Phil Anselmo Explains Why Dimebag Darrel Was the Greatest: 'He Had This Thing Called Soul'

"Yngwie Malmsteen doesn't have the soul Dimebag had," the singer explains.

Ultimate Guitar

Former Pantera singer Phil Anselmo recently opened up about his late bandmate Dimebag Darrell, naming reasons why he's the greatest metal guitarist of all time.

During a chat with Loudwire, Anselmo named Dime's soulful playing as a crucial aspect of his greatness, basically calling him miles ahead of neo-classical titan Yngwie Malmsteen.

"He lived it, he breathed it, he meant every f--king second of it and he could do it all," the fronman kicked off. "He had taste, he had a heart, he had this thing called soul - and I'm from New Orleans Jack. When you make a note wiggle, with beautiful vibrato - he had all that."

Phil continued, "Then he had that damn whammy bar which at the time might have been considered 'hackney' and somehow he brought it back to life and made it do different things. He could make his guitar talk. He brought this thing called indifferent type of heavy tone as well. He was very responsible for tone - very particular, fought-for for a long time, not happy for the longest time."

After praising the rest of Pantera as the tightest group of musicians he's ever played with and sharing a few interesting behind-the-scene stories about Dimebag, Anselmo once again focused on the axeman's playing.

"My point is, no matter how hungover, no matter what he did, somehow when he would get on that f--king stage it would click and he would be a machine," Phil said. "And he could fly actually - and not miss a note. I've seen his headstock broken off - not missing a note - I've seen him sh-t onstage in a bucket and hold his guitar while he was doing it."

Finally, Phil returned to the soul aspect. "There's different types of guitar players. OK, there's Yngwie Malmsteens out there - great, good for him. Does he have the soul Dimebag had? Nope. I mean not even close. I don't give a flying f--k about sweeps - that's boring bullsh-t for 'guitar nerds.' [burp] I prefer a motherf--ker with soul, heart and goddamn muscle. And passion! Motherf--ker had it all," he concluded.

Anselmo's unique vibe is hard to transfer through text, so we recommend checking out the video below to get the full grasp. And do you agree with Phil on this one - do you prefer Dime over Yngwie? Let us know in the comments.

