Vincent Paul Abbott, Co-Founder And Drummer Of The Legendary Arlington-Sprung Metal Act Pantera, Is Dead At 54 Years Old.

Vincent Paul Abbott, who was widely regarded as one of metal music’s friendliest personalities, is dead.

The drummer and proud Arlington native, who co-founded the legendary Pantera at just 17 years old, was 54 when he passed. His death was announced late on Friday through the Pantera Facebook page, and confirmed by Billboard. Neither of those outlets provided any additional details, although the Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that Abbott was in Las Vegas, where he maintained a second home, at the time of his death. The Review-Journal report also cites sources close to Paul that say he “suffered a major heart attack.”

Abbott, known to most as “Vinnie Paul,” formed the iconic Pantera in Arlington in 1981 alongside his younger brother, guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott. After starting out as a glam metal band, Pantera hit its stride in the ’90s after it welcomed vocalist Phil Anselmo into its fold and shifted toward a new, highly produced, punishing and hugely influential “groove metal” sound. On the backs of Vinnie Paul’s driving drums and Dimebag Darrell’s incendiary guitars, the band’s back-to-back-to-back releases of 1990’s Cowboys From Hell, 1992’s Vulgar Display of Power and 1994’s Far Beyond Driven still stands as one of the metal genre’s most impressive three-album runs of all time.

Following Pantera’s dissolution in 2003, the Abbott brothers would go on to form Damageplan, whose run would end in tragedy as Dimebag Darrell was killed on stage during a mid-performance shooting on December 8, 2004, at the Columbus, Ohio, venue Alrosa Villa. Two years after his brother’s death, Vinnie Paul would join the band Hellyeah, with which he would remain an active member up until his own passing. Earlier this year, Hellyeah announced that it was in the process of wrapping up its sixth studio LP.

Known as a legendary party animal and for his love of cooking, Abbott was a revered figure in the metal world — a fact evidenced by the number of tributes shared across social media by Abbott’s famous contemporaries since the news of his death first broke. Alice Cooper, Billy Idol, Slash, Paul Stanley, Dave Mustaine, Vince Neil, Brett Michaels, Travis Barker, Zakk Wylde and Duff McKagan are among the many to have already publicly mourned Abbott’s passing.

Abbott’s influence was known all across his native North Texas, too. It was never altogether surprising to spot Abbott checking out a show at some of Deep Ellum’s more heavy music-loving venues like Trees, Curtain Club or Reno’s Chop Shop Saloon. He was also a fixture for years at the Ice House bar located inside the gates of the Fair Park amphitheater Starplex, where he could be regularly seen hamming it up with friends and throwing back some of his family’s famous Black Tooth Grin shots.

His affection for live entertainment also extended beyond music, as the drummer was a fixture at the regional comedy club chain Hyena’s. He also owned The Clubhouse, an appropriately metal- and music-themed gentlemen’s club that also hosts concerts from time to time, features gold record plaques (for his and his friends’ bands) on its walls, and offers cover charge discounts to people who show up with ticket stubs showing that they attended a live music performance somewhere in the region earlier in the night.

Abbott was also famous for this love of the Dallas Stars, for whom Pantera wrote the team goal horn track “Puck Off!” as the hockey team was en route to winning its first Stanley Cup in 1999.

He was boisterous and gregarious, and he always somehow lived up to the reputation that preceded him everywhere he went. As a musician, he built an unquestioned legacy and amassed millions of fans. As a person, he made friends everywhere he went.

A giant in music and in North Texas, Abbott will be missed.

Cover photo via Pantera’s Facebook page.

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