OD – Dimevision 2 is coming out on November 24th and looks every bit as awesome as Dimevision, That’ The Fun I have in 2006. I have to ask about the process of going through all of the footage. That must be a very special and also at times upsetting process for you?
RITA – You’re totally right. At times it was really emotional and very heavy for me and Bobby (Tongs) also. When we got together for the first time and with Vinny (Paul) also, it was a really hard process for us all. There are so many moments in the footage that we literally had that lump in our throat’s and then Dime would do something and have us all in a laughing fit on the ground rollin’ around!
There were so many moments where we had tears rollin’ down our cheeks and then laughing uncontrollably. I wouldn’t change anything at all and am just so glad that I have this footage. We were coming across gems in the material with stuff that I shot which Bobby hadn’t seen and vice-versa. It’s like Dime was right here with us and we were experiencing something new with him and that was just a great feeling.
OD – When you were putting this together did you have the title in mind, as I know that he used that phrase “Roll With It Or Get Rolled Over” a lot when out on the road?
RITA – It kind of goes back to the first Dimevision with certain stuff that we just couldn’t fit on the disc. There’s literally so much footage still that we need to go through. We can’t use all of it at any one time but will be hopefully doing so down the line. It was a really hard process when it came to selecting the footage and deciding what clips were the best to use where etc.
When we started getting into Dime fucking around with fireworks and the all the other funny shit that he used to get up to, the expression ‘Roll With It Or Get Rolled Over‘ just seemed so perfect. That was something that he was saying for the last few years on the road and was the right title for this. Another thing that he used to say was ‘ it’s all about the high’s and low’s of rock n’ roll‘ and that’s most likely gonna be the title of the next Dimevision.
OD – Seeing this footage of Dime and all the people that he loved so much around him is a truly amazing gift for his fans. Did you have any hesitation about sharing the footage with the rest of the world, as I’m sure this is very personal to you?
RITA – There was no hesitation at all. If it wasn’t for Darrell, I wouldn’t have a video camera in my hands at all. He wanted to document all of this stuff and if he didn’t want anyone to see it, then I’m sure he wouldn’t have bothered shooting it. That was another thing about him that I’ve just remembered that sums up Darrell.
They [Pantera] were coming back from a string of dates in Japan and stopped off in Hawai for a show. So, all the girlfriends flew over to meet our dudes to stay in a beautiful hotel/resort for a week and I bought this really nice candle over there. It was a really fancy looking purple and white candle and one day I came home from work and Darrell had made dinner to surprise me and gave me this killer foot massage because I’de been working all day and I remember that the candle was burning and I was like “aw no, don’t burn the Hawai candle” and he just looked at me and said “hey man, what’s the purpose of buying something if you’re not gonna use it?” and he was right!
So, yeah! What’s the purpose of carrying around a video camera to film everything and not bother to use the footage? Plus, I want people to know him off-stage as well as being the guy that everybody was familiar with on stage. It’s important for me to show that side of him when he was off tour and just at home hanging out.
It’s just Darrell with no stage persona or showman stuff, do you know what I mean? He was exactly who he was all the time. This was the real ‘reality TV’! Darrell didn’t need anyone to script him a scenario, or tell him what to do to make his life interesting. He created these hilarious moments himself 24/7. He saw the funny side of life that was happening all the time around him and just grabbed the opportunities to have fun with it.
OD – You created ‘Roll with it or get Rolled Over’ with Daryl “Bobby Tongs” Arnberger (pictured below with Dime), I know that there was a very close bond between those guys. Did you feel that you kind of helped each other through the process of making this?
RITA – Yeah, Bobby lived on the road with those guys and had a real part in Darrell’s life. Bobby is my brother and always has been, long before we started working on this stuff. Darrell and Bobby were almost inseparable. They were best friends and stuck by each other through all kinds of stuff. Bobby is a really big part of my world and it’s been amazing for him to be there for me, as I’m sure I have for him, through this process and also ever since Darrell left us.
