Craig Goldy says that "certain members" of the original DIO band became motivated by "money" because they "didn't have the same heart for the fans" as Ronnie James Dio did.
Goldy joined DIO during the "Sacred Heart" tour in 1986 after original guitarist Vivian Campbell was fired from the band following a contentious business disagreement with the legendary heavy metal singer and Ronnie's management.
For the past several years, Goldy has played sporadic shows with DIO DISCIPLES, which is made up of former members of DIO, along with a rotating lineup of singers, including former JUDAS PRIEST frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens.
Billed as a "celebration of the music and legacy of the greatest singer in the world, Ronnie James Dio," DIO DISCIPLES is about to embark on a world tour during which it will be fronted by Ronnie's hologram for select songs.
In a lengthy post on the DIO DISCIPLES Facebook page, Goldy defended DIO DISCIPLES' decision to tour with Ronnie's hologram, saying that "the band DIO was run like a family, because it was a family. And when an important family member dies, those left behind often do things to keep their lost loved one's memory alive.
"Whenever we do a DIO DISCIPLES concert, in my heart it is not a concert at all but a memorial service in the form of a concert," he continued. "His music played such an important role in so many people's lives from all over the globe, including myself. In times of trouble, he was the voice that I turned to. It was like we were friends before we ever met. That is what a fan was to Ronnie — a friend that he just hasn't met yet. But then because his music was so amazing, it got released around the world, and he did get to meet almost all of his fans.
"When the 'Sacred Heart' tour came out, Ronnie practically cut his profit margin in half, bringing the fans an 18-foot fire-breathing dragon. It really did have fire coming out of its mouth — lasers shot out of the dragon's eyes and wherever that laser would land, an explosion would take place, both visual and audio. [Ronnie] didn't hike up ticket prices for all that — it was his way of giving back to the fans. So even though a lot of money was made, a lot of money was being spent. And I think that is when all the problems started with certain bandmembers, 'cause they didn't have the same heart for the fans as Ronnie and Wendy [Dio, Ronnie's wife and manager] did. It started to become about money."
Goldy, who played with GIUFFRIA and ROUGH CUTT prior to joining DIO, went on to call the Ronnie James Dio hologram "a gift to the fans" which will be "given in the same spirit in which Ronnie gave."
He explained: "People don't remember, but Wendy was a big part of how that whole 'Sacred Heart' stage set was built, put together and without hiking up the ticket prices too. Same thing for the 'Dream Evil' tour, with a giant metal spider that came down out of the rafters and I shot it with lasers out of my guitar and then wherever I pointed my guitar, an explosion would occur. It was magical days with magical people behind that magic. This hologram is just that."
According to Goldy, DIO DISCIPLES' performances with the Ronnie James Dio hologram will serve an opportunity for people who "never got to see Ronnie on stage with BLACK SABBATH and RAINBOW" to experience some of the original magic.
"This is something that is done in the name of love, honor, missing him and respect — nothing else," he said. "And that is the truth. People's opinion does not alter the truth. It only alters the perception of truth. So this hologram tour is meant to honor the man and his music in the same spirit in which that man gave to this world... so we now give. And people will be missing out on an incredible experience if they let bad comments make that decision for them."
Craig explained that DIO DISCIPLES performances are otherworldly experiences that serve a much deeper purpose than merely showcasing some of the greatest hard rock songs ever written.
"There is a fact of life that runs parallel to this," he wrote. "When a group of people gather together with the same purpose, heart and mind as one another, something very special will always occur. Same thing for the DIO DISCIPLES concerts/memorial services, as I call them. The fans that show up there also have the same purpose, heart and mind as we do, and there is always a very special moment in time during these events where the band and the audience bond and become one with each other, and when that happens, it is like nothing else, and it is just something that you have to experience for yourself. This type of experience is beyond mere words.
"A woman can explain to another woman what it's like to give birth and have a child, and she could even watch YouTube videos, but it's nothing like the actual experience itself," he continued. "And these concerts/memorial services are very much beyond words as that example of the woman is. Plus, I think Ronnie would approve of this hologram being done in the way it is being done. I'm sure that anyone who has worked as hard as he did, and has made as big of a worldwide impact as he did, would like their name and memory carried on by those people that he loved and surrounded himself with by choice."
