TOMMY BOLIN Tribute Guitar Designer Interviewed At NAMM; Video Available

Lacey Conner, villainess co-star of VH1's hit TV show "Rock of Love" featuring POISON's Bret Michaels, conducted an interview with Nick Simmons, designer of Dean Guitars' Tommy Bolin tribute guitar — the "Teaser" — at the Dean Guitars booth at this year's winter NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show, which was held January 17-20 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. Watch the six-minute clip below.

Writer Greg Prato recently conducted an interview with late DEEP PURPLE guitarist Tommy Bolin's brother, Johnnie, about Dean Guitars' Tommy Bolin tribute guitar — the "Teaser" — as well as a new three-CD Tommy collection that came out a couple of weeks ago via Friday Music, "The Ultimate: Redux". A couple of excerpts from the chat follow.

On the Tommy Bolin tribute guitar:

Johnnie Bolin: "It's set through Dean distributors — there's 75 main dealers — and they're only making 100. I don't know if they'll reissue them. I know there's another design they wanted to do of Tommy's Explorer guitar, but that would be more of the 'Private Eyes' album cover — with the Japanese writing and stuff like that. That looked really cool — a red guitar with black [writing], and it had Tommy's face on there somewhere, too. The idea's already there."

On "The Ultimate: Redux" three-CD set:

Johnnie Bolin: "[Friday Music] did reissues of David Lee Roth, Randy Bachman, and artists like that. Joe [Reagoso, the head of Friday Music] was a fan of Tommy's, and when he heard of the [Tommy Bolin] Archives, thought, 'Maybe we have something here.' We all made an agreement and we'll probably put out a couple more [CD's]. Steve Vai does the linear notes — it's got a select amount of pictures, it's got picture discs in there. It's a 'best of' according to Joe, Mike [Drumm, head of Tommy Bolin Archives], and me of the Archives. It's 33 songs."

The Tommy Bolin (ex-DEEP PURPLE) tribute guitar — the "Teaser" — was unveiled at this year's winter NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show, which was held January 17-20 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. The guitar is American-made, and is meticulously based on measurements and specs taken from one of Tommy's surviving axes for added authenticity. The design concept and cosmetics are Tommy-inspired, and the workmanship, materials, and hardware are first-rate.

There was a Tommy Bolin memorabilia display at the Dean Guitars NAMM booth, featuring some of Tommy's personal effects including clothing, rare photographs, and handwritten lyrics to some of his songs. Tommy's brother Johnnie Bolin was there signing autographs and giving away posters of the ad that will be seen in the guitar magazines as soon as the guitar ready to ship to dealers.

Tommy Bolin is best known for his work with ZEPHYR (from 1969 to 1971), THE JAMES GANG (from 1973 through 1974), DEEP PURPLE (from 1975 to 1976) and his solo work.

Bolin was found unconscious at his hotel on December 3, 1976 after opening for JEFF BECK in Miami, Florida. When paramedics arrived, he was pronounced dead. Bolin was 25 years old.

More information about the Tommy Bolin tribute guitar and photos from the guitar's debut at this year's NAMM can be found at this location.

To order "The Ultimate: Redux" three-CD set, visit the Friday Music web site. More information about the collection — including Steve Vai's liner notes — can be found here.

Nick Simmons interview:

Johnnie Bolin interview:

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