Zakk Wylde says that he is open to producing the next line of guitars from late PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott.
Last August, Dimebag's longtime girlfriend and trustee of his estate, Rita Haney, announced that she was cutting ties with Dean Guitars after 17 years with the company. She also revealed that she had filed a lawsuit against Dean, alleging fraud, breach of written agreement and false endorsement, among other claims.
Asked in a new interview with Australia's Wall Of Sound if he would be interested in working with Haney on a new line of Dimebag guitars through his Wylde Audio company, Wylde said: "I remember when [the news of Rita's lawsuit against Dean] first came out, whenever I saw that, but I didn't know the whole skinny on that. But I mean, it's just, like, yeah, 'cause, I mean, Dime's always been associated with them. I mean, actually, he brought them back into business when they were out of business; he brought them back into business just because of his popularity and him playing that guitar. But if we were to ever do something like that, obviously we'd talk with Rita and whatever she wanted to do, you know."
Dimebag's affiliation with Dean goes back to when he was 14. He played Dean guitars throughout PANTERA's heyday in the mid-1990s. He switched to Washburn Guitars late in the decade, a time when Dean Guitars had practically disappeared from the American market. But when Dimebag's contract with Washburn ended, he inked an endorsement deal with Dean, which Elliot Rubinson had revived. Dimebag died three weeks later at the age of 38.
In a 2014 interview with Billboard, Zakk stated about Dimebag as a person: "If he didn’t play guitar, he'd still be one of your best friends, just because he was a sweet guy. He genuinely loved life: He was like Blutarsky in 'Animal House'; you could just be having the most crap day, and then Dime would walk into the room and the party would begin! [Laughs] He was always like, 'I ain't got time to be depressed — let's have a good time.' He was like the Rat Pack all in one guy — he was Dean, Frank, Sammy, the whole Rat Pack in one human being! [Laughs]"
Asked what it was about Dimebag's playing that set him apart, Zakk said: "He was as groundbreaking with his riffs as [BLACK SABBATH guitarist] Tony Iommi was with his — he was the architect of the template for that style of music.
"I always say that PANTERA were the LED ZEPPELIN or BLACK SABBATH of that genre of music — THE BEATLES and STONES of that music. It's not even an argument. You have great bands and then you have bands that changed the game. All the bands that have come after — like MESHUGGAH or LAMB OF GOD — the template for it is PANTERA. Production-wise, you can use those PANTERA records as a Model-T Ford for extreme metal."
Zakk introduced the first three guitars offered by Wylde Audio at the 2016 NAMM show in Anaheim, California. The guitars were the initial offering from his company, which at the time was also said to be planning to build amplifiers and effect pedals, with distribution provided by Schecter Guitar Research.