Bay Area Metal Legend DEBBIE ABONO Dies

Debbie Abono, a well-respected and much-loved manager and promotional machine behind some of San Francisco Bay Area's strongest metal bands (POSSESSED, FORBIDDEN, EXODUS, VIO-LENCE, SKINLAB), passed away yesterday (Sunday, May 16) at approximately 9:59 a.m. PST after a battle with cancer. She was 80 years old.

Commented EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt: "I have to say what a heartbreaking moment it is for me to have learned that Debbie is no longer with us. She was extremely instrumental to EXODUS, both in our early years and again during our reunion with [late EXODUS vocalist] Paul [Baloff] in '97. We could not have done a lot of the things we did without her help and generosity. The tour with VENOM and SLAYER would not have been possible, as well as our first U.S. tour without her help. She is, and always will be, a true Bay Area metal legend, and no one has done more for that young upstart thrash scene than she. She will be greatly missed — by EXODUS, as well as so many, many other bands she had worked tirelessly for. Words don't really do justice to what she has meant to us.

"All the love and support to her family at their time of need from us and the entire Bay Area metal scene. We all love you, Debbie."

Stated FORBIDDEN guitarist Craig Locicero: "[Sunday was] a very, very sad day for all of FORBIDDEN past and present. We lost our first manager, mentor and mother to us all in Debbie Abono.

"I have many stories to share once I gather myself off of the floor. Most of them are pretty funny, too.

"We had great times together and she showed FORBIDDEN the ropes.

"I was lucky enough to get a message to her in her last days. She knew how much she meant to FORBIDDEN and to me. I did get many chances to visit her over the last few years, too. I am very grateful for that.

"We are forever indebted to Debbie for all she did and most importantly the love and wisdom she instilled in us.

"FORBIDDEN is dedicating our new record to Debbie in her honor. So from all of us, this one is for you!

"Rest in Peace, Debbie. You beautiful soul!"

Maria Ferrero (pictured below with Debbie) of Adrenaline P.R. told BLABBERMOUTH.NET: "[Debbie] lived an incredible, brave, courageous, beautiful, giving life right to the end. She touched more people than we can count and more people that even know her. We also gave her an immeasurable amount of pleasure and happiness.

"I feel none of us would be here if it weren't for Deb — from METALLICA to GREEN DAY to POSSESSED to VIO-LENCE, OBITUARY, FORBIDDEN, MACHINE HEAD, etc. She believed in us when no one else did and when Debbie Abono told me, 'Maria, you're amazing' after about the 50th time, I started to believe, 'Maybe I am amazing, I better now BE amazing!'

"I know I'm not alone."

According to David Konow, author of the "Bang Your Head: The Rise And Fall Of Heavy Metal", Debbie Abono was in her mid-fifties when she began to manage a band named POSSESSED. Abono started taking her daughters to MOTÖRHEAD shows, where the members of POSSESSED first asked her to manage the band. "There's nothing to it," they told her. "All you gotta do is get us shows." Abono agreed and even allowed them to practice at her house.

POSSESSED's association with Debbie Abono would be a "first" for both sides: Abono would be the band's first manager, and POSSESSED were Abono's first managed band. Abono had no previous connection to heavy metal music other than as a concert designated driver for her daughters, one of whom was a girlfriend of guitarist Larry LaLonde. Due to generation gap, Abono also had limited awareness of the sometimes blasphemous themes of heavy metal, and was allegedly offended upon reading the lyric sheet of "Seven Churches". Nevertheless, she agreed to manage and represent POSSESSED as long as bassist/vocalist Jeff Becerra and LaLonde finished high school commitments. Although the group's relationship amongst themselves and their first manager would reach points of discord and eventual termination, Abono would go on to manage additional bands in the Bay Area metal scene like EXODUS, VIO-LENCE and FORBIDDEN EVIL (pre-FORBIDDEN), as well as death metal bands like Chicago's BROKEN HOPE and Florida's CYNIC and OBITUARY.

Photo below: Debbie Abono with Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett from METALLICA (photo credit: Harald Oimoen)

Pictured below: Debbie Abono (left) with Maria Ferrero (right)

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