The Dean Band, featuring MAB, rocking out.

So this weekend saw the Dean Owners of America (DOA, for short) holding their annual guitar bash for anyone who owns, or just loves, Dean guitars – the ‘of America’ is slightly misleading, given that anyone of any nationality can join.

It’s basically just a big weekend where all the members of DOA (mainly members of the company’s forum) hook up at the Dean HQ in Tampa, Flordia and have a good time. Jamming with Dean’s endorsees, parties, factory tours and drinking way too much alcohol always seem to be on the cards.

Michael Angelo Batio was one of the big stars at this year’s event.

He took to the stage to perform a blisteringly shred-tacular set, and even went along with other DOA members on the Dean factory tour, where members got to see the ins and outs of what goes into making a Dean.

A custom shop floyded ML built for Randy Cooper from southern-rockers 'Texas Hippie Coalition'.

Right from choosing the wood, to the body being routed out by a CNC machine to winding and wiring Dean’s line of pickups, the fans got to see the whole process from start to finish.

This was all the morning after the night before. The Friday night of DOA is when everyone gathers at Dean HQ to jam some songs live, drink some beers and meet the new faces of the club.

The coolest recoded moment of the night seems to have been Michael Angelo Batio joining Jen from Genitorturers on stage to jam Highway To Hell.

Name me one other guitar company who does this for their fans? Sure, other companies put on quite a show and dance…when it comes to sales. But this isn’t for the money, this is about bringing all the fans together and putting on a killer weekend for all their loyal customers.

You don’t see many endorsees joining forces (even with other DOA members) and getting up on stage to put on a good show for the fans. That’s how to treat your customers. Jackson, ESP, Ernie Ball…take note – I love these companies as much as my Deans, so step up to the bar!

This year saw another year where I couldn’t attend – flying to the US for the weekend is not a cheap affair, but year in year out, the guys who do go share their marvellous memories with us all. Whether they won a shiny new Dean V in the raffle, or just picked up a few…er, pickups for their axe everyone had an amazing time and has a story to tell.

So my pick of the stories goes to Brad (forum member BradWorld) for his post-DOA airport security woes. Oh the turmoil of being a guitarist…!

Security: excuse me sir, is this your bag?

BradWorld: Yes sir it is.

S: What is in here, a bunch of battery packs?

B: no sir, they are guitar effects pedals, and guitar pickups.

S: pickups? Why do you have them?

B: because I am a guitarist.

S: WHY DO YOU HAVE SO MANY????

B: ummmmm…. because I was at a guitar event, and got them there….

S: well they must have be cheap then… move along..

I sure would’ve loved to have seen the security staff’s look of disappointment when he realised he hadn’t rumbled a terrorist mastermind.

Keeping tearing it up ’til I get there, DOA!

Props to forum members DOOMZDAY and sabbathtozzy for the pictures, and to sabbathtoozzy for the video. Rest assured, when I go in 2011 the pictures and video will be my own!

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