Tribute to Ronnie James Dio (1942-2010)
All interviews conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: May 17, 2015
On May 16th, 2010 the Heavy Rock/Metal world stopped. Ronnie James Dio (a.k.a Ronald James Padavona) had passed away. This tragic news came out of the blue for many of us as very few people knew Ronnie's health problems were as serious as they eventually turned out to be. He was suffering from stomach cancer which was more advanced than any of us could've imagined. The big voice of Heavy Rock/Metal, the voice that gave us iconic albums like Rainbow Rising (1976), Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (1978), Heaven and Hell (1980), Mob Rules (1981), Holy Diver (1983), The Last in Line (1984) and many others was no longer among us.
May 16th, 2015 marks five years since Ronnie's death and we here at the headquarters of The Metal Crypt asked some of our favorite artists how Ronnie's music influenced them when they were starting out, Ronnie's legacy as the legendary and charismatic vocalist of many bands and as a person who always, unconditionally respected his fans.
It became clear right away, based on people's honest and heartfelt answers, Ronnie James Dio hasn't been forgotten. On the contrary, he will be us forever.
Interviews conducted by Luxi Lahtinen with additional help from Mirko Marten, Jeremy Golden, MetalMike and all the musicians that shared their memories and experiences about Ronnie James Dio (thanks to each of YOU).
Ty Tammues (ARTIZAN): When I think of Ronnie James Dio I think of his eternal energy for Heavy Metal. This man exemplified a pure, honest, raging passion for his craft. He was like a fine wine that got better with age. I was very fortunate to meet Ronnie at the Foundations Forum in Los Angeles in 1991. He was kind and appreciative; a living legend, yet so humble and approachable. I got really lucky and was one of the first people to be able to meet him at the signing event for the release of the Black Sabbath Dehumanizer album. I spent about thirty minutes in the room with Ronnie and Vinny Appice as they met with fans, signing autographs. You would never think you were in the room with a Rock and Roll icon. Ronnie made you feel so welcome.
My most prized possession is the framed Dehumanizer poster that hangs in my study. Ronnie signed it; "To Ty - 'Magic'". The magic lives on in all of us. God, I miss him.
King Fowley (DECEASED): Dio was a genuine talent; not manufactured, not over hyped just the real deal. He melted my mind musically most of all the first time around with Black Sabbath in the early 80's. Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules are for me two of the most outstanding albums in the history of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. His vocals fit so well with all the doom and brimstone that is Sabbath. His contributions from his solo career and with Elf/Rainbow are also golden. The man really is the voice of Heavy Metal. To see him pass away while pure trash like Axl Rose and Dave Mustaine still breathe on was a travesty. But I cheer and thank Ronnie for all he did to better heavy music and the world as a GENUINE good human being. R.I.P. my friend.
Patrick Backlund (MORTALICUM): For me, RJD was the first voice of Rock! Back in '83 I had cassettes with Mob Rules and Live Evil. It was magical listening to those albums and I still travel back in time to those days whenever I hear them. He was always a big inspiration and remained one of the greatest until his last appearance. His voice has been silenced yet it remains loud forevermore.
Bart Gabriel (SKOL RECORDS CEO): Believe it or not I heard Holy Diver before I heard Black Sabbath or Rainbow with Dio on vocals. It was in my very early Metal days when I was absorbing everything that was Metal. I was discovering bands like Maiden, Priest and Mercyful Fate and then I saw the Holy Diver video clip for the first time. It was played on VHS tape in a local music store where I used to spend whole days checking out bands I didn't know. It's not hard to guess that I immediately became diehard Dio fan, right? His amazing voice, his emotional way of singing and his stage presence were unique and it is no wonder he made such a huge impact on the Heavy Metal scene and inspired legions of vocalists and musicians all over the world. He was, or better still is, the king of Heavy Metal in my book!
Dan Lorenzo (HADES): What can you say about RJD? He had one of the most powerful voices in Heavy Metal music ever. Not to take anything away from Ozzy, but Ronnie James Dio with Black Sabbath was just phenomenal. Every singer I've ever worked with worshipped Ronnie.
John Gallagher (RAVEN): Back in 1976 I was (and still am) a rabid Purple fan and discovered Rainbow was going to be playing the Newcastle City Hall! Tickets went on sale and with my trusty sleeping bag in tow, I camped out in the snow on the stairs of the Newcastle City Hall steps overnight until the box office opened. It was well worth it.
One of the highlights was seeing/hearing Ronnie James Dio in full flight. It was pure magic. I never met him but have heard so much about how he was down to earth, friendly and just one of the good guys. It's a smaller world without him.
Zach Slaughter (SKULL FIST): I hitchhiked over 800km when I was 15 years old to see Iron Maiden in Toronto. The bill had Motörhead and Dio on it as well. I had never even heard of Dio when I was kid and this was the pre-Internet days. On the way to Toronto we we're singing Iron Maiden and Motörhead songs but on the way home it was nothing but Dio. We we're hooked and super-psyched and we even got to smoke a joint with the drum tech for Dio's band. At least we thought he was the drum tech and the joint was just weed. Turned out he was a drug dealer and the weed had coke in it. Not the best experience for a 15-year-old but it turns out Dio scared the shit out of me while he was playing but his music was incredibly solid. After I got home from this trip I asked my dad to grab me a Dio CD from the record store in Timmins on his way home from work. I have been singing the opening lines of "Don't Talk to Strangers" ever since. Every time I'm down I sing those lines in my head. Even though he should have lived longer he completed the task any musician or artist strives for. His music was appreciated enough to live forever, therefore he will too.
