While the majority of acclaimed hard rock guitarists of the early '90s focused primarily on songwriting rather than shredding away, there were a few exceptions to the rule, like Pantera's Dimebag Darrell. Born Darrell Lance Abbott on August 20, 1966 in Dallas, Texas, Darrell was born into a musical family, as his father, Jerry Abbott, was a country & western songwriter and producer. It wasn't long before Darrell became more interested in hard rock/heavy metal, especially upon his discovery of the masked quartet Kiss, and their guitarist, Ace Frehley. Darrell soon became serious about guitar playing, and he entered in local guitar talent competitions, which resulted in his winning an instrument that he would eventually become closely associated with, the Dean ML (a cross between a Flying V and an Explorer). By the early '80s, Darrell (who was going by the name Diamond Darrell), had co-formed Pantera, along with his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul and bassist Rex Smith (then known as Rex Rocker). Although the band would one day become one of metal's leading forces, Pantera early on reflected their influences at the time, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, and (visually), Mötley Crüe. With singer Terry Glaze fronting the band, Pantera issued a trio of albums that the group would latter 'disown' -- 1983's Metal Magic, 1984's Projects in the Jungle, and 1985's I Am the Night -- before Glaze exited.