Today is a very sad day. My hero is gone.
Ronnie James Dio
I have loved Dio since 1988. I was fortunate enough to see him in concert in 1990 at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa, CA. It was my second concert ever. I maintain that out of all of the concerts I've attended, that particular one is the best show I have ever seen. The second best was when I saw him again in 2001/2002 in Springfield, Oregon at a teeny-tiny club called the Hollywood Taxi. It didn't matter the size of the venue, Ronnie James Dio was going to give you the best performance and make certain you left with a smile on your face.
In the eighth grade, my class was to do presentations on their hero. I chose Dio. His music was inspiring and positive and made a major impact on my life. I wanted to share not just his music but his message that anyone can achieve their dreams no matter the odds. I got an "A" for my presentation even though my teacher was distressed I didn't choose a family member or something. I did not care. I knew who I admired and aspired to be like.
The man himself was gracious and available to his fans and always encouraging. Though I never got to meet him in person, I did get to speak to him on the phone. He was doing an interview on KNAC in Los Angeles.
(Sadly, KNAC is no longer on air on traditional radio but still lives as an internet radio station.) I called in with the hopes of being able to speak with him when the lines opened for questions and I did! Let me tell you, the man was utterly charming. It is one of my most treasured memories.
How lucky metal fans are/were to have someone like him represent our music and our culture. And what a major player he was. Without him, much of what we come to think of as "metal" simply would never have existed. When you see someone throw the horns, that's Dio. It is not ironic or silly. It's a tribute. It is our sign of solidarity and kinship.
My heart is broken. But I am so grateful. I am grateful for his music and to have found meaning and purpose through it. And I thank Ronnie James Dio for everything he gave to us. Godspeed and goodnight, friend. You shall always have my love and loyalty.
Thank you for indulging me, friends. May you always endeavor to Catch The Rainbow.
Long Live Rock and Roll...