Dream Evil with Dio (Mighty Lambchop's Heavy Metal Nails # 3)

Good morning!

Today I bring a brief discussion the genre of "Traditional" heavy metal. The artist I will feature as best representative is Ronnie James Dio. Traditional Heavy Metal is basically heavy metal. The tag, "traditional" is placed to differentiate from what the clasic sound has splintered and evolved into.
Typically, the sound is full of a heavy rhythm section, aggressive guitar and melodic elements. Trad metal singers will either have bluesier voices or pseudo operatic vocals. The lyrical themes vary though most tend to be fantasy based, highlighting mythical beats, fantastic warriors and sorcerers.

I chose Ronnie James Dio to be the standard bearer of Trad metal. Technically, Black Sabbath is and most certainly when Dio was in the band. However, I feel Dio owns this. His singing style and songwriting have been widely copied and functioned as a blueprint for many metal bands. Ronnie James Dio is one of my very favorite singers and served as a very good role model. I miss him terribly.

Ronnie James Dio
The Legend

Ronnie James Dio got his start in music in the late 1950s, playing early rock and roll and rockabilly. He was in a number of groups at the time, notably Ronnie and The Redcaps and Ronnie and The Prophets. 
Check out Dio's yearbook photo!

He made a few recordings with both bands but his career really didn't make an impact until he formed what came to be known as Elf.

Ronnie James Dio furthest left

Elf was a bluesy hard rock band that began opening for Deep Purple which ultimately led to Ritchie Blackmore asking Ronnie to join his new band, Rainbow. In 1975, Rainbow emerged, made up almost entirely of the members of Elf. For the band's second album, Blackmore fired everyone but Dio.

Ronnie James Dio in front center,
Ritchie Blackmore to the right of Dio

Ronnie James Dio continued with Rainbow until 1979. He and Ritchie Blackmore had creative differences and disagreed on the direction in which to take the band. Ronnie then joined Black Sabbath, replacing the fired Ozzy Osbourne. (I wrote about this part of history in my Black Sabbath post yesterday.)

Songs to check out from these two bands:
Long Live Rock and Roll - Rainbow This was one of RJD's signature songs and was always performed at his solo concerts.

In 1982, Ronnie left Black Sabbath and formed his own band, Dio. He recruited a young Irish guitarist by the name of Vivian Campbell and included friend and former Black Sabbath mate, Vinny Appice on drums.
The first album, Holy Diver, was a huge hit. It produced two of the best known songs of the catalog, Holy Diver and Rainbow in the Dark. Both songs were staples on MTV in the early 80s and both were later held up as examples of how cheesy heavy metal could be. (Ed. note: Those people are assholes.)

Dio went on to record The Last in Line, Sacred Heart and Dream Evil with the original lineup. Vivian Campbell left the band in 1986 and not so amicably. Campbell was quoted as saying of his time in Dio,
"[Playing in Dio] never mattered to me — and still doesn’t… He’s an incredible talent, but he’s an awful businessman and way more importantly, one of the vilest people in the industry."
Suffice it to say, they were not friends. RJD was known to be difficult with his bandmates, being a perfectionist and a bit of a diva. But no one can take away the fact that he was remarkably talented.
(Ed. note: Vivian Campbell is a great guitarist but he is also a dick and a big diva himself. So, yeah.)

Dio continued recording and touring with fairly revolving lineups. Most of his 1990s albums were not well received since they departed from his classic sound. The 2000 album Magica was a return to roots and refreshing in a time of so-called "modern rock" and "nu-metal."

Ronnie James Dio maintained commitments with Dio, Black Sabbath and Heaven & Hell until his death from stomach cancer in 2010. I can tell you that this was a man who loved his fans and was grateful to them. He was known for staying behind after shows, for hours,  just to make sure he met and shook hands with every fan who waited. I had the pleasure of speaking to him on the phone during a radio appearance and he was warm, funny and just wonderful.

A Dio show was something special and Ronnie James Dio was a consummate entertainer. He had the rare ability to transcend the venue he was in and make the experience intimate for everyone. I first saw Dio in concert in 1990 at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa, CA. It was a crazy good show with lasers and pyro and his voice was sublime. The last time I saw Dio was in Springfield, OR at a now defunct club called The Hollywood Taxi. This was sometime in late 2000 and this club was impossibly small and seedy. You would never have known it. The man performed like he was in a giant arena and was totally on point. Both concerts are simply some of the best I've seen.

To honor Ronnie and his legacy, this is the manicure I did.

 I see what you did there. ;)

 We're Stars!!!

 Posing with the Sacred Heart album

All fingers have a base of Diamond Cosmetics Chainmail Charm. Because it's a Rainbow in the Dark!
I am so funny...
Index finger has a heart decal from to represent Sacred Heart. Middle finger has "rock" decal to represent the song We Rock from the Last In Line album. Both decals are Fingr's.
I made the heart decal from some nail stickers that I got from Claire's. It just represents my love for Dio.
Finally, I decided I wanted to pay tribute to the Hear N' Aid project that Ronnie James Dio formed to help raise cash for famine relief in 1985. So I added STARS to my pinkie. (Link goes to the video for that song. It is awesome sauce.)

To wrap up my Dio tribute, I would like to recommend pretty much the entire catalog. It was great music, what can I say? Also, this is one of my very favorite Dio songs. I like to listen to it when I need some inspiration.

We rock!

Here are some suggestions for you to explore the Traditional Heavy Metal genre:

Scorpions - I love this band and I got to see them in 2010 and they were just as awesome as ever!
Manowar - I really don't like them but I sure do enjoy laughing at them
Krokus -  They're hit or miss but still representative.
W.A.S.P. - Love them. I shouldn't but I do.

Most of the NWOBHM bands are also grouped into the Trad Metal but NWOBHM deserves its own discussion. Luckily, that will happen next!

Thanks for joining me today. Remember, we are all Rock n' Roll Children!


  1. Love this so insanely much and well you know my Dio love runs deap! (~_~) \m/

    1. Thank you love! I had you on my mind when I was creating this. I knew you'd dig it!


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