Stars Honour Dio

As well as the huge number of comments and tributes collected in the previous report following the death of Ronnie James Dio, several more stars have written at length about the singer.

Collected below are blogs, statements and letters about Dio from the likes of Lars Ulrich, Darrell Roberts, Robb Flynn and Matt Heafy, paying tribute to what many believe was the finest voice in metal history.


Lars Ulrich, Metallica drummer
Dear Ronnie,

I just got off stage in Zagreb. I was met with the news that you've passed on. I'm kind of in shock, but I wanted you to know that you were one of the main reasons I made it onto that stage to begin with. When I first saw you in Elf, opening for Deep Purple in 1975, I was completely blown away by the power in your voice, your presence on stage, your confidence, and the ease with which you seemed to connect to 6,000 Danish people and one starry-eyed 11 year old, most of whom were not familiar with Elf's music. The following year, I was so psyched when I heard the results of you joining forces with my favourite guitar player. You guys sounded so right for each other and I instantly became Rainbow's #1 fan in Denmark. In the fall of 1976, when you played your first show in Copenhagen, I was literally in the front row and the couple of times we made eye contact you made me feel like the most important person in the world. The news that you guys were staying in town on your day off somehow embedded itself in my brain and I made the pilgrimage to the Plaza Hotel to see if I could somehow grab a picture, an autograph, a moment, anything. A few hours later you came out and were so kind and caring... pictures, autographs and a couple minutes of casual banter. I was on top of the world, inspired and ready for anything. Rainbow came to Copenhagen a couple more times over the next few years and each time you guys blew my mind, and for a good three years were my absolute favourite band on this planet. Over the years I've been fortunate enough to run into you a half dozen times or so and each time you were as kind, caring and gracious as you were in 1976 outside the hotel. When we finally got a chance to play together in Austria in 2007, even though I may not have let on, I was literally transformed back to that little snot nosed kid who you met and inspired 31 years earlier and it was such a fucking honor and a dream come true to share a stage with you and the rest of the legends in Heaven & Hell. A couple of weeks ago when I heard that you were not going to be able to make it to the Sonisphere shows that we would be sharing this June, I wanted to call you and let you know that I was thinking of you and wish you well, but I kind of pussied out, thinking the last thing you needed in your recovery was feeling obligated to take a phone call from a Danish drummer/fan boy. I wish I'd made that call. We will miss you immensely on the dates, and we will be thinking of you with great admiration and affection during that run. It seemed so right to have you out on tour with the so-called Big Four since you obviously were one of the main reasons that the four bands even exist. Your ears will definitely be burning during those two weeks because all of us will be talking, reminiscing and sharing stories about how knowing you has made our lives that much better.

Ronnie, your voice impacted and empowered me, your music inspired and influenced me, and your kindness touched and moved me. Thank you.

Much love,

Lars."


Darrell Roberts, ex-W.A.S.P. guitarist
Beginning May 16th 2010 my world will never be the same.

For me, Dio was just one of those people that seemed like they would be around forever. Flawlessly singing those songs for eternity.

Although early Black Sabbath (with Ozzy) will always be one of my favorite bands, and guitar riffs like Into The Void,Hole In The Sky and War Pigs were a huge influence on me... I didn't really become obsessed with Sabbath until I heard Heaven And Hell.

It was the perfect voice combined with the perfect music to create magic!

One of my fondest memories was created many years ago when I first moved to Los Angeles. I was staying with a couple friends in North Hollywood that were from my hometown of Cincinnati/Dayton Ohio. One of my roommates was a huge Dio/Sabbath fan and said she heard that Ronnie hung out at a little pub in the Valley. After a little research we found the pub and sure enough,there he was sitting at the bar... It was Dio! I was barely old enough to get in, had never really met a 'famous' person and was basically a Dio super groupie. To my amazement, he was the most down to earth, unpretentious, super cool guy I had ever talked to. We sat for a couple hours drinkin' beers and talking about music,guitar players and life in general. I couldn't believe it! I had just moved to LA and I am sitting having beers and talking music with Ronnie James Dio?! I thought LA was the greatest place on earth... Well it wasn't LA, He was just that special and it's never really happened since then.

In the last year and a half, since my departure from Five Finger Death Punch I have had a few offers to join bands or someone's project. I half jokingly said, Unless your last name is Dio, Osbourne or Hetfield, I respectfully decline - LOL! What I meant was that I have always wanted to do my own thing, put my own band together and feel like it's now or never. But... if given the chance to work with Dio (on any level) presented itself I would be there in a split second. On more than one occasion, I put packages of my work together and dropped them off at Wendy Dio's place of business... But sadly never got the call.

I have always imaged walking on a stage, guitar feeding back, and ripping into the Mob Rules riff with Ronnie standing next to me and that ridiculous voice roaring through my monitor... Oh a boy can dream can't he?

I guess May 16th, 2010 put an end to that fantasy, but only to a degree. I still have my albums, CDs, videos, memories and imagination.

Long live the most metal motherf**ker and greatest singer ever! All my love and appreciation to Ronnie James Dio! Thanks man


Matt Heafy, Trivium vocalist/guitarist
Ronnie James Dio - R.I.P.

Trivium had the privilege of meeting Dio while touring with Heaven & Hell in Japan in 2007. We were just happy to be on the shows and didn’t expect to spend any time with any of the guys. Every single night of that tour Heaven & Hell blew our minds; we were fans in awe of how good they were. They had it all and to watch a group of musicians that deep into their careers so absolutely on top of their game like that was inspiring.