Anders Engberg (SORCERER): I will try to convey how much Mr. Dio has influenced me both as a singer and as a human being.
I met Ronnie James Dio on the Monsters of the Millennium tour in 2000. I was ecstatic about the fact that I was going to tour with one of my biggest heroes in the Hard Rock scene. At that time I played in the band Lion's Share and we were somewhat inexperienced. Touring with bands like Manowar, Motörhead and Dio was a dream come true. I remember the first show, the trailers, crews and all the different band members; I felt like I'd died and gone to heaven. When things settled and we got to our dressing room I bumped into Ronnie and he asked me if I was in the warm-up act and I was stunned. I could hardly get a word over my lips; I was completely starstruck. We exchanged names and this and that and went our separate ways. I had to pinch myself. WOW! He talked to me, ha ha!! Anyway, as the tour went on he always talked to me, us, everyone; he was friendly and supportive of what we did and a great personality. I asked him how he kept his voice in shape night after night (he sounded amazing) and he replied, "I just have a Kilkenny and a smoke before the show and then I go" and he laughed. I was distressed when the word came that he had passed away, to my mind many years too early. I hope he is rocking the butt of Satan for that's where he'll be battling with all his might. R.I.P. Mr. Dio.
Brian Ross (SATAN): Back in 2004, Satan was booked to play Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany. We arrived at the festival site and I took my bag, containing the clothes that I would wear for the gig, to the backstage area. Each band is allocated a unit, which is used as a dressing room. After hanging up my clothes I got myself a cold drink and went outside. At the next dressing room unit was Ronnie James Dio.
I walked over to him and introduced myself. Imagine my surprise when he mentioned some Satan and Blitzkrieg song titles and said that he liked the songs. We chatted about the "old days" for about one and a half hours and he shared with me some fond memories of his time with Rainbow and Black Sabbath. I asked him if Ritchie Blackmore was as difficult to work with as stories would have you believe. He replied that Ritchie was still one of his greatest friends and that although Ritchie was prone to bouts of moodiness, Ronnie had not a bad word to say about him.
Looking back at that chance meeting with Ronnie James Dio, I have to say it was magical. Over the years I have met many musicians, some famous, some not so famous. But of them all, Ronnie James Dio was, without doubt, the most friendly and nicest of them all. Ronnie was an amazing person and I know he enjoyed our chat as much as I did. The memory of that day will stay with me forever.
His is a great loss not just to the world of Rock music, but to the world in general. I am sure that we all miss him but at the same time remember him through the legacy of his music.
Susi Müller (ROCKET QUEEN PROMOTION): Some days before Ronnie left us some Internet media outlets were already reporting that he had died. I was shocked and browsed the whole Internet for news on Ronnie's condition. All the fans browsed the news for official statements but luckily there weren't any but I was worrying more and more like all the fans did. In April the news said that Ronnie's condition was better so it was great news and positive vibes but then bad news rapidly followed in May. Lots of fan groups started after it was official that Ronnie had cancer. I joined some groups and we all posted and sent prayers for Ronnie. I sent a personal letter to Ronnie with positive thoughts and prayers and included a CD of my husband's band to send positive vibes via music, as that is what Ronnie loved best. It was really touching for me writing this letter but I did it with all my love for Ronnie. I hoped that he would read it and that he had the strength to read lots of his fan-mail during his battle. I am sure it was tons and tons of letters as thousands of fans all around the globe sent their personal wishes to Ronnie.
May 17th is a day that changed my life once more. It was a Monday and I was at work and still had Ronnie on my mind. I went to check my messages and found that my husband sent a text telling me; "Hi sweetheart, Ronnie is free and out of pain, he left us. Don't be sad he had a fulfilled life." Even now as I write this, tears fill my eyes. I was speechless and sad. Even though I knew he had a full life it hit me hard. I was totally down and sad to the bones. I wanted to cry and scream all at once but as I was at work there was no chance for an immediate crying-session. The moment I got into my car I cried and cried. I knew Ronnie was in a better place and without pain but I asked myself how I could live a life without holy Ronnie, without my master of Metal? I let my feelings out while driving, with tears in my eyes, to my mom's. Once reached her I had to wipe the tears from my eyes and then I told her that my legend Ronnie died. When I went back home it was another hard drive with tears in my eyes. This crying lasted a whole week and it was like a close family member had died. It was and still is so hard to imagine that there won't be another Dio show.
The good thing was that I kept on listening to Dio and all the Ronnie-related albums all the time especially when I drove to work and back. The sadness nearly kept me from listening to his music. The fans and members of the band and family sure know what I am talking about here. It is still hard for me to watch DVDs with Ronnie to this day so I only watch them once in a while. The week of sadness was a tribute and it was really a hard time getting through to it. Ronnie's music guided me through some very hard times and also sent a spark of light during those heavy times and is still doing so since the day I discovered Ronnie way back in 1993. Ronnie's magic was always there and still gives me support, shelter, great stories and magic. He was like a virtual dad for me. I always admired Ronnie for what he did and what he achieved. Ronnie was loved by all and Ronnie taught us so much. Every time I listen to his songs I find something new and very special. For me there is no other vocalist like Ronnie.
Last but not least I have to add; all I ever wanted was to meet Ronnie in person but sadly it didn't work but I have great memories and I am so thankful that I had the chance to see him live on stage in 2000 (Magica tour) in Bad Laasphe and in 2009 with Heaven and Hell in my hometown Gießen. Ronnie was and is awesome. And I am so happy that Ronnie sends little signs from time to time. He sent me many "rainbows" and every time I see a "rainbow rising" I know that it's Ronnie and I whisper "Thank you Ronnie!"
