, the DVD/CD set featuring video footage of the late PANTERA and DAMAGEPLAN guitarist captured between the mid-’80s and his later years.
On her comment in the VH1 “Behind the Music” episode about PANTERA where she said that she told former PANTERA singer Philip Anselmo that she would blow his face off if he showed up at Dimebag‘s memorial or funeral:
Rita: “It’s weird about the way that was kind of taken a little out of context. Basically, when [Philip] had called, he was talking about coming over to mine and Darrell‘s house right then at that moment. And Vinnie‘s [Paul Abbott, Dimebag‘s brother and former PANTERA drummer] plane had just landed and he was coming from the airport to the house from Ohio [where he had just witnessed his brother getting killed]. And what I had said was, ‘No. If you show up here…’ Well, he had said something really crappy to me on the phone and you could tell that he was in a fog, he totally was on dr*gs, he was not the Philip I know. And when he said to me, ‘Right things happen to right people,’ and I was, like, ‘What did you say?’ And he said that to me again. And that’s when I said, ‘If you show up here, I’ll blow your head off myself.’ And I was referring to my home. But, you know, they put it in there and made it sound like I said that about him coming to Darrell‘s funeral, and that’s really not where that was taken from. Because Vinnie made that decision [to not invite Philip to Darrell‘s funeral], and I respected that decision. [Vinnie] couldn’t be in that room with [Philip] at that time, and I understood that; I didn’t want to either. But, yeah, what I had to say and what they used in there was referring to him coming to our home. So… just to clear that up.
“As far as Philip and I go, a lot of times… there were things that were, I guess… blame that was laid on him that wasn’t his burden to carry. I still have resentments and we don’t agree on the way some things went. But I know now when I look in his eyes, it’s the Philip I know; it’s not the dr*g-induced and in some kind of weird her*in haze, or whatever you wanna call it… I don’t know. I’m not so familiar with that, because it wasn’t part of my world — you know what I mean? — as far as I never tried the drugs, so I couldn’t tell you what it does to you. But I saw what it did to him, and it made him a completely different person. So those two people are like two different people to me. But as far as I know how much he loves Darrell — yes. And, like I said, at the end of the day, we are all still family. But I still have some resentments and some things that I know he did that really hurt Darrell, but that’s between them. But I also know that the reason Darrell was hurt so bad was because of how much he loved Philip. You can’t feel that kind of pain unless someone really matters to you, and Philip matters. So… I just know. I’ve been in that hot seat with Darrell. I know his father, Vinnie has… And [Darrell is] just one of those people — he gets to the bottom of it; he resolves it, he doesn’t let stuff go when someone matters. And I’ve been forgiven. His father has. I just know that he would stand on stage next to [Philip again]. I know Darrell. [He was] the most forgiving person I’ve ever met.”
On whether a PANTERA reunion would have happened by now had Dimebag not been taken from us:
Rita: “Oh, yeah! I totally think so. I mean, [Darrell] had already made the effort to get on the phone with Rex [Brown, ex-PANTERA bassist] on his birthday, on August 20th, in 2004, and had made plans to speak with him again. So, yeah, definitely. Because I know how, in his heart, he was PANTERA — he always would be. No matter what it was called — DAMAGEPLAN or what — that was always what was inside of him. And I know the things that he was feeling when he came home. He felt he had something to prove. He didn’t wanna do those things with [DAMAGEPLAN frontman] Pat Lachman. Pat had already been causing issues and there were problems. I have several voice messages from [Darrell] that I still have of things that he left and was telling me about the things Pat was doing out there. And he was, like, ‘Man, I don’t wanna work with this dude. I wanna fire him. I just don’t want people to think we’re difficult to work with.’ I mean, that’s just how he felt. So, yeah, I definitely believe that they would be standing on stage together.”