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In January 1999, an ecstatic David Montgomery scored front-row tickets to the reunion tour of Black Sabbath, but the famous weighty metallic band was not the act he had appear to see. Rather, he was there for Pantera, a Texas band and metal legend in its personal appropriate, led by brothers Vincent Paul Abbott and Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott.

“Pantera just destroyed the arena,” Montgomery recalled. “I never want to say they were being improved than Sabbath, but they just wiped folks out. It was a blazing general performance.”

Additional than two many years later, Montgomery, now a 54-year-old actual estate law firm, is continue to a big supporter. When a pair of backstage passes for that 1999 exhibit in Compaq Heart arrived up for sale previous thirty day period, he didn’t wait. He plopped down $500 to snag them — a whole lot far more than $66 he paid for his tickets.

Montgomery’s possibility to memorialize Pantera’s effectiveness came courtesy of Backstage Auctions, a Houston organization that specializes in tunes memorabilia, with a particular bent towards tough rock and metal. Since its founding in 2003, Backstage has auctioned off instruments, awards, signed posters, pics and other items culled from the spheres of this kind of functions Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, KISS, Willie Nelson and ZZ Top. Most not long ago it auctioned merchandise from major metal stalwarts AC/DC, Pantera, Megadeth, Metallica, Anthrax, Judas Priest, Ted Nugent and many others.

Backstage caters to consumers like Montgomery, youthful fans who grew into affluent industry experts. When Backstage founders Jacques and Kelli van Gool host one of their rock memorabilia auctions, all those lovers come operating, income in hand.

“I think that nostalgia, mixed with owning a higher disposable profits, allows men and women to go, ‘You know what? I want to purchase again that pleasure,’” Jacques explained. “I want to buy that thrill again, because now I can afford to pay for it.”

Montgomery purchased his thrill at Backstage’s auction of memorabilia from the estate of Pantera’s late drummer, Vincent Paul Abbott, far better regarded by his phase identify Vinnie Paul. The auction, which ran from May possibly 26 by way of June 5, attracted additional than 400 prospective buyers who picked around practically 700 products. Some, this sort of as Montgomery’s passes, offered for hundreds of bucks. Other people bought for tens of thousands. A guitar supplied to Vinnie Paul by his brother, fetched just about $30,000.

Sealed with a KISS

You can trace the roots of Backstage Auctions to Jacques van Gool’s appreciate of the rock band KISS. Jacques, 58, explained his teenage bed room as “a KISS shrine,” filled with memorabilia he gathered over the several years. He continue to has the first KISS merchandise he acquired: a journal go over featuring bassist Gene Simmons.

The few fulfilled when they both worked in human resources for an power company — she in Houston, he in the Netherlands. Right after marrying and relocating to quite a few cities, they began casting about for a organization to commence, 1 built about his like of new music memorabilia.

“It was about that time that that eBay was new,” reported Kelli, 56. “The full entire world of getting and offering and trading was opening up globally at that stage.”

But on the net bidding platforms this sort of as eBay also opened a flood of phony collectibles. And the platforms could not ensure the authenticity of memorabilia supplied in the on the web marketplaces.

That provided the small business design for Backstage Auctions. The organization does not trade in objects from other collectors — it only accepts goods from musicians, producers, managers or other people in the audio sector who can claim ownership of those objects. When items are consigned to Backstage, the first proprietors sign a certificate of authenticity.

“We felt it was a solid information for consumers that, pay attention, we’re representing Scott Ian from Anthrax, or Dave Mustaine from Megadeth, or Ted Nugent or whomever, as if they ended up advertising the auction on their own,” she reported. “There’s no motive for any collector to question the authenticity of the piece.”

The van Gools’ 1st customer was producer and engineer Eddie Kramer, who experienced labored with the Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Carly Simon and KISS. Jacques met Kramer at a KISS conference in 2003 in New Jersey and the two clicked.

“Kramer questioned me, ‘What do you do for a living?’ and I reported, ‘That’s an appealing problem,’” Jacques recalled. He instructed Kramer about his notion for Backstage Auctions.

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Kramer experienced a trove of memorabilia, including copies of learn recordings, rough cuts of tunes, documentation from the album-recording method and additional. He was shifting to Los Angeles from New York, and required to crystal clear out his selection.

“I’ll be your initial shopper,” Kramer explained to Jacques. “When can you be in New York?”

The Kramer auction put Backstage on the map. Upcoming came an auction of 1000’s of historical concert posters from the 1960s and ‘70s from venues these kinds of as the Fillmores East and West and the Armadillo Planet Headquarters in Austin. Subsequent arrived the assets of Herbie Herbert who tour-managed Santana and aided foster the development of the band Journey. And that partnership led to Jacques doing work with the manager of Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Useless and others.

The van Gools initial worked with Pantera when the band’s longtime supervisor, Walter O’Brien, approached them 10 decades in the past to auction off his memorabilia, followed by Pantera bassist Rex Brown.

Then, previous summer time, the estate of Vinnie Paul approached Jacques and established up this year’s auction.

Triumph and tragedy

The tale of the Abbott brothers and Pantera is one of triumph and tragedy.