I do many things to help Ronnie's magic live on like spreading videos and pics and Ronnie's lyrics. Ronnie's magic will shine on forever!
And now to the special Dio family I met over the years; I thank you all for being a part of my life. Dio fans are the best and loveliest people in the world. Thank you for being there during the hard times and beyond. I wouldn't know what to do without you. A very special "thank you" to all of Ronnie's real-life friends and band members that I met over the years. Thank you for becoming friends. I know you are and forever will be Ronnie's pride and joy!!! And I am so proud to call you my friends. I am honored Ronnie sent YOU, his friends, my way as he knew how sad I was and still am. As Ronnie knew that I am so sad he sent me the best gift and so took action and sent his friends my way and I am really so thankful for that! So thank you to all of YOU for being there for me, it means the world to me. I hope that I can meet you sometime when you are in Germany. Let me know when you are in Germany and I will try to arrange a meeting to say "HI" in person! YOU ALL ROCK. As Ronnie would say "WE ROCK!!"
Vinnie Moore (UFO): I have been a fan of Ronnie since first hearing Rainbow when I was a kid. Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Rising, Long Live Rock and Roll and On Stage were on my turntable constantly and had a huge impact on me as a musician. RJD has been one of my favorite lyricists and singers ever since. And Sabbath's Heaven and Hell record is in my mind the greatest Heavy Metal record ever made. I was fortunate enough to meet Ronnie a few times over the years and, wow, what an incredibly nice person. Honestly, without a doubt one of the nicest guys I have ever met. I will never forget Ronnie driving me to the airport in LA and filling me in on some of his lyrics that I couldn't quite make out from the Sabbath and Rainbow albums. That was a very special moment for me. I am thankful for the music he left all of us. God bless ya, Ronnie.
Ramy Ali (FREEDOM CALL): In my eyes Ronnie James Dio was and still is one of the strongest and most important voices in the history of Rock music.
I got to know him late; it was the period of his solo career when he released Holy Diver. What an album! I can remember lying on the floor beside the speakers of my stereo and listening to this album every day for almost a year because it was such a blast. The song "Holy Diver" is a song so everlastingly great in composition and expression. I think I knew every detail of this one as well as the rest of the album.
Chris Bay (FREEDOM CALL): The Last in Line had the same effect on me. I was addicted to watching the video of "The Last in Line" over and over again. He was able to write a second album that was as great as the first.
His solo albums sparked my curiosity and found my way to Black Sabbath and Rainbow. Outstanding for me was the album Mob Rules; a killer record that I listened to a lot over the years. I regard Rainbow's Rising as the same type of milestone.
Then Dio released Sacred Heart. Oh my god, he made it again. I love this album and I watched the video for the song "Rock 'n' Roll Children" even more than the others. Lucky for me as a kid, I saw Dio on this tour and it was one of THE experiences for me.
Rock music lost a unique voice that outstanding until the end. Dio was a great inspiration; not so much in WHAT I would do in music, but THAT I wanted to make music.
R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio.
Tim Aymar (PHARAOH): I've been impressed and influenced by Ronnie from my first listen of Rainbow's Rising when I was in high school. When he joined Black Sabbath for Mob Rules, it changed me. Back then I was in a cover band, learning the ropes, and his style definitely rubbed off on me. His simplicity, his evil and bluesy chromatic melodies, his self-harmonization, and his lyrics inspired me a great deal as I eventually found my own true voice and still strive to touch listeners the way his music touched me. His passion made it all so real, so vivid, so Metal. I finally got to see Ronnie sing live on his 64th birthday. You'd never have known it if he hadn't announced it. What that meant to me is that there is no set limit for how long you can make Metal. You never have to grow old, wishing you could still be following your dream. He followed it to the very end. I'll take that as a lesson as well.
Robb Weir (TYGERS OF PAN TANG): I was invited to go and see Dio on the Intermission tour back in 1986, at the Newcastle City Hall in the UK. Newcastle is my hometown and the City Hall is a great place to play. I duly arrived at the back stage door and was met by two huge security men. To my surprise one of them who was very softly spoken said, "come in Mr. Dio is expecting you!" I had been in the backstage of the City hall many times, both when we performed and as a guest, so I knew my way around. Down some stairs and there you are at the door of the big lounge/dressing room. I opened the door and there was Ronnie with his hand held out waiting to shake mine. "Hi Robb how are you doing?" It was the first time we had met each other and you could just tell he was a lovely man. Ronnie immediately offered me a beer and we sat down on the old leather settees and started talking like two old women that had known each other for years. He was a very intelligent, kind, considerate man with a fantastic knowledge of all music.
"Long live Rock and Roll." We salute you Mr. Ronnie Dio.
Jarvis Leatherby (NIGHT DEMON): I will never forget when I was twelve years old and I purchased the Black Sabbath album Heaven and Hell. I was in love with Sabbath at the time and the cover of this album immediately jumped out at me from the record store rack. My mom only had a cassette player in the car so I couldn't listen to it until we arrived home. I remember that long car ride home looking at the booklet and being in total shock that I didn't see Ozzy Osbourne's name or face!!! Who the hell was Ronnie James Dio on vocals?! I was so upset that I made my mom take me right back to the store so I could return it. Much to my dismay, the record store clerk said they were not able to give me a refund or exchange because I had already opened the package. I sucked it up and took it for what it was. I was expecting this to be a terrible version of Black Sabbath I hadn't even known about with some other guy on lead vocals. Much to my surprise, after the first listen, I just could not stop playing this album! Ronnie became a god to me! His voice was so powerful! His lyrics so in-depth! This was my gateway to discovering Dio, Rainbow, and the other great Sabbath albums he was a part of. The rest is history.
Years later when I was 18 years old, I started to promote concerts in Southern California. When the opportunity to put on a Dio show on the Magica tour came along I immediately accepted and off to the races we went! The show was so good and Ronnie was one of the nicest and most gracious people I have ever met in my life! No rock star attitude whatsoever. He even made a point after the show to meet all of the security and bar staff at the venue and thank them for their hard work. To top it off, Ronnie signed a picture for me with the words "thanks for the magic"! I think about him almost everyday. It's a shame he is not here today to see how appreciated he has become but I know he is looking down on all of us, guiding us through our Heavy Metal journeys.
I miss you Ronnie. Thanks for the magic.
Sammy DeJohn (RUTHLESS): Ronnie James Dio; a great man, a great voice, a great front man, a great influence. Ronnie is one of the main reasons I started singing. When I first heard his voice on Rainbow's Rising, I was hooked. I knew that's what I wanted to do. Then seeing him live and how he would command the stage with the power of that voice and his mystical charisma. He would draw you in and tell you a story. And even though I only got to shake his hand once, he didn't ignore me, he reached out to me. He was a true human being.
I, along with the rest of the world, miss you Ronnie James Dio. You have influenced me from the beginning and you still influence me in my music and everyday life today. R.I.P. RONNIE JAMES DIO... never to be forgotten!!!
Yakir Shochat (HAMMERCULT): Ronnie James Dio was the voice of Heavy Metal and it's impossible to summarize what his legacy meant to me in a few sentences.
Ronnie kept performing until the last few years of his career (9 months) and was still going strong and sounding awesome. He suffered from cancer but still completed the shows he committed to, giving the fans what they have waited for so long to see and hear.
That kind of dedication to Heavy Metal, to the fans and the music, is what makes him one of a kind. I truly believe that impacted me the most, even stronger than his amazing musical career, which I grow up listening to (and imitating) as a teenager.
Marc Storace (KROKUS): I came down that long road that took me away from my beloved Maltese Islands in search of fulfilling my dream for the love of Hard Rock music. I grew up with Soul and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones until Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin became my mainstay diet, together with a big bunch of other fine rock artists and Ronnie James Dio is on that list.
Before joining Krokus, my trials and tribulations with Prog Rockers TEA took me from London to Switzerland and back to London, where like many artists, I went back to keeping a day job while trying my luck with my new band during my spare time. I enjoyed a lucky escapade auditioning for Rainbow singing Ronnie's version of "Man on the Silver Mountain" with Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, Don Airey and the late great Cozy Powell. After that came a weekend jam with Krokus and the rest is history www.krokusonline.com
At the end of an eight-year stint touring the world and mostly the USA with Krokus, I met and settled with my wife in Basel, Switzerland. One night Dio played at the local rock club, the world famous Z7, and it was here that we met and chatted backstage for the first, and sadly, the last time. He was the sweet soft-spoken friendly person they always said he was, and we talked for a while, him leading the way, mostly about our individual experiences with Rainbow and the mysterious Mr. Blackmore. It was a short but very intense encounter with a singer I admired and one that I cherish till today.
Meeting his dear wife Wendy on this year's Monsters of Rock Cruise sort of completed the experience. I told her, "Ronnie loved you so I love you too." God bless.
Scott Waldrop (WALPYRGUS/TWISTED TOWER DIRE): You get the sense that Dio was simply a good human. Dio never snorted Ozzy's urine. He never became the legal guardian of an underage Hawaiian girl. He never needed to name drop Sweet Sweet Connie in his lyrics to bring the rock. He never harmed a winged creature for novelty or any of the other goofy reasons we hail our rockers as anti-heroes. My older brother was into the album Heaven and Hell when it came out and so that was planted in my brain at an early age which (at the time) was some pretty creepy music for a 6 year old to digest. It definitely left its mark on me. One of the tightest and most professional live performances I ever saw was Dio at the 9:30 club in Washington DC during the 90's. He's one of the few celebrities whose death choked me up. He'll always be missed, but even when he was alive he was celebrated as the spirit of Metal, so he'll live on and on, echoing into eternity.
Athenar (MIGNIGHT): When I first got the Holy Diver album 1984 (I know Last in Line came out in 84 but it wasn't out yet) the cover alone was worth the price. Then it got even better when you turned it upside down and "Dio" actually read "devil"! I won't go on and on about RJD's incredible talents because anybody who has at least partial hearing and half a brain can understand the man's genius. Hell, even if you're totally deaf you can still feel the majesty in his rumbling. RAWLRIGHT!