Cambell, along with drummer Vinny Appice and bassist Jimmy Bain, was part of the original DIO lineup, which reunited in 2012 alongside singer Andrew Freeman to form LAST IN LINE.
Vivian has consistenly denied that financial considerations were a driving factor in his departure from DIO. "It wasn't about money. It was never about money," he told KNAC.COM in a 2016 interview. "I am very, very big on principle. When a man looks me in the eye and shakes my hand and makes an agreement with me, I expect him to honor that agreement. Because I always uphold my end of the deal. And when I went to Ronnie, he reneged on that. The agreement was that by the third album, the band would be an equitable situation, and the reason I was fired was because I called him on that."
Campbell went on to accuse Wendy Dio of "never want[ing] DIO to be a band. She always wanted it to be about Ronnie, the solo artist," he said. "In her mind, it didn't matter who was in the band with Ronnie, who was standing behind him — bass player, guitar players, drummers, whatever; we were all interchangeable. I strongly disagree with that. I think every musician is unique, like our own fingerprint. The way you play, the way you don't play. The gaps you leave, the timing, the tonality you have, everything is unique to an individual, and when you find three or four people that work together and create a great sound, that's the chemistry of a band. That's unique. When you start pulling people out of that equation, it's never going to be the same. It's always going to be a facsimile."
Vivian added: "The original DIO band had a certain magic, not only in the way we sounded, but in the way created and we wrote those songs together. That was never going to be the same."
Campbell then reiterated his position, once again denying that a financial dispute was at the heart of his exit from DIO. "I want to strongly emphasize, this was never about money. It was always about principle. That's what broke up the DIO band."
Vivian last year slammed DIO DISCIPLES, saying that the band has "zero credibility" as a Ronnie James Dio tribute project despite the fact that it is fully supported by Wendy.
"I don't think [LAST IN LINE is] even in the same league as the DIO DISCIPLES," Campbell said. "None of those guys were original members of the band DIO. We're the original band. We're the guys who formed the band with Ronnie. Not only were in the band, but we wrote all the songs with Ronnie. If you look at the writing credits on the first three records, it was very, very much a collaborative creative venture. That's what made the early DIO records so strong."
According to Vivian, he didn't know about DIO DISCIPLES' existence until 2012, almost two years after the band first started playing shows as a tribute to Ronnie. "It was around the time that [LAST IN LINE] got together to jam that I had first heard of the DIO DISCIPLES," the guitarist said. "I wasn't even aware of them. It was actually Vinny who told me. I couldn't believe that these guys were going out and playing songs that we actually wrote with Ronnie. I thought, 'Well, if they're doing it, then why shouldn't we do it?' With us, there is a legitimacy to what were doing, ya know? I doubt that there is a real legitimacy in the DIO DISCIPLES."
Originally scheduled to kick off in Helsinki, Finland, the "Dio Returns: The World Tour" tour featuring Ronnie James Dio reuniting via hologram with his DIO bandmates will now begin in Bochum, Germany on December 6. The tour will make stops in Poland, Spain, Romania, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Belgium before the end of 2017.
Dates initially announced for Finland, Sweden and Norway are being rescheduled for a larger run through Scandinavia in 2018. The "Dio Returns" tour will also make stops throughout Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, United States, Venezuela and other countries, with more dates to be announced.
The Ronnie James Dio hologram will perform throughout the show, treating fans to an alternating setlist that will feature songs such as "Rainbow In The Dark", "We Rock", "Neon Nights", "King Of Rock And Roll", "Man On The Silver Mountain", "Heaven And Hell", "Holy Diver" and more.
The "Dio Returns" tour will feature Ronnie's actual live vocals, with the DIO band playing live, featuring Goldy on guitar, Simon Wright on drums and Scott Warren on keyboards, along with Bjorn Englen on bass. Owens will also perform, with singer Oni Logan (LYNCH MOB) also joining on select dates.