One night after a show in Nagoya, I was able to pop in real quick to say 'hey' to Dio in his dressing room. I've been able to meet many heroes of mine in my life, but few have made impression on me like Ronnie James. He greeted me not as a support band member, but he welcomed me as a fellow musician and performer. He gave me a hug, invited a couple of us into his room where we all sat and talked and drank wine together. I remember our conversation crystal clear to this day. I told him how I met Bruce Dickinson on his BBC radio show and was asking Bruce about vocals and vocal techniques, and I shared with Dio that Bruce felt that I had started to develop my own vocal style and with work someday would further develop a stylistic similarity to Dio. Dio smiled and chatted about how he knew that Bruce was a fan of his voice, and from there we were able to just relax and talk shop about vocals and singing. Although it was a quick visit, Ronnie made me feel at home and was a really sweet dude. He gave us props, we finished our wine, we hugged and said 'See ya tomorrow.' It was amazing that I received vocal coaching from quite possibly the greatest metal voice of all time. I am truly grateful for the time he gave me and his personal insight into our shared craft. For that I will always be thankful."


Robb Flynn, Machine Head vocalist/guitarist
Dio was a true gentleman.

Machine Head had the opportunity to open for Heaven & Hell in May of 2007, and having never met or toured with Ronnie James Dio, it was a HUGE honor for all of us.

On the first night of the tour in Phoenix, Arizona we celebrated, uh, quite heavily, and though the Dio dressing was heavily fortified with an army of security, I somehow managed to bullshit my way in and say hello. He had no idea who I was, but acted like we were old friends. After that, he always made a point to poke his head in our dressing room and say 'hi,' or give Dave (McClain / drums) shit about 'his San Antonio Spurs choking,' or sometimes just to give us a $100-dollar bottle of wine they were going leave in their dressing room. All class.

He was a powerhouse singer. Incredible tone, and grit. His voice onstage was FUCKING LOUD!! Shockingly loud!! We were lucky enough to watch from side stage almost nightly, and all of us were blown away by how loud his voice was.

His memory was staggering. He remembered my wife's name almost a year later, after only a brief one-minute introduction, and it charmed her to no end. He remembered my name a year after touring with him, in a crowd of people, without missing a beat, and asked how my kids were and kissed me on both cheeks when we said goodbye. I turned to my friend and was like, 'Dude, Dio just remembered my name and kissed me on the cheek, fuckin' High 5!!

When my parents moved to Fremont, California as I began the seventh grade, it was a pretty lonely time for me. I became friends with a girl named Lori Kibby who played me the first heavy metal record I would ever hear. It was Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell. It terrified me, enthralled me, captured me entirely. The imagery, the name, the title, it made me want to listen over and over and over again, in particular the songs Heaven and Hell, Children Of The Sea and Die Young. My first garage band, covered Stand Up And Shout.

Would I have found metal without him? Maybe. But man, I feel so very fortunate to have had Ronnie James Dio as my first guide into the awesome world of metal.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything you've done for music, Ronnie. Horns."


Icarus Witch
As the world mourns the passing of the ultimate singer and front man in hard rock and heavy metal history, I wanted to share a bit of how Ronnie James Dio has directly affected and shaped the creation and impact of Icarus Witch.

I have had the pleasure to see Ronnie perform in concert many times over the years including concerts with Dio, Black Sabbath and Heaven & Hell (my biggest regret is never being able to see him front the mighty Rainbow once again). In the 1990s, when true metal was so unhip in America that the legendary Dio was once again playing the night club circuit, I had the pleasure to meet him as he performed at a club called The Button South in North Miami where I was working as a production manager. What struck me that night was that he was giving the same power and energy to the few hundred faithful at that room as he did when I saw him leading thousands at at an arena a few years prior. After the show, rather than being whisked away like many "stars" that played the room, he actually stood in the parking lot behind the venue, between the trash dumpster and the tour bus and met with, talked to, took pictures with and signed autographs for every single person that wanted to reach out to him. A true man of the people.

Years later, when the concept for Icarus Witch was being crystallized, I could think of no better song to introduce this band to the world with and explain what kind of music and passion we were looking to bring back than Falling Off The Edge Of The World. Our version of this gem from Sabbath's The Mob Rules became the very first song Icarus Witch would ever record and release back in 2004. This was on Evil Lives - A True Metal Tribute To Black Sabbath.

Fast forward to 2006, the band is now a few releases into our career and caught the attention of Diana DeVille, who works for Niji Management, the long time management company of Dio, run by his wife, Wendy Dio. Dianna and I became friends and she began managing Icarus Witch under the Golden Tower Entertainment moniker, a blessing that led us to such unique opportunities as getting endorsed by Dean Markley Strings and doing a meet & greet at their booth along with Dio and his band at the NAMM convention. Ultimately Dianna and Niji made our wildest childhood dreams come true when they invited Icarus Witch to open for Heaven & Hell! Everyone involved in that organization is so classy, professional and courteous, it was a true example of how Dio and his people could rise back to the top of the industry and still treat others at any level with the utmost respect.

Ronnie's musical inspiration is undeniable. My favourite quote that I've ever read about our band came in a piece that Britain's Metal Hammer magazine did on the resurgence of traditional metal where they said 'One of the best new bands to take up the NWOTM standard and carry it triumphantly into the future is Icarus Witch, a Pittsburgh [sic] based group that sound like Ronnie James Dio fronted Black Sabbath crash-landing in a Judas Priest gig." I took great pride in this compliment because I don't feel our vocalist at the time particularly sounded like Ronnie, but rather the writer was picking up on our overall vibe, energy and pacing.

Lyrically, Ronnie has no peer. He was a true magician with the pen. I can not think of another lyricist in history who could write so prolifically for one song, let alone a massive body of work spanning over 4 decades. He is the only one who could make every single line of a song sound like the type of profound prose that you would have carved as your epitaph. Lord knows how many school folders, restroom stalls and tattooed body parts have bore his poetic imagery over the years.

Yet beyond the obvious musical and lyrical inspirations we have borrowed from this master, the single largest source of inspiration comes from his character and fortitude. Think of the myriad trends and fads Dio has outlasted throughout his career. You're talking about everything from Flower Power to Disco to Hair Metal to Grunge to Nu Metal. As each era came and went, Ronnie got up on stage, threw the horns, cast his spell and belted out heart felt tales of rainbows, gypsies, dragons and mystery in THAT voice, the single most massive, instantly recognizable and commanding vocal snarl the world will ever hear. His Maloik was the ultimate middle finger to the trendy, fair weather music fans who did not have the heart to stick to their convictions. And when Ronnie took his final bow, he was once again on top of the world, playing, dark, heavy, epic rock music the way HE wanted to...for us, his legions. He is a god.

