Didn’t I just write a eulogy for Malcom McClaren? And now I have to write one about Ronnie James Dio, who I never even listened to?
Jill ate dinner at Dio’s house. Well, it was his mother’s house. I forget the story, but she was friends with a cousin of his and they went to eat at Mrs. Dio’s house up in North Jersey. Her name wasn’t “Dio” though—it was some other name, but she was his mom. She had his curly black hair. She had a five octave range.
I saw Dio live. It was an accident. I went to see Motorhead, and it just so happened Dio was also playing, along with Iron Maiden.
Dio was impressive. The band sounded awesome (in fact, they were the best sounding band of the night), and RJD was a real nice guy. He slapped hands with everyone in the first few rows and showed sincere appreciation for his fans. I recall his between song patter being oddly polite; Keith Beck described him as a “heavy metal Neil Diamond.” But then the band would start playing, and he’d slide right back into the “Dio thing.”
They played a shortened version of Heaven And Hell. They cut out the Iommi guitar solo. Too bad. But overall, Dio did a great show, and I left the Garden State Arts center with true respect for the man.