Former Pantera security head ‘Big Val’ Bichekas has died. A posting on his Facebook page said he recently had hospital visits for some complications with pneumonia and diabetes. He passed in his sleep on Monday. The band confirmed his passing on Facebook.
Big Val became a bit of a celebrity from his appearances in Pantera’s “3 Vulgar Videos from Hell”. “3 Vulgar Videos from Hell” features the band’s previously released home videos, “Cowboy’s from Hell: The Videos”, “Vulgar Video” and “3 Watch It Go”. The videos are a collection of live performances, music videos, interviews and footage of the band’s shenanigans on tour and in studio from 1989 to early 1997.
Watch Big Val in Pantera’s “3 Watch It Go” below:
According to former Pantera bassist Rex Brown, in the book “Official Truth, 101 Proof: The Inside Story Of Pantera”, Bichekas was fired from Pantera.
“The breaking point came when we found out that he was making his own Pantera t-shirts with our logo on them and planned to sell them front of house at shows,” said Brown. “He wasn’t a celebrity, he was a f****** security guard, but I guess it’s inevitable and halfway acceptable to think you’re a star when you’re in a position like he was. But, the line is crossed when a security guy starts using our name for his own monetary gain…So Dime fired him. At least he finally saw sense and made the right call.”
After working for Pantera, ‘Big Val’ went on to work for Ozzy Osbourne, Alice in Chains and others.
Fans and musicians have begun paying their respects to Big Val on social media. Sebastian Bach, who hired Bichekas as his personal security guard and toured with Pantera in the early 90’s, posted the following message on Facebook:
According to Blabbermouth, Bach also wrote about Big Val in a tribute to Dimebag in in December 2004. Bach said:
The first job Big Val ever had in rock ‘n’ roll was – you guessed it – Sebastian Bach’s personal security guard. Val met Pantera on the ‘Slave’ tour and when Ozzy was looking for personal security, Sharron (Osbourne) asked Big Val, ‘Who have you done security for?’ He answered, ‘Sebastian Bach was my first. Pantera was second.’ Ozzy hired him right away, and has employed him ever since.
Bichekas will also be missed by music fans:
Bichekas was a linemen for the University of Arizona football team and had a close relationship with head coach Dick Tomey. He attended Gilbert Christian High School in Gilbert, AZ. Bichekas ws a starting guard in 1985 and 1986, on UA teams that went 8-3-1 and 9-3
Bichekas was listed as a resident of Tucson, AZ on the Mobile Production Pro website.
He is survived by his daughter, Hannah Bichekas, and his mother, Anna Bichekas Kroger.
‘Big Val’ Bichekas’ most recent Facebook profile: