The Musings of

Something full of magic, religion, bullsh*t.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


There's this guy called Mayhem who worked for years as a bouncer at several places in my neighborhood. If you ever saw him, you would instantly know why they called him "Mayhem": He was about 6'5", weighed about 350 lbs, and looked like the meanest biker sent over from Central Casting. He had long hair and a beard that he kept braided. Dude, nobody messed with Mayhem.

I never knew him that well. When he was working, he was downright surly, but if you ran into him while he was off the guy was damn-near friendly. I remember one night he had a couple of beers with me at a bar. We talked about his affinity for wearing kilts (if you're that big, you can wear one and expect exactly no shit), and the weight he had lost on his diet (something like 80 lbs).

I also remember a story he told me about hanging out with Ken "The World's Most Dangerous Man" Shamrock. It seems the two of them were at an outdoor concert a few years ago, when somebody hit Shamrock in the back of the head with a bottle. Now, I cannot stress how big a mistake it would be to toss a bottle at the head of Ken Shamrock, but it seems that, accidentally or not, someone actually did it. According to Mayhem, Shamrock whipped around to go after the soon-to-be-dead hurler, and Mayhem instinctively grabbed Shamrock across the body to stop him. Shamrock turned around and Mayhem fully expected to be taken apart, but Shamrock stopped in mid punch realizing what he was doing. The thing I remember thinking is how weird it was to hear a monstrous individual talk about having his butt kicked. It drove home the fact that, no matter how tough you are, there is always someone tougher.

Mayhem has been on my mind quite a bit lately. You see, he was killed last week. I'm sure you saw the story, but you probably didn't even hear his real name -- Jeff Thompson -- mentioned for 2 reasons: (1) the police didn't release it quickly because they were unable to contact his next of kin and (2) he was killed in an attack on a semi-famous individual, "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, formerly guitarist for Pantera.

I know several people who knew Dimebag, and they have nothing but good things to say about the guy. He was an amazing guitarist with an unbelievable memory for names who loved hanging out with friends and fans alike. What has bothered some of these friends is that in the chaos surrounding the shooting, Mayhem's death has become an afterthought, and his heroic deeds have gone unsung. To right that record, the following was taken from eyewitness accounts (written by Karl Kuenning) of what happened that night [Warning -- the following is a bit graphic]:

Tubbs was stage left and watched the entire surreal event unfold just a few feet in front of him. He says he was probably the last person to talk to Dimebag having said something to him as he entered the stage. As the monitor guy for this gig, his mixing console was only about 5 or 6 feet away from the lead guitarist. According to Tubbs, the shooter (Nathan Gale) entered the stage from the stage right area (not from the audience as previously reported) As Gale determinedly ran towards Dimebag the stage right roadie "Stoney" ran after him. "Mayhem" saw Gale and converged on him from stage left. Neither one got to center stage fast enough. Gale fired at least five bullets at point blank range into the doomed artist's body. The final bullet was a fatal head shot fired as he went down. "He was dead before he hit the stage", says Tubbs. "The way the attack happened, nothing could have saved him...nothing," He also remembers the feedback (a droning hum at about 600 Hz, notes the trained ear of the audio tech)

The next few minutes were confused, but this is what else Tubbs remembers.

As Dimebag hit the floor the shooter now turned his attention to Tubbs (still only about five feet away). Gale raised the gun and aimed it at Tubbs who was now literally looking down the barrel of the gun. However, before he could shoot Tubbs, the two Roadies ("Stoney" and "Mayhem") tackled Gale from opposite sides. Neither one had a weapon, and both were putting their own lives at risk to try to stop the shooter from killing anyone else. Erin "Stoney" Halk was an ex-Marine and Jeffrey "Mayhem" Thompson was a massive 6'1'' man [Ed.-- try at least 6'5"] and a very scary looking dude, so I'm sure they both thought they had a better than even chance to disarm the gunman. They were wrong. We now know that Nathan Gale was also a trained ex-Marine and he dropped his first empty clip and slapped another one in the semi-automatic 9 mm pistol in the blink of an eye. He killed both of these heroes within seconds of his first victim. Gale had at least five clips of bullets and he reloaded at least once, but probably twice, says Tubbs. As "Stoney" and "Mayhem" died making the ultimate sacrifice, two more roadies and several members of the audience also rose to the occasion and stormed the stage. Chris Paluska (the DamagePlan Tour Manager) took a shot to the stomach, and is still in serious condition in a local hospital (according to the most recent report). John "Kat" Brooks (the band's drum roadie) also took a hit (but thankfully has now been released from the hospital). According to Tubbs, both were definitely trying to subdue Gale.
I'll always remember Mayhem as a hero, and now maybe you will too.

Centinel 3:35 PM #


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