RIP Ronnie James Dio
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.
Check him out live here, singing the song which epitomised the branch of Black Sabbath which was Dio – Heaven and Hell.