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IN MEMORY OF RONNIE JAMES DIO
Today marks the third anniversary of Ronnie James Dio's death. Yet, to most of us, the sense of loss for this great fallen hero is still as strong today as it was on 16th May 2010 when we first heard the tragic news of his passing.
To me that is a true testament to the man's character, music and influence; he really was one of a kind, not just as a singer/songwriter but as a human being and role-model, something extremely rare in the world of rock.
I have never had the chance to meet Ronnie, but I did however get the chance to spend some time around the people closest to him during my time in Los Angeles back in 2010 as a member of White Wizzard, as well as release a single ('Shooting Star' with a cover of Dio classic 'We Rock' as a b-side) dedicated to his memory with the band to which Earache Records kindly agreed to donate all proceeds from sales to Wendy Dio (Ronnie's long time manager and partner) and Dio's 'Children Of The Night' charity organization.
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I will never forget getting invited to a BBQ at Wendy Dio's house in Hollywood, getting to meet Simon Wright (long time Dio and ex-AC/DC drummer) there for the first time and ending the evening by picking up Ronnie's acoustic guitar and having a sing along to some of his songs with everyone at the garden, or being invited to a meeting at the Dio/Niji Entertainment Headquarters having a near-religious experience while checking out the hand-written lyrics to 'Holy Diver' framed on the wall as well as the original painting that became the cover of 'Holy Diver'!
Even little things like being given a RJD special edition t-shirt by Wendy and her assistant Dean which to this day is one of my most treasured possessions.
More than anything though, what made an even bigger impression to me was the tremendous respect and love that those people had for Ronnie. To me that's worth much more than all the gold and platinum albums that were hanging from the walls... It says everything about what kind of a human being Ronnie James Dio was, a man that never let money and fame change the way he treated people.
The story of the Dio fan that missed the last train home waiting for an autograph with no money left on him and Ronnie inviting him on the tour bus to give him a lift back to his place in now legendary.
As someone that has started gaining a certain degree of notoriety and therefore fans the past couple of years first through my work in White Wizzard and now with Monument, it's things like that which resonate with me more so than just the musical gift that Dio undeniably possessed, in fact I don't think anyone reading this would argue that Ronnie James Dio was and always will be the absolute best singer in the history of hard rock and Heavy Metal!
Dio's life story is one of hard work, perseverance, character and love and it should never be forgotten. So today I urge you not to mourn his loss but instead to try and celebrate his life and draw inspiration from the truly amazing body of work he's left behind for us to enjoy!