Abono was born in Oakland, California as Deborah Ann Downer, a granddaughter to E.M. Downer, who founded Bay Area financial institution Mechanics Bank. She had served on the Board of Directors for the bank at one time.
Her career as a heavy metal manager began in her mid-fifties when the members of Possessed, one of the first death metal bands, asked her to manage the group. After they assured her there was "nothing to it ... all you gotta do is get us shows," she agreed and even let them practice at her house. A grandmother at that time, Abono had no connections to heavy metal music other than through one of her daughters, who was dating Possessed's then-guitarist Larry LaLonde. According to author David Konow, Abono was unaware of the sometimes blasphemous themes of heavy metal, and was offended after reading the lyrics to Seven Churches, the band's debut album. Nevertheless, she agreed to continue managing Possessed on the condition that LaLonde and vocalist Jeff Becerra finished high school. Because Possessed suffered from internal conflicts, Abono would go on to manage additional bands in the Bay Area metal scene like Exodus, Vio-Lence and Forbidden, as well as death metal bands like Chicago's Broken Hope and Florida's Cynic and Obituary. Other bands that she managed include Brazilian outfit Sepultura, American bands Skinlab and 40 Grit, and unsigned Canadian band Fueled By Ignorance.
Abono died on Sunday, May 16, 2010 at approximately 9:59 a.m. PST; after a battle with cancer. She was 80 years old.
In honour of Debbie Abono and Ronnie James Dio, Machine Head's Robb Flynn recorded and released for free online a cover of Black Sabbath's Die Young. Abono managed Flynn and Machine Head guitarist Phil Demmel when they were members of Vio-lence.
- "Deborah ABONO Obituary: View Deborah ABONO's Obituary by Contra Costa Times". Legacy.com. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
- Konow, David (2002). Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal (page 233). Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-609-80732-3.
- Ian Christe (2004). Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal (page 113). Harper Paperbacks. ISBN 0-380-81127-8.
- Konow, David (2002). Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal (page 234). Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-609-80732-3.
- OBITUARY interview - John Tardy
- "Blabbermouth.Net Bay Area Metal Legend DEBBIE ABONO Dies". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
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- "Blabbermouth.Net - Machine Head'S Robb Flynn Remembers Debbie Abono". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved 2012-12-08.