Ronnie James Dio
The Voice of Metal
Ronnie James Dio is truly one of rock's pioneering forces. His musical journey, now spanning two decades, includes more than twenty albums; recordings that contain one of music's most powerful and identifiable voices. As a band, Dio have been a commercial success since inception. The band's music and spectacular stage shows, mixing art and performance, are legendary. So few match the magic, even less the mystery.
The latest record, Angry Machines, featuring guitarist Tracy G., bassist Jeff Pilson, and long time collaborators Ronnie James Dio and drummer Vinny Appice, is a colorful recording that embraces all the power, drama and creativity associated with the timeless band. Recorded in Redondo Beach, CA, the album, originally penned as a conceptual piece, draws inspiration from a series of unique life observations. Produced by Ronnie James Dio, album creation included eight months of writing and pre-production, followed by nine weeks of intense recording.
Powerful opener, "Institutional Man," was the first song written for the album. A narrative detailing isolation, it is a personal favorite for the vocalist. "I receive so many letters from troubled kids and people on the inside," says Ronnie. "It is amazing how admiration from listeners inspires you. This song was written about the emotions that toy with one's mind."
"Big Sister" is a unique song that draws from George Orwell's idea of Big Brother. "Women have become so strong in the past decade. It's no longer Big Brother you have to worry about," says Ronnie. "The song is from the male perspective. Women have been oppressed for far too long. They are getting stronger and men are getting fearful."
"Don't Tell The Kids" is an important song that addresses a serious adult issue. "Adults tend to avoid discussing serious subjects with kids. Especially divorce," says Ronnie. "I believe kids aren't given enough credit. They can see things so much more than most perceive."
Angry Machines features the return of Dio's stellar lineup. Tracy G. is a tateful player. His straight-forward instrumentation grounds dynamic tracks like "Institutional Man", "Big Sister", "Golden Rules", and the mesmerizing "Stay Out Of My Mind". Drummer Vinny Appice has been providing the backbone for Dio for close to a decade. With veteran bassist Jeff Pilson, the duo presents one of the best rhythm teams in rock.
From the very beginning, Ronnie James Dio has pursued a brand of music that proudly exists outside of any prevailing trend. A native of Cortland, New York, the singer grew up in a tightly knit community of family and friends. From early on, his twin interests were music and the romantic fantasy literature of Sir Walter Scott and the Arthurian legend. These would both play an important role in the development of his musical persona.
As a teen, Ronnie studied trumpet, but switched to bass when he discovered rock and roll. In 1970 he formed the band Elf and recorded several albums. As Deep Purple's opening act, Ronnie came to know Ritchie Blackmore and later formed Rainbow with the guitar master.
After three years and five albums, Ronnie left to become the lead singer for Black Sabbath. His tenure included two studio albums, the classics Heaven And Hell and Mob Rules, in addition to a live album, Live Evil. He also recorded and toured the band's Dehumanizer album.
Soon realizing there was a more personal vision to follow, Ronnie parted company with co-writer Tony Iommi, and began to structure a band built around his name. Garnering a reputation as "the voice", the singer's phenomenal stylings set the pace for hard rock frontmen for years to come.
Dio's critically acclaimed body of work is undoubtedly one of the most successful catalogs in rock history.