Dimebag Darrell’s Estate Is Suing Dean Guitars

Shadowgate, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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For as long as most fans can remember, Pantera guitarist and metal legend “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott has been associated with Dean Guitars, who released Dime’s infamous Razorback model. But now, Dime’s estate, spearheaded by his girlfriend and former business manager Rita Haney, have filed suit against Dean.

“We do not make this decision lightly,” said Haney in a public statement that can be read below, “and it is with a heavy heart that we share this news with you, Dime’s loyal fans. As you know, after signing the deal with Dean Guitars in 2004, Dime was ecstatic to finally be working with the one and only, Mr. Dean Zelinsky, who’s been gone from the company since 2008. Darrell had voiced several times that it was like going home where he belonged. It was something he was enormously proud of.

“I made several attempts to amicably settle our dispute with Dean Guitars,” Haney goes on to say, “however, it became clear to me that Dimebag’s relationship with Dean Guitars had come to an end when the new CEO of Dean Guitars told me that Dime has been dead for 16 years and they could not make the money they once did.. (so basically, he’s used up???) and then continued on to tell me i should go somewhere else. Well… we will!

“Moving forward, our goal will be to ensure the rightful and respectful celebration of Dime’s legacy and the indelible mark he and his music made on this world. It is with absolute conviction that we say that this can no longer happen whilst continuing to partner with Dean Guitars.

“As fans, we hope that you feel as we do. Our love for Dime has not wavered in the 16 plus years since his passing and he is still as relevant to us today, despite what we have been told by Dean Guitars. We want to capture the ‘spirit of the deal’ that was discarded by Dean Guitars, like it should have always been done. In this spirit, we soon hope to have more positive news to share with you regarding the future of ‘Dime guitars.’

“Dime loved his fans so very much, in return, you guys have never wavered in your loyalty and love for him. We cannot thank you enough for your continued support.

“Long live Dimebag Darrell! Getcha pull!”

The full complaint against Dean can be read at Dime’s website, but some of the most important accusations are as follows: that Dean used Dime’s image and legacy to promote their guitars after his endorsement deal was over, and never paid for the use of his likeness; that Dean failed to provide the domestic and foreign models for each line of guitars, which was promised his estate in his contract; and that Dean transferred the trademark to the Razorback guitar, which was Abbott’s sole property, to a third-party company without informing his estate.

On top of that, Haney claims that Dean CEO Evan Rubinson has been disrespectful to her and to Dimebag’s legacy, basically telling her that she didn’t deserve compensation because Dimebag has been dead long enough that his legacy doesn’t really do much for Dean anymore — despite their continued use of his image.

More on this situation as it unfolds.


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Words by Chris Krovatin