Like many die hard fans, I started getting texts as early as 2:30 in the morning, then these initial reports were thought to be unfounded and the world waited, confused and anxious. Yesterday at Icarus Witch's rehearsal when the rumors of his passing were confirmed, there was a strange, heavy pall over the session. Despite, or perhaps because of this, the band sounded more energized and powerful than ever and I think we feel better about respecting his legacy by throwing our passions into our music that much more as opposed to dwelling on the unfortunate inevitability's of a true evil like cancer.

Our deepest condolences to Wendy, Dianna and the family. Rest in peace Ronnie James Dio. We will carry your torch."


Doogie White, ex-Rainbow vocalist
"A very great man lost his life today.

Ronnie James Dio was one of, if not the greatest singer I ever heard. I remember trembling when I heard Rainbow Rising such was the passion and energy not only from Ritchie's guitar but from that voice that shone above all else.

He was also a jolly decent chap who had time for all fans come rain, wind or shine.

I first met Ronnie 10 years or so ago and he said " Ah! so ( maybe he had been in Japan) you are Doogie, I know who you are but never knew what you looked like. Come in son and have a glass of wine, is red okay?" This was back stage at the Wembley Arena. He dedicated Man On The Silver Mountain to me that night saying "to my new friend Doogie, you may have sung it, but I sang it first".

We met a few times after that and discussed the loss of his thumb in the bizarre gardening accident. We agreed gardening was the new RnR. I had a tremendous affection for the man. He was kind, considerate and wonderful fun.

My thoughts at this time go out to Wendy and to the extended Dio family. You do know how much he was and is loved, for his music, his singing, his humanity.

Catch the Rainbow.. Ronnie..Catch the Rainbow."


Brian May, Queen guitarist
"It's a shock to hear that Ronnie has gone. Even though we had all known he was battling with cancer for some time, he was such a wiry fighter, and of such an amazingly optimistic nature, I think I assumed he would go on forever.

Well, he fought to the very end ... was gearing up to go back out on tour ... I know this will be a very hard blow for my friend Tony Iommi. When I last saw Ronnie in Los Angeles, he was as full of life and positivity as anybody I've ever known ... and sang up a storm with Heaven and Hell in the Universal Amphitheatre. In my opinion, Ronnie was one of the creators of the genre of Heavy Metal. I'm not an expert on his work - there are many people much more knowledgeable than me ... but our paths crossed many times over the years, and I had clear glimpses of his unique spirit and personality. He was in many ways the antithesis of the current mould of TV-bred singers. He had no apparent desire for fame, in the sense that so many X-factor contestants seem to. He was not a TV face, a 'celebrity'. He just loved doing what he did. So, to his millions of fans, there was an unquestionable feeling of reality to his persona, his song-writing, and his performances. His lyric-writing was very distinctive, and set a style in Heavy Metal which has influenced many bands over the years. To me, it was as if his mind operated in layers - on the surface, a hard-working honest singer, with a great humanity and strong sense of humour - and underneath, in the world of his songs, his subconscious seemed to be populated by hobgoblins of all kinds, and palpable evil forever on the march. His lyrics, dark and mysterious, in tune with the Metal ethos, always represented the sword of goodness in triumph over evil. I don't know if he invented the Devil-Horn Salute, but he was certainly the man who, more than ever, made it a universal symbol, a world wide salute of Metal. He was universally loved in the community of Rock Music, and will be sorely missed.

RIP Ronnie.

Bri"


Mikael Åkerfelft, Opeth vocalist/guitarist
"I saw the news last night and I hated them. Ronnie James Dio is gone.... I love him almost like a family member, and I feel empty and lonely knowing he’s not around anymore. He sits on my wall as he has since my family moved in here. Can’t bring myself to hear him sing right now, even though I think it might be comforting if I did.

I was fortunate enough to meet him and share a few drinks with him once, and it’s a memory I will treasure to the end of my days. He blew my mind quite honestly. Thank you RJD for everything!

Our collective condoleances goes out to his families and friends and the musicians that were fortunate enough to work with him. I was thinking about this for quite some time, and I think we can say for sure that even if he was taken from us too soon (100 years from now would’ve been to soon), I’m sure he felt happy with his life and what he had achieved. But it hurts though, it really fucking hurts... I can’t stop thinking about it.

There is a massive hole in my heart. Love you Ronnie. Rest in peace.

Your fan Mikael Åkerfeldt."


Mats Levén, Therion vocalist
"The first concert I ever went to was Deep Purple, playing in Gothenburg on the Stormbringer tour (March 21st, 1975) Ritchie Blackmore had already recorded the first Rainbow album and this was his last tour with the Mark 3 lineup of Deep Purple.

I bought the first Rainbow album and when I heard Ronnie's voice I soon forgot about Deep Purple. The second album, Rising, is one of the important albums of my life and the song Stargazer in particular.

Already then I felt the power and the passion coming out from his heart and lungs... this was something new and exciting to me. Ronnie's voice still amazes me.

Like many others I was disappointed when Ronnie left Rainbow, but instead I enjoyed the new material with Black Sabbath and I still rate some of that stuff the best metal songs of all time.

I'd never seen Ronnie live but in 1983 he did his first Dio show in Sweden at Draken in Stockholm and I finally got to see him. I remember there was a fight in the front row and Ronnie stopped the band in the middle of a song and sorted it all out.

Southpaw supported Dio in Sweden in 1998 and I got to meet him, he was incredibly nice and a true gentleman - I treasure that memory. I was sneaking behind the monitor desk at one of his soundchecks and it was cool to hear his incredible voice from the monitors... no, it was like a PA on stage ha ha... it was very very loud.

After that I've seen him 3 - 4 times again with Dio, one memorable show was in Sao Paulo Brazil in 2004 before 6000 fans, they loved him.

Also saw 3 shows with Heaven & Hell, the first one at Sweden Rock in 2007 was without a doubt the best and also one of the few times that I had tears in my eyes at a concert. The impact of I and Sign of The Southern Cross was incredible.

When I recorded with Cozy Powell in 1997, he told me some great stories and I was hoping that one day Ronnie, Cozy and Ritchie might reform the classic lineup.

That day in April 1998 when Cozy died was a sad one and now, those last 24 hours have been heartbreaking - our hero is gone but his voice and music will live forever.

My sincerest condolences to Ronnie's close one's, M."


Joey Vera, Fates Warning/ex-Armored Saint bassist
His name shall be part of the very definition of the term Heavy Metal. All of us in this community owe a big part to him as he helped shape our entire genre. And he did it with complete originality and sincerity. He is the real deal.

By now you’ve read much about him and how every person who’d had the pleasure of meeting the man, use the words 'kind', 'nice', 'humble' and so on. I can tell you that these descriptions are truly accurate.

I had the honor of being on tour with Dio on two occasions. Once on his Magica tour in 2001 while I was in Armored Saint and then later in 2004 while I was touring with Anthrax. I would watch Ronnie every night side stage and I was continuously blown away by his high level of performance. I must have seen over 40 shows from this vantage point and I never, ever saw or heard a single flaw. You always knew he was a great singer but It was then that I was convinced that he was a gift to us from some other place. Then there’s all the times I saw him with Sabbath. I can’t even go on……..

When you have the privilege of meeting someone like Ronnie, an idol, a legend, you almost expect a person like this to be overly confident, cocky, and they deserve to be really. But Ronnie was the complete opposite. He really was the most humble, sincere and kind person you’d ever meet. He would always find time to stop in his tracks and say a few words to you. He was so down to earth and generous.

Through his humility he's taught us all that a man is not measured by the size of his wallet, or trophy collection, but instead by the size of his heart. I myself am glad that he chose the profession of singing because even though his body has been taken from us, his voice will stay here for all eternity.

We’re all trying really hard here, but Ronnie, we can't thank you enough."


Jon Lord, ex-Deep Purple keyboardist
"I would like, along with my wife and daughters, to express my sadness at the passing of Ronnie Dio.

A friend of many years standing and a truly delightful man. His voice was an instrument of power and of beauty, and was a seminal influence in rock music. His loss is even more devastating when considering how much more he would have had to offer us.

My heart goes out to dear Wendy, and my thoughts are also with Roger and Ritchie, who were so close to him for so long.

I will always cherish the memories of those remarkable nights at The Royal Albert Hall in September 1999 when, sitting on the stage with all the massed musicians of Deep Purple, The London Symphony Orchestra et al, Ronnie sang Roger's lovely song Sitting in a Dream and brought us smiles and tears, and goosebumps as big as they come.

I shall forever connect that song with that moment and with Ronnie.

Rest in peace my friend.

With love
Jon"


Dave Meniketti, Y&T vocalist/guitarist
"I feel the necessity to say something about Ronnie to my friends here on this forum. At this current moment in time this is very difficult for me as I'm extremely saddened by the news of his passing so I may not so eloquently say exactly what I feel, but here it is, just the same.

Though I can only speak of Ronnie as an acquaintance, his impact on me has been one of positivity and I will forever remember his spirit. This is not simply because he has been so kind to me over his career, but because he has reinforced the feelings I have for the way one should lead their lives as an entertainer and as a man.

His talent speaks for itself, but his kindness to his fans and commitment to his art was exceptional. This man, with such an amazing and uncanny voice that had lasted for his entirety, has taught me a few things about how to be selfless, yet frank and unapologetic about life as a public figure and artist. As I have witnessed, Ronnie, no matter how tired, would greet every fan with true sincerity and complete attention, never belittling them, nor seeming to show any trace of being impatient with the commitment that comes with being a star.

When I think back as Y&T started our first of many shows on tour together for the Meanstreak record in 1983, I remember my feelings about hearing his voice for the first time. We had just walked into the hall as Dio was sound-checking. I had made it half way across the concert hall, looking for our backstage room as he started to sing. I stopped in my tracks and looked back in amazement as this incredibly huge voice bellowed out from the PA speakers. I was both taken aback and incredibly intimidated by his ability. Absolutely astonished, is all I could feel.

Since that time, the band had become friends with the Dio bunch and have had many interactions throughout the years after.

I remember when we were recording our Contagious CD how the guys were across the parking lot rehearsing and we would each hang out at each others places. I remember the full bar, in a road case, that Ronnie had for their rehearsals and thought "how cool is that". I remember Vinnie selflessly coming in the studio to help Jimmy work out how to play the beat to LA Rocks when he was having trouble with the groove.

And I mostly remember how Ronnie had entrusted me to be the first singer on the Stars single for the Hear N' Aid project. His guidance as I sang the track was both knowledgeable and respectful, always in control and always a gentleman. I have many more personal memories that I will keep to myself, but suffice it to say that this man was a true star.

I terribly mourn the loss of him and celebrate him to the highest. We have all lost a legendary vocalist and, as far as I'm concerned, a fine man beyond reproach. For myself, I have lost what I considered a true friend in what can often be a cut-throat and unfriendly business.

Long live Ronnie James Dio"


Jens Johansson, Stratovarius/ex-Dio keyboardist
"I hesitated a bit to write something about this, in a way it feels weird to use this sad day to attract attention to myself. Then I realized I also feel a bit strange to not even comment in public.

I joined Dio, the band, for about a year in the early nineties, that's how I got to know Ronnie. Him, and let's not forget Wendy, who is still very much alive. They were a team. When they took me in to the Dio family, I felt a bit like a cold puppy coming in from the rain. I had previously just left Yngwie's band which was a really fun and creative situation, but it was at the same time also tremendously chaotic and stressful.