YouTube preview picture

78 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Why couldnt Phil express this stuff while Dime was still alive and the band was still together. Things might have ended up signifigantly different.
    I doubt he had the same clarity back then. He has matured a lot over the years.
    yeah, like "shit **** mother****ing bullshit****ing lobster **** (spews in the face of the FUCKING interviewer)"
    "I've seen him sh-t onstage in a bucket and hold his guitar while he was doing it." wut?._.
    Lol, I remember Dime mentioning that in a Guitar World interview years ago. They asked him what his shittiest gig was and he said that he had never played a bad show, but once he had diarrhea and had to get a roadie to rush him a bucket onstage and that was his "shittiest" gig!
    Ha, I love that they added in the "[burp]". Cool interview, by the way. I wouldn't necessarily call Yngwie's playing "soulless", but I personally prefer Dimebag.
    So arpeggios are for nerds? That's all a freaking sweep is. What a biased load of shit. I love Dimebag as much as the next guy, but there's no need to bash another guitarist like Ynqwie. And all that "soul" bullshit has gotten to everyone's heads. You're not entitled to label something as soulful just because you like it and you think it's better than other styles, that's being an elitist douche. Everyone is emotionally moved by different styles of guitar playing, and you're not making any reasonable point by labeling something as soulful, considering that can't even be tangibly measured.
    You're not entitled to label something as soulful just because you like it and you think it's better than other styles, that's being an elitist douche. well, Phil always seemed like an elitist douche, so i guess that makes sense.
    cut the bullshit, yngwie is nothing but a show off.
    He absolutrly is. Ill never argue that. Like one of my other comments somewhere on this article says, his guitar is like his mouth. He doesnt know when to shut up. But Phil has alwys come across as a douche too. Although i prefer his to YM any day of the week
    I think this is an interesting one because I think that playing an unnecessary amount of notes (as Yngwie can do)doesn't always create the most pleasing sound, but saying that soulful (im guessing this means lots of vibrato and use of spacing and timing) categorically is better just isn't true, there are lots of examples of when it does achieve a pleasing effect like Chris Broderick, Animals as leaders (Tosin Abasi), Paul Gilbert, Guthrie Govan just to name a few all of which manage to convey emotion and create interesting melodies through the use of shred guitar.
    There's different types of guitar players. OK, there's Yngwie Malmsteens out there - great, good for him. Does he have the soul Dimebag had? Nope. I mean not even close. I don't give a flying f--k about sweeps - that's boring bullsh-t for 'guitar nerds.' [burp] I prefer a motherf--ker with soul, heart and goddamn muscle. And passion! Motherf--ker had it all," he concluded. finally. somebody who recognizes soul. not, LOOK AT THIS SWEEP I JUST DID!
    What do you mean "finally"? Malmsteen is criticised constantly for his overly technical, "soulless" playing. The ironic thing is it's actually because his playing was enjoyed by enough people to get noticed, while the shredders who have the same problem but far worse are left alone because nobody listens to their music.
    "Finally"? He's just one more to jump on the majority-driven bandwagon dumping on fast, "soulless" players. It's not bold and groundbreaking to put down highly technical players these days, it's fashionable. It's unfortunate because those of you who can't enjoy the soul and feeling in the composition of fast, technical music (nothing wrong with that) are causing those who can and might like it to write it off as exactly what you say it is.
    Sweep players/shredders suck (IMO) because they seem to be the most limited musicians around. It's just constant self-indulgent wanking, so effin' cheesy it makes me lactose intolerant. Thought it was cool when I was like 14, but then I realised music is not about who can play the most notes in quick succession. Dime > Yngwie any day of the week.
    Being able to sweep doesn't make you a limited musician. That's beyond stupid.
    I agree with what he said about Dime, but this whole "Yngwie Malmsteen is just a boring, emotionless shredder" thing is one of the most unjust and stupid things in metal IMO. I can't believe so many people still have that immature mindset, most of them without even giving Yngwie's music a good listen.
    exactly, there are so many valid reasons to detest him and his music, citing soullessness is such a cop out.
    My Last Words
    'I don't give a flying f--k about sweeps - that's boring bullsh-t for guitar nerds.' Phil, I am dissapoint.
    Honestly. If you don't like the sound of sweeps, fine. But bashing people simply for knowing how to do something, especially something that difficult? That's just stupid.
    You telling me what I should and shouldn't care about in music is wrong on so many levels. Also, turn off the caps.
    In other news, Ynwie Malmsteen surprised and grateful to have been mentioned by anyone at all, even if it was to level that tired old "no-soul" charge yet again.
    I am so happy that I had the privilege of seeing Pantera in 96 during their Great Southern Trendkill tour. White Zombie opened. What a great concert. Dime was incredible.
    Dimebag wasn't a bad player or anything, but saying Yngwie has no soul because he plays fast is just stupid. I personally didn't mind Dime's playing, but I'd much rather listen to Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, or Jeff Loomis's playing than Dime's. They're all miles ahead of Dime, and I think they've got more soul than he did, but that's just because that's what I can feel.
    Blue is definitely one of YM's better songs if you ask me, but i doubt he ever heard "sometimes its the notes you DONT play." his guitar is like his mouth. it never shuts up.
    Exactly... Yngwie's obviously a great guitar player. Unbelievable in fact, but I rarely listen to him. He has good melodies in his solos. Blue has great melodies, but he ruins a lot of them by tremolo picking everything and adding pointless sweep picking runs that to me just sound like he's showing off. You said it, it's sometimes in the notes you don't play. I'll take BB King playing 5 notes any day. Playing guitar, to me, isn't about showing off, and it seems that's all Yngwie likes to do.
    he probably was unhappy with his tone because it actually sucked.
    link no1
    Dime's guitar tone was one of the most recognizable and unique guitar tones out there. The tone he had on his guitar was fantastic.
    Dime was an incredible guitarist, but his tone was not good, it was awful, it was recognizable because no one else sounded like it, and there was a reason for that.
    I can't help myself, every Dimebag tone I heard sounded like a cheap distortion pedal.
    nope. his tone was awful IMO. sounded like all highs and lows, no mids, no body. no SOUL (see what i did there). it sounded as though he was constantly playing through a boss metalzone. (i never could find a good tone on that thing)
    By itself it might not be the greatest tone but with the overall mix of the band it is a very strong unique and interesting tone. And if you cant get a good tone out of the boss metalzone you must have a shit guitar, amp, or no clue how to use it
