If you’re a rock star, you should probably be extra careful on December 8, as it is a strangely cursed day on the calendar for professional musicians. Of course, it’s the day that John Lennon was shot to death by assassin Mark David Chapman, but it’s also a dark day in the metal community for two reasons. December 8 is also the day that former Pantera and Damageplan guitarist Darrell Abbot (known to the world as Dimebag Darrell) was killed on stage by an audience member with a gun during a concert in Columbus, Ohio, and it’s also the day that Mötley Crüe frontman Vince Neil crashed his car, killing passenger and Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley.
As the story goes, Hanoi Rocks had come from their native Finland to tour America, and most of the band spent the day partying with Neil at his home in Redondo Beach. Neil, Dingley and two other people got into Neil’s car to drive to a liquor store, but Neil was already drunk and lost control of the vehicle. The other two passengers suffered brain damage but Dingley was killed almost instantly. Neil (who survived the wreck without much damage) was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter and DUI. He ended up spending 15 days in jail, was put on probation for five years, did 200 hours of community service and paid out $2.6 million in restitution to the victims and their families.
In honor of the late Dingley, Mötley Crüe dedicated their 1985 album Theatre of Pain to the drummer’s memory. That album happened to contain the band’s biggest hit yet in “Home Sweet Home.”