Jeremy Golden (OWNER OF HEAVEN AND HELL RECORDS): I was sixteen when I first saw Dio on the Strange Highways tour. After the show me and my friends went around to the back of the venue where we found the typical scene of people hanging out with armloads of vinyl, posters, dollar bills, and whatever else they could get signed. When Dio appeared a crowd formed around him of course. He stood outside and talked with everyone, signed everything, and posed for pictures. At this time I was now sitting on a car kind of behind him just waiting for the crowd to continue thinning out. And when the last couple of people said good night and walked away Ronnie turned around to see me sitting on the car. "Hi Jeremy how are you?'' he said. "Hi Ronnie, can I call you Ronnie?", I replied. "Why certainly" he said. "Ronnie where do you get the power?'', I asked. Yes I know it seems cheesy question. He then rolled out his hand as if he was going to present the appearance of some sort of magical orb and he replied, "well Jeremy it comes from the soul". And at that moment it seemed so surreal. Nothing else seemed to be around us, just he and I were in this world, that single moment that seemed to last so long. That was all I remember from that meeting. On the trip home that night I kept thinking of the meeting and I said to my friend Doug who was driving, "he knew my name and I never introduced myself". Doug looked into the rear view mirror back at me and replied, "that is because Dio is magic". And that is how my first meeting with Dio went down.
That story says everything about Dio and what he was, and what he is. Dio is magic and Dio is the voice that told us all that "the power" comes from the soul.
I, like many around the world, cried the day he passed on. Later that night I stood on top of a hill and prayed; prayed to no other god than Ronnie James Dio. That night I threw up my horns to heaven and then quickly dropped them to hell. I have not given the horns since because I deem no one worthy enough for that salute. It was my ritual, my way of saying goodbye.
Killian Khan (KILLER KHAN): Ronnie James Dio was and still is one of the handful of singers that inspired me as a singer and a songwriter and even to this day has an influence over my performance and lyrical phrasing in the songs I compose. From the first time I heard "Man on the Silver Mountain" as a child I was hooked by Ronnie's great voice and power and on through his years with Black Sabbath where I saw them perform on the Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules tours and eventually saw him with his own band in the mid 80's and the 90's and again in 2003, I was impressed at his power and range even at 61. Ronnie never cheated his fans as he always gave his all every time I saw him perform. I've learned a great deal watching and listening to him and his professionalism and I do miss him but will always have him in my mind and in my soul as I will continue to cherish his work.
Mitchell Allred (DOGBANE): It wasn't easy growing up a metalhead in rural N.C. during the early to mid 1980's. The only places to acquire any albums at all were limited to Rose's Department and King's Hardware store located on the opposite ends of my hometown. I would run to the music sections of these two stores every time my family would go into the city. This, however, did me no good, as my parents were not going to shell out their hard earned money for their son to get a musical fix. What was a young fellow to do? Eventually a friend of mine turned me onto Columbia House. For those of you who do not know about Columbia House, it was a music club around at the time. Initially you would get twelve albums on cassette for a penny and the agreement of purchasing a number of additional albums at a later date. It's not the kind of deal meant for an irresponsible teenager. Among my selections was Dio's The Last in Line. Eventually the bills started coming in and I was found out by my parents. I was forced to return my treasured albums, at least almost all of them. I told them I lost The Last in Line. This did not sit well with a family that frowned severely on what was perceived as stealing. As they say down south "I got a whip'n" for that. I'm not sure what this says about my moral character at the time. I think it speaks volumes about my admiration of Ronnie's music. Ronnie's music left a mark on me that remains to this day. When an adult told me my musical tastes were "noise" or that they were played by talentless musicians I could hold up Ronnie to the contrary. The mastery Ronnie held over his craft was something even they could not deny. I never regretted taking that "whip'n."
Kevin Davis (DOGBANE): I remember blasting Rainbow Rising many, many times; it blew me away. I was equally mind blown when Dio joined Sabbath. Going to see the movie Heavy Metal really drove it home for me hearing "The Mob Rules" in the soundtrack of a movie on the big screen was fucking awesome!
I loved Ronnie James Dio!!!
Ronnie Dean (HEXENHAMMER US): My personal favorite Ronnie James Dio moment; in '86 Dio was on the Intermission tour and they came to the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, TN. The guys in our band were going to the show that night so earlier that day we took a big white bed-sheet and painted "HexenHammer Loves DIO!" in big black letters with his logo on it. When the show started we were in the front-row up against the barricade holding up our banner. Right off the bat Ronnie James Dio looks at us and takes a second to read our sign. He comes over and leans down, takes the banner out of our hands, holds it up over his head and walks from one side of the stage to the other showing it to the crowd. We also handed him some Polaroid photos, Dio drawings and other cheesy stuff. He actually took everything and stood there a moment looking at it onstage, during the middle of the song. He could have just thrown the stuff into the crowd or laid it down or whatever. But he took the time to fold up the banner along with the other stuff and walked backstage and did whatever with it. He comes back out, gives us a thumbs up and a nod and goes back into singing the song never missing a beat. We were high off of that for months! Ronnie James Dio, as well as being the most talented Rock vocalist, seemed like such a genuinely cool person and he treated everyone with respect. He was one of a kind.
Rob Urbinati (SACRIFICE): People ask me what my favorite song and album is and my answer is always the same; "Heaven and Hell" is the best-written, epic masterpiece of a song ever crafted. It is lyrically and musically perfect. Mob Rules is an album that I can listen to from start to finish on any day, no weak songs, and "Sign of the Southern Cross" comes in as my second favorite song ever.
Ronnie James Dio will always be remembered as the best vocalist in Metal and only Halford is in his class. Talented Metal vocalists are always missing the one thing that made him better; with his smooth delivery he still sounds as heavy as Corpsegrinder.
