"Vulgar Display Of Power" a book by Chris A. will be released on 14th April and this title is possibly the most important book about rock and heavy metal to ever be written. It is the true story of the events that took place that fateful night December 8 2004 when we lost the great Darrell Abbott along with three courageous individuals at the Alrosa Villa. This book will answer all your questions as well as tell you the bravery of three men who would give their lives to save the lives of all attending the concert. As the book relates, Abbott, formerly of the heavy metal band Pantera, was performing with his new band Damageplan in Columbus, Ohio, when 30 seconds into the opening song, a deranged schizophrenic broke into the club, bypassing the public entrance to access the stage, produced a 9mm pistol and fired three point-blank shots, killing the guitar player and later those who tried to save him. Of the victims who lost their lives at the Alrosa Villa incident, Nathan Bray is the only one survived by a wife and child. At the request of the victimís families, a portion of all proceeds from "A Vulgar Display Of Power", will benefit the Anthony Bray scholarship fund, set up for Nathanís son. An interview with the author was offered to me for www.rockunited and I gladly accepted.

What were your reasons for writing this book?

Chris: First and foremost, I am a rock fan and when I heard that Dimebag had been murdered, like much of the heavy metal music world, I was simply stunned. However, when the media started to report that the motive was the break-up of Pantera, I simply did not buy it. Who kills someone because a band breaks up? Then there was the issue of "the three other guys" who died that night. It only took a couple of weeks for the mediaís attention to focus almost exclusively on Dimebag and to forget about any of the other victims. Thatís to be expected in todayís celebrity-mad media. However, I wanted to know what happened to these guys, I wanted to know how they died. I mean, were they just dudes in the audience or what? I heard snippets that gave me the impression that these guys did something pretty damn courageous. I wanted to know more and I figured others did too. Consequently, I got to know Erin Halk, Nate Bray and Jeff Thompson. With that, what really has kept me going were the family members. I have seen the pride in their eyes as they talk about their loved ones and THEY WANT YOU TO KNOW THEIR STORY! The families of the victims are thrilled and excited that people care, and want to know about their loved ones and their courage. Once I got started I realised there was no stopping. This story needed to be told.

So, what is it an "easyí job to write this book?

Chris: This was an enormously complex, difficult and emotionally-draining project that consumed nearly a year and a half of my life! I did it on my own, with no backing, no promise of financing, not anyone helping me financially or administratively. I assure you, this is not the kind of project that someone takes on for money. Anyone who understands the concept of a labour of love will understand my motives, and the motives of the publisher and editors. If I wanted to simply make money, I would have slapped some piece of crap together in a couple of months and published it. I chose a different route; I decided to try to do it as "right" and "by the numbers" as I could.

How was your working process? Where and how did you do your research and with which persons involved did you talk?

Chris: I pretty much let the book take its own form. My first interview was with the mother of the killer. Six emotional, very stressful hours trying to learn about what motivated this guy and what prompted him to take the horrific action he did. I subsequently spent dozens more hours with her sifting through his writings and properly looking for "clues". I also felt the support of the Halk, Bray and Thompson families was absolutely essential to writing this book. I (the author) felt that it was important to work directly with the next of kin in order to understand fully each of their loved ones. I met Erin Halkís mother and sister at their home outside Pittsburgh, Karl Bray, the widow of Nathan Bray, and I met at my office near Dayton, and I drove to Newport, Arkansas to sit at the table and share time and these fine people and have kept them up to speed on the status of the book, as well as the reaction to it. Of course, these family members pointed me in the direction of other relatives, friends, employers, co-workers and many more people to add to the story. I spoke to a lot of folks about these heroes and their lives. Not only has the cooperation from the families of the victims been absolutely heart-warming, but Iíve formed lifelong friendships as a result. Here are some quotes from the family members about me and the book: "Everything youíve done has been first class. I am proud of my brother. And I thank you for not letting his story get lost among such a tragedy; much love." (Seth Thompson) Kerri Bray, widow of Nate Bray, said: "I am confident that the stories of these men have landed in good hands."

What is your target group for this book?

Chris: (Great questions you ask me, by the way) The answer may surprise you. This book should appeal to almost anyone. Itís not just a "heavy metal" book, nor is it just a true-crime book. It is a very moving true story and in some respects itís a very inspirational story about good versus evil.

What happened to the killer by the way?

Chris: The killer was killed by a Columbus police officer named James Wiggemeyer.

What were the motives of the killer actually?

Chris: Very deep, disturbing motivesÖ.. Youíll have to read the book, dude, ha ha haÖ.

Did the shooting accident have an impact on the music scene in the USA?

Chris: The loss of Dimebag was a tragedy and the void he left behind is very big. Factually this was a very extreme event and very off the wall. Consequently from a security standpoint or venue management perspective not much has changed.

Is there a relation between metal music and violence, remember the Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest trials...

Chris: I know what you mean... I personally reject any notion that metal music breeds or contributes to violence. As I write in the book, people who love to rock live vicariously through the music. We donít act it out. Angst, horror, sadness and death are not simply the domain of heavy metal music. Since the beginning of time the realities of life have been expressed in art and literature. All one has to do is read, watch or listen to some of the best works of Shakespeare, Spielberg or Wagner to know that metal does not have exclusive rights to violence and horror.

What are your expectations regarding this book?

Chris: I think the story will touch them, but I hope that it will also move and inspire them; it is honestly not the message that everyone seems to think I want readers to walk away with. Yes, there are parts of the story that are graphic and disturbing,. However, bear in mind, Iím writing about an actual event, this is a true story and to "dumb it down" or even to soften it, is in disservice to my readersí intelligence and to the heroism of those we lost. I am confident that everyone who reads this book will close its final pages in awe of the fact that even in the midst of chaos there are still unsung heroes who are killing to put everything on the line.

Thank you for this interview!

Chris: You are very welcome; please let me know if you have any further questions!

Interview by Martien Koolen,

Published 23 March 2007
(c) 2007