Bill Xavier, president and CEO of B.C. Rich Guitars, spoke to The Tone King about SLAYER guitarist Kerry King's recent addition to the Dean Guitars artist roster. King joined Dean in October after previously working with B.C. Rich and ESP for his signature guitars.
"I knew Elliott [Rubinson, Dean's late president and CEO]; he was a friend of mine," Bill said (see video below). "God rest his soul. And I know his son [Evan Rubinson, current Dean president and CEO], and him and I are friends. I congratulated him on Kerry being part of that team and being where he is."
He continued: "Kerry is a businessman — he's a very astute business guy — and we'll always be friends, and I wish him nothing but the best of luck. But I think, frankly, it's about business. And for us, it's an opportunity for us to change and have a new chapter in our history. I always will think that Kerry is — he'll always be B.C. Rich; he'll always have that. He used ESP for many, many years — a lot of people liked Kerry when he played ESP. And him and Dime [late PANTERA guitarist 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott] were great friends, and he's with his buddies. I wish him the best of luck. It's just — all good things come to an end."
Last month, Dean Guitars released a limited run of 50 handcrafted USA guitars designed in collaboration with King. Each USA Kerry King V Limited Edition 50 Pc guitar is priced at $8,666 and can be ordered from the Dean Guitars web site.
King is one of the most instantly recognizable and well-respected musicians in thrash/punk/metal, and over the past four decades has pioneered some of the most brutal and revolutionary music ever created. King wrote or co-wrote some of SLAYER's most beloved songs, including "Mandatory Suicide", "Repentless", "Hell Awaits", "Disciple" and "Raining Blood". Known for his allegiance to the Oakland Raiders, his love of snakes, and his taste for Jägermeister, King is outspoken, opinionated and authentic to the core.
When the King-Dean partnership was first announced, the guitarist said: "I'm super stoked to be part of the Dean Guitars family. This has been an insane long time coming! Together we're going to create some amazing guitars that Dean, SLAYER and Kerry King fans will be as excited as I am to play them. It's gonna be a wild ride for years to come!"
Evan Rubinson said: "We are thrilled to welcome one of the most iconic guitarists in the world to the Dean family. Our partnership with Kerry King couldn't be a more perfect fit — a legendary metal guitar player and a legendary metal guitar company, collaborating to bring our fans something the world has never before seen."
Over the coming months, Dean Guitars will release more product information outlining Kerry King's signature Dean Guitars USA and import models.