My time in Dio was simply one of the best times in my life.

Ronnie was one of the best people I ever met, very different from the usual musicians and other suspects in this wretched industry. I think this is something you will hear over and over - you have heard it before he was gone, and you will also keep hearing it after he is gone. Quite simply, because it's the truth. And especially towards fans. If you didn't realize it by now, you can ask anyone who met him. Ronnie was the guy signing autographs in the cold rain after the point where any mere mortal would have crawled back into bed. It was insane. His dedication to the fans was not from this world. He is the guy that finally made it dawn on me who it is who actually pays the bills - it is the fans. (Well at least he tried, if I didn't quite learn, that is my own fault)

Well, it could be everyone knows all that already, so what else can I say that you don't already know or could find out from Wikipedia? Since I was a Dio fan myself long long before I even met him, I think I have some perspective.

His voice was like a tank... I never heard him have a bad day. I have honestly never met anyone else like this in my whole life. Even if he stayed up all night drinking and talking, he would still deliver 150% the next day. From his performing, you'd think he was 22 years old, his whole life... but if you look at how much he accomplished, you'd think he lived to the age of 120.

He was very funny. Fond of British humor, like 'Monty Python'. My best memories of the time with him are either him laughing at something I or someone else said, or me laughing at something he said, or any of the many running gags that he created.

His lyrics writing really has depths you don't immediately see when you read them first. Read them again and think.

He was very intelligent. He was without a question NOT some sort of devil worshipper or satanist. He grew up in a small town and was what I would call, just a "very decent person". He had higher morals than most people I have met, and definitely he had higher morals than I have. He just didn't particularly believe in God of the Christian bible, I think. But he was really spiritual and thought about deep issues, a lot.

I never saw him do any hard drugs. He was to me the embodiment of the idea: if you want to get anywhere, stay off the hard stuff.

There was the relentless charity work for "Children of the Night". But that you may have heard about already and can read more about on the internet, just google for the phrase.

I realize this may sound like I'm trying to paint too soft a picture. I am really racking my brains here and I couldn't think of anything bad to say about him even if I tried.

The only thing I can think of is that his character definitely had a surprising bite when something pissed him off, he didn't suffer fools lightly. If you were a fool in his path, and all options of patience, understanding and politeness had been exhausted, then he didn't hold back verbally... beware, fool, you might have two assholes all of a sudden, or your head might be rolling on the floor!

I of course found this extremely amusing (unless it was me who was the unwitting fool, which I think happened like, once.)

I don't exaggerate when I say I feel him being gone is a loss for humanity, but I still try to look at the glass as half full. Imagine if he would have died at 27 like so many other geniuses. As a listener I'm thankful for that grace, and as a person I'm thankful I got to know him.

We will all die at some point, he never beat around the bush when speaking or writing about death. Cancer sucks, and I don't know what I think would suck more, him gone today, or him alive for another year but in severe pain.

I'm also not sure if Ronnie would have wanted us to be too sad. (Of course, a bit sad! I'm not suggesting we go dancing in the streets with joy screaming "lolololololololo" like those crazy Palestinians after 9/11 here.)

He dedicated so much of his own life to bring happiness to other people. Let's mourn a genius and a great guy who is lost to us now. But let's mourn in a way that he constantly wrote about, by deciding that we should live each day, including this one, to its fullest, even if it is a sad day. You don't know if this day is your last day, and if it is you don't know what will follow.

The music he made will remain after me, or anyone reading this, will be gone. So unless you did already, put some of it on.

If it puts an evil grin on your face, then your day is better. That's all any musician can ask from you."


Dave DeFeis, Virgin Steele vocalist
"In what has already been a sad spring season, I was further saddened on Sunday to hear that Ronnie James Dio passed away. I always thought that if anyone could...he would be the one...to live forever. I had the good fortune to meet Ronnie several times, and share wine and wonderful conversations with him. He was a truly gracious, noble man, with an outstanding voice and major talent as a composer and lyricist.

Ronnie always made me feel very warm, welcome and wanted in his presence. I was introduced to him by my good friend and longtime Virgin Steelehotographer Gail Flug. Gail had known Ronnie for many years, and one evening when we were at a Dio gig, she said 'hey Ronnie I want you to meet my friend David,' and I began to say, 'hi Ronnie it's so very nice to meet you, I am a huge fan of your work, my name is David etc, etc,..., and he looked me straight in the eye and said 'I know who you are my son.' That totally floored me. I have met many musicians over the years from all walks of life, some who have achieved huge success, some just starting out, and everything in between, and you know, many of the ones who I have come across who possessed not an ounce of the talent, or achievements of a Ronnie James Dio, often wouldn't even give me the time of day, and then here was this amazing man, who has accomplished so much in music and in life, so graciously acknowledging me, and validating my accomplishments. This to me was...incredibly moving and oh so very special. I'll never forget that, or my talks with him about music, history, and the way the world turns.

Seeing him perform with Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Heaven & Hell throughout the years was always an extraordinary treat. I personally think that Ronnie was one of the best vocalists to ever grace a stage or studio. His voice had so much power, and expressive feeling and was always so incredibly musical. I will miss his dramatic, metal music, his god-like vocals and enchanting stage presence. But I know that his legacy, his kindness and understanding, and the music he created will live on and on."


Terry "Geezer" Butler, Heaven & Hell/Black Sabbath bassist
"It's impossible to express in mere words the relationship Ronnie and I, Wendy and my wife Gloria had. He was much more than a friend, fellow musician, band mate. If I have a soul, then he is part of it. I truly believe God, fate, destiny, whatever it's called, brought us together again in 2006, after not seeing each other for 14 years, to do one final tour, which turned into 3 major tours and an album. We were having a blast together, enjoying each other’s company more than we had ever done before, talking about maybe doing one more album, when fate intervened again. We were planning on doing a 2 or 3 part North American tour, after having toured South America and Europe in Spring /Summer 2009, but on the first leg of the North American tour, Tony's hand ligaments were in a bad way, Vinny's shoulder became dislocated, and Ronnie was having terrible stomach pains. We decided to cut the tour, get healthy, and carry on the following year. Tony and Vinny had successful procedures to fix their ailments, but Ronnie's stomach pains were worsening. I saw him at the Dio Halloween party, but he wasn’t drinking, unusual for Ronnie who liked his tipple. He was telling me he had made an appointment with a specialist, to see what it was…..