Working with Bobby on the Dimevision stuff in mine and Daryl’s own home in Arlington (the Fortress) made things even more magical. So many obscure things happened during the making of the movie, that was just too crazy to be by chance. We could really feel that Dime’s vibe was really there watching over us.
I remember one of the days during the production process, it was Valentines Day and they thought to doll me up just like Darrell would do with flowers and chocolates and it was just so awesome. Dimevision would not exist without Bobby and I could never do this project without him, as he’s my brother, who has helped me through it all.
OD – I’m sure there are moments that you hold very close to your heart with Darrell and by the looks of things, you both enjoyed life very much. You have very kindly given us the chance to see a different side to him via these documentaries. Would you say there is still more footage laying around for something else in the future and are you planning to work again with Bobby on the next installment?
RITA – Absolutely! We are a team and there’s no way that Dimevision would happen if both of us were not involved with it. That’s just set in stone and the only way that this can continue. Bobby was there with Darrell through everything and was a huge part of the filming of the Pantera home videos and knows that particular madness that surrounded the band. He is a huge part of all of this and without him, it would not exist. It’s that simple!
OD – Don’ you think it’s quite amazing how much Dime actually documented and how dedicated he was to logging not only the date etc but also how he was feeling at the time with his notes?
RITA – Yeah, he used to log everything down. I have loads of audio cassettes and notes in the bathroom of all places because we used to call him ‘the shithouse poet‘ (laughing). There were times he would wake up in the middle of the night and jump out of bed and I would ask him “What’s going on? What’s happened?” and he would be like “Nothing! I’ve just got a riff in my head!” and he would just run into the bathroom and start recording.
There are tonnes of these cassettes in boxes and sometimes when I get home from work, I’ll just grab one and put it on. None of those tapes are labeled, so I really never know what I’m going to get from day to day, which is really cool. I’ll just pop one in and think to myself “so, what you got for me today Dime” and in a strange kind of way, it’s like he’s still surprising me and he’s still around.
He was that kind of guy, he was a firm believer in making lists and writing things down. He was old-school in that way and I guess I’ve become that way also, as a result of it.
OD -Why do you think he was so committed to filming everything and was he always like that?
RITA – He had a way, what we call ‘Dimevision‘ of seeing things that most people could not see. Darrell was just so goddam hilarious and always found the funny side of things in life. The first time I ever met him was when I was eight years old and I pushed him off his bike (laughing). Even back then, there was just something really incredible about him. Something really special and different and I was totally drawn to that. He also made you think about things that you would normally never cross the mind of a normal person (laughing).
I’m just so thankful that I was lucky enough to have him in my life and learn from him, as well as share many wonderful and hilariously funny times together. I knew him for thirty years! We were both 38 years old when he was killed and that amount of time we had together is longer than most marriages today. Yeah, our plan was to always grow old together and be sitting on the porch just shooting the shit with each other and catching a nut with the people driving by (laughing).
I really like to think that Darrell got rewarded early in his life, due to all the love he brought to so many people. He was a very special and amazing person that was – and always be – one of a kind.
OD – The unreleased tracks that accompany the DVD is also a huge bonus. You have already mentioned that there any other tapes laying around with tracks that have never been heard by the general public, but exactly how much stuff is there?
RITA – Oh yeah, there’s a huge amount of stuff that is still buried since the day he recorded it. Darrell used to record everything. There’s loads of stuff from him just goofing off, like if he heard a particular song, he would then just recorded his own parody of it. A lot of the time he just recorded some stuff that was just for shit’s n’ giggles you know? He loved music in every possible way. He could have fun with it just as much as he respected it.
This stuff is not “lost Pantera tracks” or anything like that, some of it is just Dime having fun. There’s a song that we put on this new Dimevision. It’s a track called ‘True‘ which has these god-awful Casio keys on there, which make it sound like a carnival track (laughing). But the lyrics to the track and Dime’s pipes are just so amazing and that was recorded in late ’86!
I remember bartending at this disco/club place and at the time there was a track that I think George Michael had out at the time and Dime, was messing with that vibe on the track which you can totally hear. It’s crazy to think that it was so long ago.