    Also too^ to comment on my post above, im sure Marty Friedman doesnt have ANY soul in his guitar playing. No offense to dimefans, but there are a handful of guitarist I can name that have more soul and are more technical. I mean for **** sakes dimebags idol was Randy Rhoads, and tbh he RARLEY ever played any of his style..
    Malmsteen didn't have the "soul" he had the "Mojo, yeah baby yeah!!"
    I can't agree with Phil here. I think people who imitate and don't create their own shit is with out soul. If he want's to talk about vibrato Yngwie has that sick ass wide vibrato that has plenty of soul.
    Tiago Sa
    People, it's Phil Anselmo. What does he actually KNOW about guitar playing? I'd wager very little. Now, he was Dime's bandmate and that makes his opinion relevant, but don't bash him because of it. He's an idiot, and he has every right to be one. Don't hate him because of it.
    No simply bending notes is not Soul. He is like comparing Pat Travers and Rick Deringer to Page or Hendrix? miles behind Vai, Morse and others who are ground breaking & multi layeredlike ohn Petrucci but Diamond riffed good in his little Pantera click will be forgotten in the long run. put down the pipe.
    God I wish the press would stop giving this guy interviews. Aside from being as deep as a puddle and dumb as a post, no one cares about anything he does now. Imagine being one of the guys in his current project and all he ever talks about is Pantera.
    I agree 100% with what Phil said. There is nothing else to add to this because Phil is right
    Unreal T
    malmsteen has feeling in his style of playing , I do not like to use the word "soul" because it makes no sense. The thing is Malmsteen was influenced by classical and baroque music etc. Dime probably never even listened to that. It doe snot make much sense to compare the two at all.
    Agreed. Neo-Classical (Malmsteen's brand of) music cannot invest as much 'soul' as other types; it's simply the nature or style of music (listen to Paganini, who influenced Malmsteen vs. the violin playing in Vivaldi's Four Seasons, which has more 'soul' if you wish). It's like saying metal does not have as much 'soul' as Soul music... e.g., Dimebag doesn't hold a candle to Marvin Gaye when it comes to soul, lol. No kidding. Each style brings forward what it has to offer and should not be compared in such light. Regardless, if you heard Malmsteen's pentatonic playing with the G3 you would be impressed; he takes blues to a different level and in a different way, but he does not integrate it much on his albums.
    I dont see any reason to bring Yngwie into this. His style may be very shredy and same-y but it is his own original sound and I think he plays with an incredible amount of soul. That is actually why I listen to him over many other "shredders". He doesn't go too far out of his box in most of his music but the way he makes the guitar scream and sing is more than enough for me. Not a comment directly about the article, I know, but I think Yngwie got caught in the crossfire here like he usually does and it's just not a good comparison.
    Not gonna lie, I'm not even huge into Pantera, but Phil is sorta growing on me.
    Yngwie plays with No soul?? B*t*h please Yngwie is a completely different Beast than DimeBag was don't get me wrong I love Dimebag..but you bashing Yngwie to fill your giant Ego give me a break UR just praising Dimebag now to get in the Good graces of Vinny Paul..If it wasn't for U Philip Dime would still be alive!!! Not playin g some shi**y night club in Ohio when he was Murdered..Yes YOU were the cause of PanterA breaking up not dimevinny or rex...YOU!!!
    Hope all you Metal elitists are wearing your chastity belts, cause if your aren't, your bunghole just got torn open. Blues in perpetuity!
    I'm sorry but the fire and passion yngwie has/had will always sound better to me than shrill squealing and thin lifeless tone, coupled with stupid lyrics childish lyrics about 'respect'. haters gonna hate. At least go listen to some blues for some soul and stop wanking on about metal.
    Malmsteen is one of the "shredders" who plays with a ton of soul.
    I take issue with the idea of soul in music. I feel like it's mostly just a buzzword to discredit artists you don't like and put the ones you do like on a weird, abstract pedestal. Take your favorite emotional performance and put it against an entirely different chord progression; I guarantee it won't seem so emotional afterwards. Evidence:
    lol, no, he doesn't.
    He plays from his heart and with a ton of passion. He isn't just sitting there noodling. Listen to the first Rising Force album. Sure the solos are "shred" but the guy plays from the gut.
    no that would be mr. jason becker. every yngwie song sounds the same with a ton of wankage and sweep
    Phil only stated that Yngwie didnt have "the soul of Dimebag Darrell" not that he didnt have soul. Nobody had the soul of Dime. He had his own spirit and soul. Personally I doubt that I will see another guitar player as great and distinct as Dime in my lifetime. I believe him to be the greatest guitarist ever and probably the greatest unrealizedpotential ever. I think he was just getting warmed up when he taken from this world. I know he had much more to share with the world of rock and he had only just begun .2 tap into his potential. He hands down favorite guitarist to watch and to listen to.
    Hoh as far as Phil being douchey, he is a bit of a douche but he was really hot and lent some seriously great vocals to Panteras music. I dont care if he a bit of a dbag since he still sexy as hell back in day. He has every right 2 be a bit arrogant considering the band he was in. Opinions are just that so if you dont agree, it just like *******s we all have our one of our own.
    He's saying that doing nothing but sweeping and trying to be as technical as possible doesn't sound good. Its great if you can do all of that stuff but it gets real old real fast.
    Too bad Vinnie Paul doesn't notice, that Phil seems to be a totally different guy than 10-15 years ago, he's matured, he constantly praises Dime etc. Vinnie Paul get your shit together man!
    so true... its just poured out of him when he played. sucks we'll never get to see him live again or his passion other than recordings. but least we have those.
    I feel like Dime had a great sense of melody in his solos, and I don't see many other people refer to it like that. They always chalk it up to soul or whatever.
    Anselmo seems to be in a good place, and that is worth the wait. We'll see Phil play with Vin and Rex in our lifetimes.
    Phil is right IMHO,Dime had finesse like no other with his timing and playing on guitar which had that real and organic feel to it,Music is a living thing if you think about it in the right context.Thats the thing though,every guitarist is different just as every listener is as well.Some people prefer the fast technical playing and get their jolly's off of it and find that Soul or mojo they love in it.I personaly dont care for Malmsteins playing,,,it feels to robotic and mechanical for my likeing,,just my 2 cents.
    ANYBODY who says Malmsteem plays without "soul" simply hasn't heard enough of his music. Yngwie is one of the greatest that ever played, period. His attitude has made him a villain, which is unfortunate. DIME was also great beyond words. Why does everything have to be a binary x vs y decision? OH BECAUSE METALHEADS ARE IGNORANT and filled with limitless anger and hate... FUCK YA WE ARE