Gear Spotlight - Dunlop Crybaby From Hell

 16 years ago, December of 2003, I was a 14 year old kid with only hopes and dreams to once play in a band and go on tour.  I had heard that Dimebag Darrel was doing an autograph signing at Sam Ash in Carle Place, NY. Of course being a huge Pantera fan, I HAD to go. Showing up at about 11am, my Dad and I waited outside in the freezing cold for almost 8 hours. Finally a black limo shows up and out steps Dime, sporting his BLS vest and Camo shorts. As I patiently waited, I hear screaming coming from inside. The first kid on line was given a Crybaby from Hell. Obviously I was a little jealous but I was happy for him. As the two kids in front of me (Who ended becoming lifelong friends) walk up to dime, my excitement level went through the roof. I was next. 

   Dime called me over and I was a nervous wreck. Here's this dude who I look up to, welcoming me and shooting the shit with me. At this point, I gave him my guitar and he says "Man, I'm gunna have to sign between my two best friends". I had previously had my guitar signed by Zakk Wylde and Kerry King. He signed right behind the bridge on my Warlock. My mouth was fumbling at the words "thank you", but he got the point. Dime then looked at me and asked "You play guitar, man?". Again fumbling at my words I say "yeah I've been playing for about 4 years"... Without hesitation, my dad, in true Big Tim fashion, said "Yeah and I've been paying for lessons for 4 years! Hah". 

       Holy shit, did my dad just say that?! I was so embarrassed. Dime looked at my dad and said "Oh yeah? Well you don't gotta pay for this!" And he reached for a pedal. He opened the box, and it was empty. My face went blank. He threw the box behind him and grabbed another. This time it was full. A brand new Dunlop Crybaby From Hell still in the plastic wrapping. Dime then opened it, signed it "Tim - Ripp On - Dimebag", and screamed "Getcha' Pull, Merry Christmas!" He also signed a poster also that said "To Tim, Merry XXX-Mas - Dime" My face was so red from being in shock. I was ecstatic. Dime gave me a fucking Christmas present. What the hell is going on?! 
          As I said goodbye and thank you. We walked over to my new found friends who I waited on line with for all those hours. And as if there was no possible way to ruin my fucking night, the manager came over and walked us to the register. He uttered the words "are you going to be paying with cash or card?"..... The look on our faces was just utter shock. At that point, my father and I were super broke. My dad worked his ass off to support me and all of the shit I loved doing. But there was no way in hell I could afford that pedal. Dime noticed what was going on and stopped the line. I saw him whisper to one of his security guards. This dude was massive. He walked over and started yelling at the manager. While he was screaming he said "Dime would buy this whole fucking store before this kid had to pay for that pedal." He put it back in the box, shoved it straight into my chest,  walked my dad and I to the door and said "have a nice night guys."

        Little did I know, that day would help shape me who I am as a musician. How he treated fans was something that I respected and I try to do my best to act the same. Without the friends and fans that support our bands, we wouldn't be where we are today. Until next time..