OD – Do you think that people will get the wrong impression of these tracks because they aren’t the usual thing that Dime is associated with ie: Pantera or Damageplan?
RITA – I just want people to understand where this music is coming from you know? This is just Dime out having a good time and expressing himself in his most comfortable and honest way he can, which was through his music. So hopefully, they’ll understand that it’s not supposed to be a Pantera or Damageplan thing and it’s more of his real personality and what he was up to when he was off tour, just hanging out and having fun. I have faith that they will get it and with today’s social media and the legacy of Dime, I’m sure the fans will appreciate getting to know this other side of him.
OD – The press has had a field day with the stories linked to Dime, Phil, Rex, Vinny and Pantera as a whole. When looking back over everything that’s happened over the last twenty years it’s kind of hard to believe the way it all played out. Did you every hope that things would have resolved itself with all of the guys at any point?
RITA – It’s kind of like, the more people ‘tug’ at it, the more it makes it go the other way and if they just fucking left it alone, then who knows what could have happened? Don’t get me wrong, I’de love to see those guys (Phil, Vinny, and Rex) get up on stage and pay homage to Dime but as far as a Pantera reunion of sorts, it can never happen because it takes the magic of all of those four guys together. They’ve got to understand that all of those guys went through a lot, but at the end of the day, there’s just too much history to ignore.
Of course, there’s a lot of pain and hurt there and the way I look at it, those emotions would not exist if those people didn’t matter to each other. That’s the only way that someone can get at you and hurt you! It’s because there are still feelings there.
So, who really knows? Maybe they will never cross paths or speak ever again and just go on trying to enjoy living their life. But yeah, it would be amazing to see them play on stage again and get some of Dime’s friends like Kerry (King, Slayer) and Zakk (Wylde) and Phil (Demmel, Machine Head), that would be amazing to see.
OD – Regarding Dimebash, I’m sure getting all of those artists together on stage without any drama and working with a crazy amount of schedules is a tough job?
RITA – Every single one of those guys takes part in Dimebash off their own backs! They come so unselfishly and don’t look for any coin or anything like that. They gather just for the love of Darrell and don’t look for anything but to get up on stage and remember their friend in the best way possible. It blows me away every time!
I also think that they know that it’s also gonna be one hell of a party as we go at it hard, Dime-style! (laughing)
OD – Have you ever considered bringing Dimebash to Europe? Possibly to one of the festivals like Bloodstock?
RITA – It would be a blast if we could make that happen! I was thinking about this the other day. If we had some interest from the right people, we could get a Dimebash movement happening and hopefully get it over to Europe! I’de love to bring that to Bloodstock. Let’s see what happens!
OD – Of all the things that remind you of Dime, what is the most precious to you?
RITA – This may sound really morbid but when Vinny and Darrell’s Mom passed back in ’99, we had to go and pick out plots for the burial. I discovered at the time that if you pick out plots for someone before they pass away they give you a $500 discount (laughing)!
Anyway, I remember being there with Vinny, Darrell and some of the Pantera crew and when we were in the funeral home, we were just all laughing to tears and I’m sure the rest of the people were looking at us thinking “what’s wrong with those people“, but you just gotta find humor in the God-awful stuff to be able to live through it.
I remember the guy who was looking after the burial, was talking to the guys and he was asking them if they would like to be buried next to her, so that they could all be together and Vinny was like “Okay, yeah, I guess we’ll need two more” and Darrell said “No! We’ll need three! One for my chick!” and I was thinking “that is the most amazing, sweetest thing, that you would want me next to you when we pass“. To me, that was a great memory and one that I will always remember.
Please don’t get me wrong. Nobody’s perfect and yes, we sure had our tough times here and there, but I wouldn’t take anything back. Not for a second, because of where it took us and how we were together. Those last three years of us working together, with me doing all of his endorsements and stuff, that was the happiest that I know we had ever been together. We finally accomplished all of the bumps in the road that we hit and most other people would just give up and separate, but we just stuck together and conquered it.