Keith Dave (EUGENIC DEATH): "Dixie Lee Junction," "Kill the King," "Die Young" and "Sunset Superman." These are a few of the amazing songs that come to mind when thinking of Ronnie. The album Heaven and Hell made me a huge Black Sabbath fan. To this day it's still my favorite Sabbath album and all because Ronnie is singing. I got the chance to see Dio with Sabbath when they went by the name Heaven and Hell. I was so blown away by the performance. He had such great charisma and stage presence. His vocals were impeccable live. Out of all of the great front men of his day, Ronnie's vocals were still spot on. He is definitely a huge influence and inspiration to me. I'm very grateful that I had a chance to watch him perform.
Denise Dufort (GIRLSCHOOL): I loved Ronnie James Dio. I was a massive fan of his when I first heard him sing with Rainbow. Over the years we started to see him with various bands like Sabbath and got to know him and then when he agreed to sing on our album Legacy we were really honored that he sang on "I Spy". It is now one of our favorite songs ever!
I will always remember him for having one of the best Rock voices and for being one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. R.I.P. Ronnie.
Sven Luedke & Klaus Dirks (MOB RULES): Mob Rules were able to experience the kindness of Ronnie James Dio when we were playing a show as support act for Dio on June, the 7th 2005. After Dio's show our vocalist Klaus Dirks and guitarist Sven Luedke lined up in front of the door to Ronnie's backstage room to ask humbly for an autograph. After he was informed by the security that two guys from the support band were waiting with all the other fans he immediately got them into the room, embraced both of them and apologized for not knowing they were waiting for him. He introduced Klaus and Sven to the rest of the band, invited them to take from the catering and had a long and friendly chat with them. While he was signing the autographs he mumbled he should charge money because of Mob Rules using the name Mob Rules. He almost could not stop laughing because of Klaus' and Sven's faces immediately turned red. Dio was one of the nicest and most collegial men in the music biz.
We all miss him and his great music and still salute in respect.
Sami Pilve (LOUDGUNS): Ronnie James Dio was the ultimate voice of Heavy Metal. His songs and lyrics gave me dreams, visions and the courage to break myself free from society's expectations. I loved his personality and dreamed that someday I could be his guitar player. Without Ronnie, my imagination, composing skills and spirit would not be the same. One particular song of his almost saved my life when I was 15 so I guess we are all Rock 'n' Roll children! Dio, Dio, Dio...
Andrey Ind (GRENOUER): I was a teenager during the last years of the "Evil Empire", a.k.a. the USSR. Rock music (and Heavy Metal as a part of it) was not under a ban yet contrary to the civilized world we could not get enough information about what we were listening to. You could get a magnetic cassette with a great album but all information you could obtain was the name of the band. No idea of the year of the release, its title, track listing, line-up or lyrics. Later it was a nice surprise to realize that the amazing voice of the Rainbow singer (on some albums) and the Black Sabbath singer (on some albums) and Dio, with that spectacular skateboarding music video shown once on TV ("Wild One"), belonged to one person. The iron curtain fell down and fans started to get firsthand information and kids of today with Internet access might hardly understand the feeling of holding an LP or a CD with a booklet. Writing "Dio" on the walls or school desks was the best thing because it had only three letters and you could disappear unnoticed unlike the poor fellows trying to scratch long logos. Then Dio's voice emerged again in Black Sabbath and that seemed so appropriate. Dehumanizer sounded heavier than any Thrash or Death Metal band and made my skin crawl. I am sure a lot of people had similar feelings and all of us were enchanted by interviews (no matter how short or long) with Ronnie James Dio where he was winningly amiable. I had a chance to see Ronnie James Dio only once live on stage, here in Saint Petersburg, Russia and this was again the Sabbath thing - monumental "Heaven and Hell" - and saying that it was epic will hardly explain. Dio's creative legacy followed my growing up and his early departure marked that the season of our youth is gone forever.
I cannot say I was die-hard fan of Dio but I ALWAYS admired him as a person and a vocalist (and really his legacy followed my growing up). I have just checked my CDs and noticed I have a lot of Dio stuff here; Rainbow, Sabbath, Heaven & Hell, Holy Diver, Dream Evil, Strange Highways, Angry Machines, Magica, and I am not a true metalhead! I love a lot of various types of music!
Dio deserves a lot of praise and it is so great how he influenced peoples' lives in different parts of the world!
Christer "Krunt" Andersson (TAD MOROSE): I am a guitar player and I usually don't pay that much attention to singers but there are a few that really grab my attention, such as Jon Oliva, King Diamond, Carl Albert, Tony Martin, Ian Gillan and Midnight. Of course I had heard Black Sabbath with Ozzy and that was okay but nothing that really took hold of me. A cousin of mine played the Live Evil album for me but I thought it was too slow and boring back then. I guess I was too young. I used to play ice hockey when I was a kid and from that I got a broken nose, which led to me getting headaches pretty often. I found the perfect cure for that! I wanted some "slow" Metal to listen to while I tried to relax so I bought the Heaven and Hell album. When I woke up with a headache I drank a cup of coffee, had an aspirin and a smoke and put on that album. It worked perfectly! And it really got me into Black Sabbath with Dio. My nose has now been fixed and the headaches are long gone but I am still a huge Black Sabbath fan. And of course I got hold of all the Rainbow and Dio albums as well. I am perhaps a weird guy but to me, Black Sabbath is with Dio on vocals. I also prefer Tony Martin and Ian Gillan over Ozzy in Black Sabbath. Sorry, but that's what I think. Not that I don't like Ozzy, but I think he did better on his own. I never met Ronnie so I have no idea what kind of person he was but his singing is truly amazing! He had a unique voice and the way he sang really caught my attention, which says something since I'm a grumpy old guitar player. I also got the chance to see my favorite Black Sabbath line-up live on the Sweden Rock Festival although they called themselves Heaven and Hell. That was something I never thought would happen and that I would never get the chance to see it. I smiled for a long time after that! One very special thing with Ronnie's voice is that it is higher in pitch then you might think. It doesn't sound that high pitched when you listen to it but try to sing it yourself!