Wednesday, May 12th

Wendy invited Gloria and I to lunch in Santa Barbara. A few close friends of Ronnie and Wendy, Omar, Simon, Paul, Tim, and Diana, had dropped by. Ronnie had no appetite whatsoever- the disease and the chemotherapy were taking an immense toll. As usual, we talked sports and had a laugh together- it would be the last time. That night, I had a beautiful email from him, that I will treasure forever. I sent him an email saying I'd see him during the following week.

Friday, May 14th

Wendy called to say she had taken Ronnie to hospital. The pain had become unbearable. We got to the hospital around 2 p.m. The doctor eventually sedated him. More and more friends were coming to visit- we took it in turns to hold Ronnie's hand, and whisper our thoughts to him. Wendy wouldn't leave his side- she stayed curled up on his bed the whole night. Gloria’s assistant, Debi, kept her company. I emailed Tony to prepare him for bad news.

Saturday, May 15th

There was no mistaking Ronnie's room. There were around 25 to 30 friends outside his room. We knew the end was imminent. We all wanted to say our goodbyes. It was a day filled with tears and reflection. In the evening, the chaplain came, and we all gathered around Ronnie's bed and prayed. Ronnie wasn't going easily. At 11 p.m., most of us left, leaving Wendy her privacy to say her last farewell. The devastation was palpable.

Sunday, May 16th

7.46 a.m. As we were preparing to leave for the hospital, Gloria called Wendy to see if she wanted a coffee or any breakfast- she broke the sad news. Ronnie had just passed away.

Wendy Dio has been a true saint through all this. She has been with Ronnie every step of the way. Her courage has amazed us all. Even as I write, she is ensuring Ronnie has the finest send off possible. God bless you, Wendel.

Most people who were there for those last days chose to keep their thoughts private. I wanted to keep my thoughts private, too, but I've been overwhelmed by emails, and requests from the media and fans for comments.

I can truly say I've never known anyone to have such loyal, loving friends, fans, and family as Ronnie. He really was a special person, blessed with a unique voice and presence. He loved his fans - he would stay meeting and talking to them until the early hours of the morning. One of my fondest memories of him comes from last year, at the Sonisphere Festival, Knebworth. He noticed my sister and her husband at the side of the stage. During our opening song, he took the time to go over and hug them. Just a little thing like that made him special to me. Of course his music will live on forever, as will his influence. I have never seen so many tributes from so many musicians and fans, so many good wishes, no cynicism, just pure love and appreciation for a great man.

God bless you Ronald – thank you so much for the wonderful memories"


Neil Turbin, Deathriders/ex-Anthrax vocalist
"As a teenager, I got to witness the Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult Concert live! at the Nassau Colosseum (actual concert they recorded the Black and Blue Film) in 1980. I was knocked back in my seat by the power of Ronnie James Dio's vocals and the the sound of Black Sabbath combined with the visual of giant crosses and flames lighting up the arena and explosive pyrotechnics echoing throughout!

I did see the amazing KISS Alive II tour at Madison Square Garden in 1978, but I had never witnessed anything as powerful and heavy as Ronnie Dio singing Heaven and Hell in 1980. I even got to see Blizzard of Ozz and meet Ozzy and the incredible Randy Rhoads in Def Leppard's dressing room when they were introducing themselves, but my first and most distinctive concert memory was the power and the fury that was emanating from Ronnie and Black Sabbath. I had always perked up when I heard Rainbow with Ronnie James Dio singing on the radio or at a friends house. Ronnie James Dio's mighty soaring vocals stood out above any other vocalist period. As they say good things come in small packages. In Ronnie's case, he had such a consistent super powerful voice with great tone, poise, stage persona, charisma and ultimate confidence. Ronnie James Dio: The King of Heavy Metal.

Through my association of working with Dio keyboardist Claude Schnell from 1996 to 1999 on his solo material/project, I had the opportunity to meet Ronnie James Dio for the first time at Vinny Appice's birthday party at a Mexican restaurant in Northridge, CA. It was a dream come true and a great honor for me, that Ronnie was so personable and down to earth, but even went out of his way to buy me a drink when Claude told Ronnie that I was singing for him at the time. I later went with Claude to see Dio perform at the Galaxy Theater with Tracy G. I told Claude that nothing could top the Dio The Last in Line Tour concert I saw in Paris in 1984, except that Black and Blue concert in 1980. I also told this to Vinny when we went to his house later that night after his birthday party.

In 2004 I met RJD and Craig Goldy backstage at Scorpions/Whitesnake at Universal Ampitheater and Ronnie remembered me. Unlike the NAMM shows where Ronnie is always mobbed signing autographs and I never really had the chance to speak with him there. This time was different. I told Ronnie that I saw many of his great performances including a show at the Greek Theatre when Anthrax was opening as I was walking in from the parking lot. I couldn't believe that the place was more than half empty for Anthrax and less than 3/4 full for a Dio concert, but that didn't matter, Dio still roared and commanded the stage. I told Ronnie that I was amazed by his stage presence and persona, not just his great voice. Then I asked Ronnie: 'What exactly are you thinking about when you are on that stage?' Ronnie looked at me straight in the eyes with pure tenacity and said to me, 'That's MY Stage!!!!”

