Despite Shooting, Dean Guitars To Proceed With 'Dimebag' Model
Band Photo: Damageplan (?)
Dean Guitars plans to proceed with production of a special "signature edition" electric guitar named and designed for "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, the heavy-metal musician who was shot to death inside a Columbus, Ohio nightclub late Wednesday night.
The Tampa Bay area-based manufacturer signed a new endorsement agreement with the former Pantera lead guitarist last month and has pre-sold 150 copies of its special "lightning bolt" model made famous by Abbott in concerts and music videos, said Elliott Rubinson, CEO of Armadillo Enterprises Inc., Dean's parent company.
The signature Dimebag Darrell guitar was scheduled to be introduced at a trade show next month, and Rubinson said he is hopeful that Abbott's estate will allow that production to continue under the contract he signed prior to his death. Armadillo has owned the Dean brand since 1995.
"It's a huge, sore disappointment to us," Rubinson said Friday about Abbott, one of Dean's leading musical promoters. "We're not going to drop the endorsement deal. His family needs the support now."
Rubinson described Abbott, 38, as an energetic musician and "walking cartoon character" who liked to joke around and give nicknames to acquaintances. He didn't disclose the value of the endorsement contract Dean signed with Abbott, except to say it is "one of the most lucrative given to a guitar player."
Abbott, who played Dean guitars dating back to its previous production in the early 1980s, reached the height of his heavy metal popularity during the mid-1990s with Pantera, whose albums received nominations for Grammy awards in 1995 and 2001. His new band Damageplan, which he appeared with during Wednesday's concert, released its first album in February. Dean's Web site has posted a memorial tribute to Abbott and had to be shut down temporarily after receiving "thousands" of visits following the musician's death. "I knew he was popular but I had no idea," Rubinson said.
Armadillo is in the process of relocating its Dean Guitars factory from Roosevelt Boulevard in Clearwater to a 110,000-square-foot industrial building along West Waters Avenue in Tampa. The company bought the building from Tropical Sportswear International Corp. for $4.9 million in November.
Source: Tampa Bay Business Journal
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