Tad Morose is on the Legacy - A Tribute to Ronnie James Dio album that will be released on May 22nd. It is an album with a lot of Swedish Metal bands and with quite a few interesting special line-ups. This is made possible thanks to Anders "Bagge" Baglien and all the profit goes to the Ronnie James Dio Stand up and Shout Cancer Found. So please check that out! https://www.facebook.com/LegacyDio
Dio's music and magic voice will be with us forever so turn it up! Play LOUD!
Leighton Holmes (IRON KINGDOM): Dio taught me that you don't need physical stature to be a giant or larger than life. You don't need to be soft or weak to live for love and tolerance. He showed me you could dance in the shadows and still bask in the light. Dio taught me the true meaning of Heavy Metal because after all we are all just rainbows in the dark.
Tom Angelripper (SODOM): I remember back in '79, I went to our local record store searching for some new stuff. I got Rainbow Rising and went home to listen to it. That was the first time I got in touch with Ronnie's incredible voice that fits so perfectly with Blackmore's music. That was also the very first time I bought a full-length album with my own money.
If you ask me for my all-time top ten albums you will find Dio's Holy Diver on my list as it is one of the most pioneering albums of the 80's. Black Sabbath's Live Evil is my favorite live album. I never heard so much intensity and atmosphere on a live record before.
I enjoyed seeing and hearing him many times with different bands on nearly every festival in world and I will never forget him.
Miss you, Ronnie!
Ronni le Tekrø (TNT): TNT will always cherish Dio and keep his legacy alive. He was the true founder of what we call Metal today. TNT went to see him live in 1983 at Hamar in Norway. He had a tremendous effect on us and truly inspired a new generation of young metalheads. We miss his presence in today's Rock scene. Love and respect.
Michael Ehré (LOVE.MIGHT.KILL): For me personally Ronnie James Dio was the ultimate Rock-/Metal singer of all time. He not only created melodies like no one else but also had a gift for writing lyrics that take you with him to another dimension. It didn't happen by accident that he was singing on some of the best Rock and Metal albums of the last century because he was mainly responsible for the high quality of these productions. I grew up listening to Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Dio and it had a huge impact on my musical career. If you listen to some of Love.Might.Kill's songs you'll surely notice it. I always had a feeling I would meet him but unfortunately I never did and I was really shocked and sad when he passed away five years ago.
His music will live forever and will surely be heard by the next generations to come as there will never be someone like him again.
Molde (STONEGRIFF): When the sad news of Dio's death reached me, the world stopped for a few seconds. I lost my breath and really didn't find it again until a few weeks later. It may sound strange and even a bit of an exaggeration to react this way because of the death of a man that I never had the pleasure to meet. It may also sound a bit cliché or like something you are supposed to say when asked to write something about a dead person. However, nothing could be more wrong and I still miss him. Besides being the most gifted singer and songwriter ever he appeared to be the nicest of them all. He simply glowed when performing and I had the pleasure of seeing him live a thousand times since he often played in Sweden. I remember one time in the late nineties when he played at an old theatre. The place where so packed that we literally couldn't move but everybody still had a big smile on their face like people were watching the show of their life. It turned up later that some dude had sold hundreds of fake tickets for this concert.
I grew up with Dio's music and I felt connected with him through his lyrics and the way he sang them. In a way I can't say I have experienced this with any other artist. His world was a pure magic place where anything could happen, where sorcery and dragons still existed. Rainbows and shiny diamonds were all over yet it was also a dark world with evil lurking everywhere. It feels like yesterday when I came home from the record store with a piece of black gold and almost religiously put it on the turntable. Holy Diver, what a holy trip to Metal nirvana! It wasn't long before I had both Sabbath and Rainbow in my collection. It felt like a miracle that the music I had just found and loved existed before in many different forms. Thanks to Dio, I also found Iommi and Blackmore and honestly I have never done better finding cool things at the record store in just three months.
You could say that the music of Dio was not only a major part of my world as a teenager but it would also will be a major part for many years to come with all the metaphors.
As much as it has been written and as much as it has been said, Dio was one of the greatest and it will take ages before the world will experience anything like him again. I can only humbly agree since for me he was truly one of a kind in this world.
Ida Haukland (TRIOSPHERE): While it perhaps was black metal that got me into music and Metal, Ronnie James Dio was the voice that inspired me the most to take on the role as a lead singer and, more importantly, the qualities I wanted to have as a singer. His passion and sincerity in every note and word demands your attention and you always believe him with all your heart. The voice can easily corrupt and pollute amazing music or add a dimension of perfect understanding of what music is to its creator. Needless to say, Dio is among the role models for the latter.
Triosphere had the honor of supporting Dio on his last show in Norway on the 30th of May 2008. It was an almost surreal experience to perform our show in front of the Holy Diver backdrop covering the entire back wall of the stage!
We were so excited to experience the magic of this person live and in retrospect it has become an even more special and treasured memory.
With Ronnie you always feel and believe the music and his soul. His ability to do this for his listeners is, in my humble opinion, one of the most important aspects of his legacy and an ability that always will inspire me to try become a better singer and voice of my band!