The sons of a country tunes musician and history producer, Vincent and Darrell Abbott grew up in Arlington. As teenagers, they acquired their chops actively playing in clubs in the Dallas-Fort Well worth area. The early model of Pantera, featuring Brown on bass and Terry Glaze dealing with direct vocals, settled into the style regarded as “glam steel,” together with bands such as Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, and Alice Cooper.

But by the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, glam commenced to fade. Glaze remaining the band and Pantera employed Phil Anselmo, a singer who introduced a heavier, downbeat, even brutal tactic. The band pivoted musically with their fifth album, 1990’s “Cowboys from Hell.”

The album was loud, aggressive and pretty weighty, explained Jon Wiederhorn, writer of “Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral Heritage of Metallic.” But Pantera’s tracks had a rhythmic groove lacking in other acts — a style of taking part in dubbed “groove metal,” which nonetheless influences business audio currently, Wiederhorn said.

“They experienced killer catchy riffs, some which were so simplistic you could hum them with simplicity, and the design and style of which is now prevalent in beer commercials and motor vehicle commercials and soccer halftime adverts,” he reported. “It’s actually incredible how significantly of an impact they experienced.”

But in 1995, the band started to fracture. The Abbott brothers disbanded the team in 2003, and put jointly a new band called Damageplan. Then on Dec. 8, 2004, Damageplan was accomplishing in a Columbus, Ohio, nightclub when a enthusiast rushed the stage, shooting and killing Dimebag Darrell, and three many others in the nightclub.

Vinnie Paul was devastated and didn’t conduct for 18 months, reported Jacques van Gool. But in 2006, he was certain to be a part of a “supergroup” comprising stars from other metal functions. The band became Hellyeah, and he performed as its drummer until his loss of life in 2018 from coronary heart and artery condition.

Significant names, major bucks

Backstage Auctions is section of a sprawling international sector for new music memorabilia, ranging from particular person collectors to new music conventions to main auction residences. It’s tricky to estimate the industry’s all round price, but the sales of goods tied to massive-identify artists can deliver an strategy of the scope.

In June 2019, for illustration, Christie’s in New York sold 127 guitars belonging to David Gilmour, the direct guitarist and vocalist for Pink Floyd. The proceeds, which went to charity, introduced in almost $21.5 million, with bids coming from 66 nations around the world around 8 several hours.

A person merchandise, a black Fender Stratocaster ,regarded among Floyd aficionados as “the Black Strat,” went for $3.97 million, the most at any time compensated for a guitar. The instrument was applied on the band’s most well-known albums, such as “Dark Facet of the Moon.”

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In organization full of niches, the van Gools have uncovered a superior just one, stated Warwick Stone, a songs memorabilia curator who has managed collections for the likes of the Tricky Rock Lodge in Las Vegas. As opposed to key auction residences this kind of as Christie’s or Sotheby’s, which are extra intrigued in large-profile merchandise from best-tier artists that deliver in millions of dollars, Backstage moves full collections of both the popular and semi-famous, giving products at a range of rates that draw in followers across the revenue scale.

“They may cherry pick 1 or two goods (from an estate like Vinnie Paul’s),” Stone reported, “ but if you simply call a main auctioneer, they are likely to convert you down on most of the stuff.”

Backstage holds auctions roughly four periods a 12 months, storing goods in 3,300-square-foot, weather-managed, nondescript, Inside of-the-Loop warehouse. The entire auction process takes place on-line. Tailor made software allows purchasers to create accounts, bid and preserve observe of the motion on their choices.

Backstage earns dollars on equally ends of the transaction – commissions from sellers, which vary based mostly on negotiated terms, and a 20 percent cost billed to buyers.

The van Gools won’t divulge product sales figures. But Jacques said it is a expensive operation, with salaries, overhead, utilities and “an insanely expensive” insurance policies policy to protect auction merchandise as they sit in the warehouse. Backstage has 5 staff.

“Now the actuality that I have been doing this for 20 decades suggests its worthwhile,” he explained. “But right up until the auction’s over, I’m not making a nickel. So I constantly say, I only get compensated four instances a year, the paycheck much better be very good!”

Better late

The goods in the Vinnie Paul auction incorporated devices, file awards, Vinnie Paul-themed slot devices, gaming tables and a slew of athletics memorabilia. The drummer was a major sporting activities fan, and gathered anything from football and hockey helmets to jerseys and autographed balls.

Amongst the goods for sale was a boxer’s robe with “Vinnie Paul” embroidered across the back again. It was bought for $500 by Brad Jennings, 48, an orthodontist who by no means got the possibility to see Pantera.

“I was not into them at the peak of their occupation,” he explained. “Some matters you really do not get into right until right after the point, and you’re as well late.”

The robe will consider an honored location in his Memorial Push office, which is crammed with rock new music memorabilia, which includes a model wearing a Gene Simmons costume.

Jennings’ youthful sufferers, who are typically in their teen yrs, enjoy his digs. For his organization, his passion of amassing rock memorabilia has paid out off.

“I wish I experienced a nickel,” he claimed, “for each individual time a person has said, ‘This is the coolest doctor’s business I have ever viewed.’”

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