In our interview with Wendy we discuss the upcoming Ronnie James Dio autobiography 'Rainbow In the Dark - The Autobiography' co-written with British music journalist Mick Wall. The book comes out July 27 and is a project Ronnie had started several years before he was diagnosed with cancer. Ronnie writes about his upbringing, his early bands, his record deal with the band Elf, his years with Rainbow and Black Sabbath, and of course his years with his own band DIO.
Wendy speaks on all these topics as well as her work with the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund which she founded, a charity that has raised over $2,000,000 for cancer research. Wendy also talks about her life with Ronnie, the music industry, and things like her time working at The Rainbow, the famous bar and concert venue on the Sunset Strip.
You can pick up the book everywhere July 27 and can donate to the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund at diocancerfund.org.
Dio “Stand Up and Shout” Birthday Celebration
Hosted by Eddie Trunk & Matt Pinfeld
On what would have been Ronnie James Dio’s 79th birthday musicians a multitude of musicians, some who were friends of Ronnie, some who are fans of Ronnie, some who are both came together for a virtual celebration in honor of Ronnie and to raise money for the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer fund. This brilliant charity has raised well over $2,000,000 and donated funds to the cancer research work of the T.J. Martell Foundation and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where Ronnie was treated during the last six months of his life. In addition, the Dio Cancer Fund has recently committed monies to a research project at UCLA’s School of Dentistry to develop a ground-breaking, non-invasive saliva test for early cancer detection.
During this amazing live stream event many of the classic Dio front songs were performed. Songs from Dio’s solo career, his work with Rainbow and also with Black Sabbath and Heaven and Hell took center stage, performed by an incredible selection of vocalists and musicians.
Take a look at this formidable list of songs we were treated to:
“Children of the Sea” - Oni Logan on vocals and members of Dio Disciples crushed this epic Sabbath tune.
“Last in Line” - performed by Liliac - an LA based band whose members are siblings. The band’s singer Melody absolutely killed that iconic extended “HOME Dio sang at the end of the opening verse.
“Mob Rules” with archival footage of Ronnie introducing the song and Tim “Ripper Owens” belting out this phenomenal Sabbath track
“Don’t Talk to Strangers” - Oni Logan on vocals and this one featured an exhilarating extended drum solo with multiple drummers taking turns virtually throughout this solo. Those who performed behind the kit were Simon Wright, Kenny Aronoff, Frank Ferrer, Glen Sobel, Brooke Colucci, Matt Starr, Aynsley Dunbar, Paulina Villarreal Velez, and Brain Tichy
“Heaven and Hell” - the first of several tunes sung by Anthrax lead vocalist Joey Belladonna
“Man on the Silver Mountain” - Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford sang this one with backing tracks….and a bear!
“Man on the Silver Mountain” - This time Joey Belladonna took this one with the full band
“Straight Through the Heart” - Lizzy Hale from Halestorm belted out this one with Jasmine Starr on guitar. One badass version of this “Holy Diver” track.
Tenacious D - Jack Black and Kyle Glass played an acoustic Dio Medley featuring parts of “Heaven and Hell” and “Holy Diver”
“Holy Diver”- With Joey Belladonna on vocals
“Rainbow in the Dark” - Broadway singer Lena Hall held down the vocals on this classic Dio tune
“Heaven and Hell” - this flamenco style acoustic version with XYZ singer Terry Ilous was sung with such passion and Luis Villegas and Andrews Vadim on guitars were simply breathtaking
Carmine and Vinnie Appice performed in a virtual drum battle
“Time Machine” - Chad Cherry from The Last Vegas on vocals
“Southbound” (Thin Lizzy track) - a stunning acoustic solo performance by Ricky Warwick singer with Black Star Riders and Thin Lizzy
“Neon Nights” - Joey Belladonna on vocals
“Long Live Rock n Roll” - Joey Belladonna singing with Gilby Clarke on guitar
“We Rock” with Oni Logan and Tim “Ripper” Owens sharing vocal duty
In between performances Matt Pinfeld spoke with several rockers in brief segments talking about Ronnie.
Lita Ford shared that her favorite Dio album is “Rainbow Rising” and in particular the song “Stargazer” she listened to repeatedly while on tour with The Runaways. Lita said she warms up before a show to “Stargazer” and knows she’s ready to hit the stage if she can hit the notes as Ronnie did on this track.
Joey Belladonna said he and Ronnie lived near each other, he in Syracuse and Dio in Ithaca. A long time friend Belladonna sang “Man on the Silver Mountain” at Ronnie’s funeral.
Alice Cooper said Ronnie was a “Guy you can hang with all day” and said he used to kid him about his audience interaction after belting out a major Dio tune then talking to the audience “like a 70’s DJ”.
Wendy Dio talked to Matt about “Holy Diver” and said that Ronnie was a prolific musician, being able to play guitar, trumpet, bass, and drums. Wendy said that they mortgaged the house to pay for the first tour.
Guitarist Jasmine Star (who played on several of tonight’s performances) told Matt she
discovered Dio through her dad and how honored she was to be a part of this event.
Sevendust singer Lajon Witherspoon said Dio’s voice reminded him of church and first became familiar with him when he was young and saw Dio videos on tv.
Wyn Davis of Total Access Studios spoke wtih Matt. Wyn worked on 4 Dio albums as well as the final Heaven and Hell record “The Devil You Know”. He said Ronnie was exactly who you would want him to be, a true rock singer
Then there were several rock icons who shared quick videos for Ronnie’s birthda:
Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi said Ronnie was larger than life and that he really misses him and is thinking of him on his birthday
Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler said Ronnie loved his fans more than anyone he ever knew and would have loved the Stand up for Cancer event
Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford wished Ronnie a Happy Birthday
Guns and Roses bassist Duff Mckagen said he was a big fan of the Holy Diver and Last in line era of Dio
The Red Rocker Sammy Hagar made his tribute to Ronnie
Former Deep Purple singer Glenn Hughes said he met Ronnie when Elf opened for Deep Purple. He said Ronnie was dearly loved and urged everyone to embrace Dio and his music
Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach said Skid Rows tunes like Monkey Business take some of ther influence from Dio. And said in 2000 at a club in Dallas Tx the double headliner was Dio with Sebastian Bach. Bach had just gotten his gig on Brodway in Jekyll and Hyde and he was stoked to tell Ronnie about it. Ronnie urged him to take the gig although he said he would not play on Broadway and that he only ever wanted to do was sing metal!!!
The following is a list of the musicians in addition to those previously mentioned who performed during this event:
This event was amazing for us metalheads and fans of the legend Ronnie Jame Dio. If you missed this even you can still donate to the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund at https://diocancerfund.org/