I'll never forget that look that Ronnie gave me when he told me this and the honest talent and confidence that he possessed. Ronnie wasn't about ego, he was real people, with no BS. I will always remember Ronnie not only for his soaring voice and his medievel lyrics and great visual imagery, but for his great spirit and honest persona. Ronnie was not afraid to tell it like it is, but he was a true gentleman and had great class. I was blessed with the opportunity to know Ronnie James Dio personally and he was a wonderful person, who was willing to be completely honest with me and share his knowledge and experience. For that I have a deep respect for him for the way he treated me.

Ronnie James Dio was a true four star General of Rock Royalty. Ronnie James Dio was to heavy metal what Elvis was to Rock 'n' Roll!!!! Ronnie James Dio is The King Of Heavy Metal!!!!

My sincere condolences and support to Wendy Dio, Rock Feinstein and to Ronnie's family and friends for your great loss. Ronnie, Thank you for rocking hard til the end! You are the true Hero of Heavy Metal! and an inspiration to us all for generations!!!!

Farewell Dio, Great King Of Heavy Metal

RIP Ronnie James Dio 1942-2010."


Steve Williams, Power Quest keyboardist
"Well, it's five days on from hearing the terrible, saddening news of the passing of Ronnie James Dio. I wanted to let the news sink in before commenting officially but, in all honesty I still can't quite believe that he has departed.

Ronnie was a massive inspiration and influence to me from the time I first heard his vocals in the early 1980's on the Heaven And Hell record. I was 11 years old and here I am 27 years later still remembering that time as if it were only a short time ago. Whether it was with Sabbath, Rainbow, Dio or latterly Heaven & Hell there is no doubt in my mind that we have lost a truly legendary figure and one of the gentlemen of rock as well.

I had the pleasure of seeing RJD fronting both Dio and Sabbath over the years. I particularly recall two shows above all others. Firstly Black Sabbath (supported by Testament) in Southampton, UK on the Dehumanizer tour in 1992. This was an incredible show that many of us who were there still talk about to this day. Secondly, the Holy Diver tour in 2005 once again in Southampton. This show will stick in my mind forever.

The 2005 show fell on my birthday and my friend Andre Bargmann (former PQ drummer and at the time, drum tech for Simon Wright. Andre went on to tech for Vinny Appice in Heaven & Hell amongst others) contacted me the day before to ask if I would be going to the show. Needless to say I was already planning to attend but Andre made some arrangements for myself and my girlfriend to meet Ronnie and the rest of the band backstage, where I was presented with a signed drum skin with birthday wishes from all the guys. This has had pride of place on my studio wall ever since, and will continue to do so. Ronnie was so welcoming and friendly as were the rest of the guys as well and it was a real privilege to be able to spend just a few minutes chatting and talking about music. It's just one of those things that I will never forget and I'm very thankful for.

Although Ronnie may have left us, his immense legacy will live on in the wonderful music he leaves behind. Not just for those of us who have followed his career for years but also for future metal/rock fans and musicians. On behalf of myself and the Power Quest family I would like to pass on my sincere condolences to Wendy and all her family and friends at this most difficult of times."


Jeff Westlake, Hydrogyn guitarist
"On many occasions in my life i had the pleasure to meet and talk with quite frankly the most influential person in my life aside from my grandparents. I first met the man in 1985 on the Sacred Heart tour while Vivian was still in the band.

Through the next 25 years I had the pleasure to get that same chance at many different shows. Got to share stories and just have great conversation with the man that very seldom if ever was about music.

My last time talking with him was in May of 07 during the Heaven and Hell tour in Cincinnati Ohio. Craig Goldy had made it possible for me and Julie to go back stage at that show and visit with Ronnie and Vinny that night after the show.

It is always odd to know how many people he would see in a given year and he walks through the door and remembers you. It was Julies only time to meet the man and she left that experience very impressed and grateful for the time she go to spend with both Ronnie and Vinny that evening as we talked for a long time. As a matter of fact they had to come in a get those two as they were all packed up and leaving for Philly for the next night.

My entire musical career is based off of just learning from this monster of a musician and an absolute joy to be around.

I did not have the pleasure that Geezer, Tony, Vinny, Simon and others had to play for him but every night we play Rainbow in the Dark I some how feel connected to him and pour everything in me into that song even more so than i do my own songs at times. It is an odd feeling at times but i grew up listening to this voice and this gracefulness that is RONNIE JAMES DIO.

I always had my friends saying that they could not understand how or why i was such a huge fan of his; well look at all that is being said now and i think it is easy for anyone to see why I was a fan and what thousands of others are as well. There is just something about him that was more than special. He was an empowering person on so many levels through his music and when you got a chance to speak with him it was more of the same and even better.

I will always remember the last conversation with him. We actually spoke about touring in Europe and he gave us some tips on the best places to eat in different countries and cities.

Always the best, never anything less and that was not only in music but personally as well.

I have no idea how this void will ever be filled and I really do not think there is a chance that it can be.

To steal a phrase, This is to the Best there is, The Best there was and the Best there ever will be....... I along with countless others will miss you, your gift that you gave us in your music and most of all I will be looking for the next show that will always be played out in my mind because it is burned in it so deep.

U ROCK RONNIE."


Alex Skolnick, Testament guitarist
"This past weekend, we lost Ronnie James Dio, not only one of the best singers in hard rock and heavy metal, but someone who was polite, well spoken and gentlemanly, something of an anomaly in a genre where 'bad boy' behavior is embraced and expected of its frontmen. When someone of his stature passes away, there is a collective void felt by millions of fans, creating a sense of unity. This feeling takes on an even more sad, surreal quality when it is someone that you were on a first name basis with.

Twice, I had the magnificent fortune of being on the same bill with Ronnie. On both these tours, the differing schedules of his band, Black Sabbath in 1992 and Heaven & Hell in late 2008 (same band, different name) made our encounters infrequent, as is often the case with headliners and support acts. But whenever we did bump into each other, he always went out of his way to say hello.

