PANTERA DRUMMER VINNIE PAUL TO BE BURIED IN KISS CASKET ... Just Like Brother Darrell
According to TMZ, Vinnie Paul Abbott will be buried in a custom "Kiss Kasket" provided by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. The casket was offered as a gift at Vinnie's family's request. Vinnie will also be laid to rest in some of his clothes, including his hat, shoes and flannel. (See pictures at TMZ.)
The former PANTERA drummer's brother, "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott was buried in the original KISS casket prototype in 2004 after his untimely death. The coffin featured the faces of the four founding members of KISS, the KISS logo and the words "Kiss Forever".
Darrell was a huge KISS fan and even had a tattoo of original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley on his chest. In addition, Darrell had Frehley autograph it and had that tattooed to his body as well.
Simmons announced he was giving Dimebag's family the coffin during a December 2004 appearance on Fox News' "The Big Story Weekend Edition With Rita Cosby" a couple of days after the guitarist's death. Simmons told Cosby: "Well, I wasn't really prepared to talk about it, but the family requested, as a personal issue between the family and the grieving people who are going to be there, to send a Kiss Kasket. We initially did it as a promotion. And you know, I think it meant a lot to Darrell when, you know — when he was alive, he gave lots of people great joy. I mean he had the band tattooed onto his chest. He was a major figure in rock and roll. He's going to be greatly missed. And the family wish — you know the one last wish they had was that he be buried in a Kiss Kasket. And I think it's a private matter for the family and the fans, actually."
In a 2015 interview with The Washington Times, Vinnie Paul was asked if had a favorite rock 'n' roll memory. He responded: "PANTERA was the opening band on the KISS reunion tour in 1997, with all the original members. We toured with them in South America. We did three nights in Mexico City, then we had a flight on my birthday, which is March 11, and we were on a flight from Mexico City to Santiago, Chile. KISS was in first class, and we were in business class. Halfway through the flight, all four of the original members of KISS came back to me and sang 'Happy Birthday' in four-part harmony. They gave me a 'Kisstory' book. I felt like a 14-year-old kid. I had tears coming out of my eyes." He added: "They took us under their wing, really liked us, and it was a great tour."
A public memorial for Vinnie Paul will be held this Sunday, July 1, at Bomb Factory in Dallas, Texas. Fans interested in attending "Vinnie Paul: A Public Celebration Of Life" must receive a wristband to enter the Bomb Factory. The line for wristbands will begin at noon outside the venue prior to the 3:33 p.m. memorial. The event announcement notes: "There are no advance tickets, lines or lists."
The musician's funeral will be held on Saturday, June 30, with the private service also scheduled to begin at 3:33 p.m. Following the services on Saturday and Sunday, Vinnie will be buried alongside his mother and brother.
Vinnie passed away on Friday (June 22) at his home in Las Vegas at the age of 54. The drummer's death "did not appear suspicious," according to the official report of the event recorded by Metropolitan Police officers. Sources close to Vinnie told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he suffered a "major heart attack," but that information has not been corroborated yet by an official source.
Vinnie had reportedly finished laying down drum tracks for the next HELLYEAH album, although there is no word yet on when or if that LP will see the light of day.