Enid Williams (GIRLSCHOOL): We first supported Dio when he sang with Sabbath at Hammersmith in 1980. A couple of years back we played with him at the Astoria and his voice still sounded incredible. Having him sing on "I Spy", a track on our last album, was such an honor. He was so complimentary you'd think we were doing him the favor! What a man...
Erwin Suetens (FIREFORCE): Ronnie James Dio was to me THE Metal voice and how a Metal voice should sound...always! My favorite "alone-on-an-island-album" is and will always be On Stage from Rainbow! The album that got me into intense riffing and great song structures is Heaven And Hell. His voice gives me shivers, warmth and intense emotions. He will never be forgotten!
Josey Hindrix (OSTROGOTH): I guess it would be hard for me to imagine that one single day could pass without the words, sounds or voice of Ronnie James Dio. There is not a single moment where Dio's voice would not be fitting or, god forbid, disturbing to what I am doing at that point in time. There will always be an appropriate song be it Elf, Rainbow, Dio or Sabbath.
From every era of his career you always felt his voice came straight from the heart, deliberately delivered and aimed right at its target; your heart.
If I remember correctly I must have been just shy of my 13th birthday when I first heard Dio's voice on a friend's record player and it blew me away. I had heard some good vocalist before. I had discovered the likes of Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, AC/DC and more but this was something different. This voice touched deeper. There was warmth, there were highs and lows, a full range of emotions and most of all I could get lost in his voice. The songs seem to call out to me. I could roll and I could feel and I would not stop turning into the black sheep of the family.
I'd had to wait until I was 16 to see Dio perform live for the first time. I had not seen too many "big" concerts and always stood in the back, being a small scrawny kid. But when I saw Dio appear on that stage and he started singing I had to move forward, work myself through the crowd and get there right in front of that stage. By the time he started "Man on the Silver Mountain" I had ensured my spot right up front and endured the bruises I collected along the way. But I was there, right upfront, only a few feet away from him. And when he stood right on the edge of his stage and sang "You're the man, you are the man... the man on the silver mountain" I managed to grab his hand and hold it for what seemed to me an eternity. In might have only been two tenths of a second, but it was significant to me. This man was a God and I touched his divinity. That was the impression it left on this 16 year old.
If only one time in my life I could be close to that...
I've seen Ronnie perform several times since then, in many different line-ups, and never once did his performance lack conviction, never once was I disappointed or left wanting. He was a true master at his game and gave all that he could, delivering time and again. Thank you Mr Dio.
I remember the last performance I saw from him at Graspop when he said, "We're not gonna shout at you, I don't believe we have to!" Of course you don't; we would listen if you whispered.
And true to that he never did. He always sang, never shouted, never screamed.
I've had the great pleasure since then to play in several bands, amongst them some cover bands where we would play Dio's songs and every time I sing one of his songs live it brings me a special glow and hope I do them justice.
I have never met him in person so I cannot comment on that aspect but the impact he had on my life and my approach to the way I sing is immense. From the careful articulation to the way I hope I can let my voice speak from my heart and soul. I am grateful to be one of your Rock'n'Roll Children...
Tom Phillips (WHILE HEAVEN WEPT): While I first heard that life-altering voice on Heaven And Hell via my older brother's record collection not too long after it was released (the era of Sabbath that most resonated with him, largely due to Dio) and more or less became "musically independent" myself with the NWOBHM and his solo career, it was journeying back to the records released with Rainbow while I was a toddler that changed everything for me. The combination of Dio, Blackmore, Powell and Carey or Rosenthal is the benchmark for everything as far as I'm concerned. It is the very best of Heavy Metal, yet elevated, adventurous, fantastical, mystical, MUSICAL and not just primality or weight. Fact is, I'm not articulating anything that anyone my age doesn't know already here but for those from subsequent generations who aren't so familiar, go back to Rising and Long Live Rock And Roll to hear virtually flawless examples of what laid the foundations for modern heavy metal along with Sabbath and Priest of course. I have absolutely nothing against Purple or Zeppelin and am not questioning their role but things like Sabbath, Dio-era Rainbow and Priest, well, Dio-era Sabbath for that matter, in terms of imagery, style, sound, lyrics is where all else came from. To this day, that voice and those albums mean as much to me as they did to the young and impressionable me and in fact even more now that the majority of "Metal" today has lost its way from the paths blazed by our forefathers. RIP RJD; our loss remains as profound as your legacy, and your character is something so many more can still learn from. \m/
Paul Ray (FALSE PROPHET): I first heard of Dio when I heard the song "The Last in Line" and I was just blown away. Since there was no Internet in my younger days the search was on to find more out about this newly found musician. Dio just brought out the best in whatever music project he was a part off, whether it was his solo material, Rainbow, Black Sabbath or Heaven and Hell. He always seemed to give it his all. He would remain relevant in the music scene to the very end. "The Devil Cried," from one of his later albums, is one of my most favorite songs.
Even with all the fame and fortune, Ronnie James Dio remained one of the most grounded and grateful musicians ever.
A long time ago I got to meet Dio. I just wanted an autograph and he and Craig Goldie stood there and took the time to talk to us and even asked my name, which he wrote on the concert ticket he autographed. He was such an amazing person and artist and is greatly missed by all.
Jeff Neal (DOGBANE): Ronnie James Dio was not only an influence on me as a singer, I am sure he was to many other singers as well. He was also an influence on the way that musicians should treat their fan base. He would say he wanted to give back to the ones that gave to him, and you could see it was honest and from his heart. To me, Ronnie James Dio represents the true meaning of what it is to be a legend.
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