by Kevin Johnson
We report the sad news that Elliott “Dean” Rubinson, bassist and CEO of Dean Guitars, has passed away after a battle with brain cancer.
“On behalf of everyone at Armadillo Enterprises, words cannot express how much we appreciate the kind words and condolences shared by many, regarding the loss of our dear friend and former CEO, Elliott Rubinson,” Dean Guitars wrote on their Facebook page. “As you can understand, this is a difficult time for the Rubinson family. Details regarding a celebration of life for Elliott will be announced in the near future. May our friend Rest in Peace.”
Rubinson grew up in Queens, New York, picking up the bass at 12 years old. After playing and touring for a number of years, he decided to get into the business side of the industry and set up his own music store in Florida in 1976. Thoroughbred Music grew to be a successful chain of stores, which led him to start focusing on his own musical products. He formed Armadillo Enterprises, which he used to purchase Dean Guitars in 1997. Rubinson eventually sold off his stores to focus on wholesale. Armadillo Enterprises also owns ddrum and Luna Guitars.
Even as the CEO of a major corporation, Rubinson toured with neoclassical guitar icons Uli Jon Roth, Michael Schenker, and Michael Angelo Batio. “I hadn’t played in 30 years,” Rubinson admitted in an interview with Village Music Shoppe. “I started building guitars for Michael Schenker in 2004, and one day he said, ‘Look, my bass player can’t make this tour. Do you know anybody?’ So I said, ‘As a matter of fact, I’m a bass player.’” Rubinson would wake up early on tour to make business phone calls and answer emails all day before heading to soundcheck, repeating the process each day he was away from his office.