His knack for remembering everybody’s names was nearly as legendary as his vocal ability. He remembered everyone on the crew, everyone's friends, wives and girlfriends and made each person feel the center of attention when he spoke to them. So while we did 'know' each other, I don't pretend to have known Ronnie well. It's not as if we ever spoke by phone. Actually, that's not true…

One day, I was trying to reach my friend Lorenzo, who was on Dio's sound crew. This was the early '00s and our tours were crossing paths in Cleveland. I'd been unable to make the Dio concert, but another friend of mine went to the show and bumped into Lorenzo, who told him to say hi to me and pass on his new phone number.

When I called a day or so later, the voice didn't sound like Lorenzo's. 'Alex Skolnick! How are you? I've always liked your guitar playing.' He asked what I was up to and how this person was and how that person was, asking me to please say hello to these people for him. This guy obviously knew me and others I knew, but I didn't recognize his voice. Who could it be? I hesitantly asked. He laughed and said 'Alex, it's Ronnie Dio!'

My jaw dropped. He explained that either he’d lost his cell phone and had been borrowing Lorenzo's or vice versa (I forget), then nicely offered to pass on the message and have him call me, then we said goodbye. Whatever the situation was, I barely processed it and it scarcely mattered… I was on the phone with Dio!

I immediately thought of the Dio concert I attended in 1984 in San Francisco, the first concert I ever went to without adult supervision. I remember asking my father for permission. He didn't understand who I was talking about. 'Devo?' he asked. A friend and I took BART (the metro train) to the concert which was held at the Cow Palace Arena. The Dio album Holy Diver had become part of the soundtrack for my high school years and those of countless other teens of the mid-'80s. Seeing him live, I felt for the first time like I was hearing music for my generation.

Although Dio's draw would shrink somewhat in the '90s (thanks in part to the music industry's collective turn against '80s hard rock acts) Ronnie James Dio still stands as one of a small handful of vocalists in the hard rock/metal genre who was ever able to sell out arenas under his own name. The other two that come to mind are Ozzy Osbourne, whom he replaced in Black Sabbath, and Alice Cooper.

When he emerged on the national scene in the '70s, he sang with enough rasp, grit, dirt and guttural quality to stand side by side with throaty greats of the time such as Bon Scott of AC/DC. But unlike Scott and others, whose sound was fueled by cigarettes, bourbon, and other, less legal substances, Ronnie took care of his voice with a discipline on par with an opera and Broadway singer. Never a 'notorious rock star' like his contemporaries, he lived his life in moderation, resulting in an unshakeable constancy and flawless execution that concertgoers could count on, right up until the end.

Indeed, at the Metal Masters shows barely a year and a half ago, the universal consensus was that Ronnie, then in his mid 60s, had never sounded better. On that tour, I frequently found myself standing on the grass with friends after our set, listening to Ronnie, Toni, Geezer and Vinny filling the star filled August sky with songs like Heaven & Hell, Children Of The Sea and Neon Knights. It was about as perfect a Summer evening as one can imagine. Now Ronnie is a part of that star filled sky. He will forever be missed and remembered."


Rowan Robertson, ex-Dio guitarist
"With this terrible turn of events, amongst all the feelings it brings up, I am taken back to a wonderful time in my life where every day I spent, shall we say, in the prescence of the king! I would rehearse six, I think days a week with Dio, in various rehearsal studios around the San Fernando Valley and Burbank. So many memories of people, places, events... pictures in my head of Ronnie telling stories or cracking jokes. His mannerisms come back to me still- I remember years later I hung out with Craig Goldy and a certain cartoon character voice slipped out- Ronnie was particularly fond of Mel Blanc's voice charachterisations, on those classic old cartoons like Yosemite Sam, and Sylvester. Craig said, 'wow! you've even got the lisp down!' Ronnie had a dog called 'Buster' when I met him, and of course, for a while, many around Dio got treated with the nick name too, I can hear him saying, 'whaddya say there, Buster... whaddaya reckon Buss???' with that classic Sylvester lisp. He was a very funny charming man.

"Its not for me to say anything about him other than perhaps, when asked, to recall some of the great funny and warm moments I shared in.

"My first nickname given to me by him was 'Shnick'. This happened because, at my audition over there in 'The Alley' rehearsal rooms on Lankershim Blvd (still live near it)... I was setting up my pedals and guitar , ready to play the first notes with the man... Ronnie said to me, I remember it well, 'I really want this to work'.. ALWAYS gave me his confidence and bolstered up my self belief... Anyway, there I was setting up my pedals and fiddling with things ready to go, when I managed to trip my self up on my own gear and nearly fall off the stage- Ronnie looked over from his place of preparation behing the centre stage mic and calls, 'Oh great, we've got Baryshnikov over here!'- Baryshnikov of course being a famous ballet dancer. From then on, my name was 'Shnick'- my first car became the Shnick mobile, my publishing company was called Shnick music. We had such fun in rehearsal too. It was in a studio opposite Sound City- where Holy Diver and maybe other Dio albums were recorded, where we were in writing for Lock Up The Wolves. The first of four or five locations where that album was written. First day of rehearsal we went for a drive, out to local thrift stores to pick up odds and ends, old table lamps... gadgets, fun things to put in the studio. There was I think, a wooden wall piece with an old etched drawing of horse pulling a carriage with passengers... May have been Vinny who scralled above it in black paint, 'Ye Old Robertsons' in reference to my name. Jimmy Bain was in the band back then too. He took me to the rainbow a lot where I aquired another nickname, Mr Vomit... ha ha. So anyway, I had taken all these paints that we were painting on the studio walls with, spray cans too, and gone completely ballistic with them before Ronnie got into the studio one day... When He arrived, the room was think with paint fumes and he was I think none too impressed that the air was... un-sing-able if not un breathable. But he didnt mind... He would always say that one mistake was no big deal, two of the same mistakes is understandable, and three? well, we needed to talk, heh heh. I fell asleep on the studio couch one day and woke to hear him playing a made up country song on guitar as a joke...' dream on little cowboy/ and may your dreams come true...' I still remember the melody."

Written by Jukebox:Metal Admin
More: 2010, Band News,

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