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Painted by Elephants -- a new band? No, guitars being readied for Ronnie James Dio-affiliated charity auction

March 7, 2011 |  2:48 pm

Elephant paints guitar edit-Mark Weiss 
Now here’s the instrument for the heavy rock aficionado with almost everything: a one-of-a-kind electric guitar custom painted by hand … er, trunk … by Asian elephants.

In a collaboration that would seem to be a no-brainer, Wendy Dio, the widow of Black Sabbath and Dio singer Ronnie James Dio, who died last year of cancer, has partnered the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund set up in her husband’s memory with the Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project (AEACP) to create guitars to be auctioned off for the benefit of both organizations.

Art works created by Asian elephants in Thailand have been featured in numerous publications and television programs and exhibited in museums and galleries around the world.  Wendy Dio has teamed up with AEACP officials to enlist the elephants to decorate instruments donated for the fundraiser by ESP Guitars. She is in Thailand this month, along with Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler and other SUAS officials while the guitars are being painted.

Plans call for three elephant-painted guitars to be auctioned this fall, according to a spokeswoman for Dio.  Details on the time and manner of the auction are to be announced.  SUAS also plans to auction off a total of 100 other instruments being donated and/or signed by celebrity players to raise money for its prevention, research and education efforts. AEACP’s mission is stemming the dwindling number of Asian elephants.

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of Jaab the elephant painting an electric guitar. Credit: Mark Weiss

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