It took him seven years before he ever told me that he loved me. All of the other couples around us were saying that to each other like “hey I’m going to the store, see you later, love you” but we just wanted to make sure that when we said it, it was a really big thing and although it was only said a couple of times a month, when it got said; we paid attention.
OD – Did you find that when the band’s popularity blew up and everybody wanted a piece of them, it was kind of a strange thing to witness, seeing as you were there from the start before anyone knew who Pantera was?
RITA – No, not really. Back in the day, everybody wanted to spend some time with him! We called it “Dimetime” and I just kind of got used to it (laughing). I remember way back when we would come into the club and there would just be so many people coming up to him wanting to hang out or whatever. All of sudden there would be two people between us, then five, then ten, and before I knew it, we would be across the room from each other holding court with whoever. Every now and again we would catch each other’s eye and he would point at the bar and we would meet there before it would all start over again.
We all knew that Pantera was his life and it had to come first. Sure, we played all of those little games that people do in their twenty’s, but you learn and you figure out that you have to fight for the person you want to be with.
OD – What about when you traveled with the band overseas and witnessed the level of dedicated fans that were all over the world?
RITA – Yeah, that was a real eye-opener. Being in another country and seeing the way people would react to the band was insane. Dime always included the people he loved in everything he did. I mean, the fans knew the roadcrew just as much as they knew the band members. Dime’s thoughts on this were “If I’m gonna be a rock star? Then so are you! (laughing) He shared everything.
I have so many fond memories of walking from the backstage area to the stage with him and the rest of the band. The energy was amazing. Just hearing Le Grange by ZZ TOP or whatever was playing and the sound of the crowd was enough to make me want to throw-up with the excitement. It was incredible!
OD – If Dime were still alive do you think that time would have been a healer and he and Phil would be on talking terms?
RITA – There is no doubt in my mind that if Dime was still with us, those guys [Pantera] would be on stage jammin’. I know how forgiving Darrell was and those guys would have resolved their issues. I personally know and have been in that hot seat with him, not to mention his relationship with his Dad, who he was estranged with for a period of his life, also all the stuff with Vinny over the years. If anyone was able to bring people back together and fix things is was Darrell. He was that type of person that would really get bothered if there was something not right and would have to get to the bottom of it to solve it, to make things better again.
So yeah, there’s no doubt in my mind that they would be talking again. Darrell had already taken steps to take Rex’s (Brown, Pantera bass) phone call on August 20th, 2004 (his birthday). He wasn’t happy with the way things were going with Damageplan already and in his heart, it was always Pantera, that’s all he knew and it was always going to be that way.
As far as Philip’s actions regarding getting away from the junk and the path that he took, I know that Darrell would have looked in his eyes and would have seen the Philip we know and love, despite all the chaos and controversy that comes with him. I’ve seen that man rise from some pretty difficult ashes in the past and I got a lot of faith in him. He’s still one of the best front-men out there.
Don’t get me wrong, Phil brings a lot of shit onto himself (laughing) but he certainly learns from experience. Personally, I think he has learned a lot. When I think back to the last few days of Pantera, that was not the Philip that I knew. I know that I can look into his eyes now and see the Philip that I knew from way back.
OD – Are you still in contact with Phil?
RITA – Yeah, I spoke to him just last week and I saw him a while back when they were doing a show in L.A at the Whiskey. I also keep in touch with Rex also and Vinney and I exchange emails every now and again.
OD – Would it be a correct assumption to suggest that you’re kind of like the Pantera mediator at this stage?
RITA – (laughing) You know what? We’ve bumped heads with each other on occasion and have not spoken for periods of time, like Vinny and myself. I can say that this year, I’m really happy with where I am with all of them. I respect that they want to live their lives and as I always say, “find their people“. Daryl is my person and I’m just thankful that I had the time I had to share with him.
Dimevision – Roll With It Or Get Rolled Over is out on November 24th via Metal Blade Records. Order your copy here.
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