Norwegian powerhouse vocalist Jorn Lande (MASTERPLAN, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, ARK, THE SNAKES) spoke to U.K.'s Classic Rock magazine about criticism that his Ronnie James Dio tribute album has only been released now to cash in on the legendary HEAVEN & HELL/BLACK SABBATH/RAINBOW singer's recent death.
"It is a very sensitive matter," Lande said. "When Ronnie passed away so suddenly, It was decided that it would be worse to delay the release of the album by a few months rather than proceeding with the release as planned. By releasing the album as planned, it would be obvious that we didn't run into the studio to benefit from the situation, since it's not possible to make a good-quality album in such a short period of time.
He added, "Parts of the album were recorded last year, and some of the songs were recorded in October/November 2008. 'Song For Ronnie James' (which opens the record) was written in 2009 and recorded this winter. There are also a couple of tracks that were done in 2006/2007."
Regarding how he chose the tracks he's covered on the album, Lande told Classic Rock, "I picked most songs based on what I liked, and not based on which ones were the most popular ones. I also thought that the original versions of songs like 'The Last In Line', 'Holy Diver' and 'Rainbow In The Dark' were too obvious to record, plus the fact that the original versions of these songs sound so good that I believed they can’t be done any better.
"I always favored the darker and heavier side of Ronnie's work, plus the more uptempo classic hard rock/metal songs. 'Shame On The Night' is an epic dark masterpiece that many people have forgotten, and 'Push' is a great song to remind us of the later Dio era. 'Stand Up And Shout' is a personal favorite and the ultimate metal song."
Lande will perform with the surviving HEAVEN & HELL members Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice at a very special tribute to their Ronnie James Dio at this year's High Voltage festival on July 24 at Victoria Park in London, England. The musicians will also be joined by legendary former DEEP PURPLE and BLACK SABBATH man Glenn Hughes.
Proceeds from this performance will go to the Ronnie James Dio "Stand Up And Shout" Cancer Fund.
"I discovered Ronnie James Dio when he was in RAINBOW in the mid-'70s, and I played songs like 'Gates Of Babylon', 'Stargazer', 'Sixteenth Century Greensleeves', 'Man On The Silver Mountain', 'Starstruck' and 'Lady Of The Lake' over and over again," Lande told Classic Rock.
"It was the power, feeling and drama in Ronnie's performance that captured my attention. The impact he had on me when I was just a young boy was huge, and his royal roar made the hairs rise on the back of my neck."
Lande honored the musical legacy of Ronnie James Dio with his new album, aptly entitled "Dio", which was released on July 2 in Europe and will be made available July 27 in the U.S. via Frontiers Records.
Handpicking some lesser known tunes of the Dio era, along with some of the true classics, Jorn offers a fine collection of songs that present the music of the man and the artist, with a unique twist.
"Dio" also includes an original song for which a video, shot by Thomas Tjader (PRETTY MAIDS, IN FLAMES), was produced.
The "Song for Ronnie James" video can be viewed below.
"Dio" was mixed by Tommy Hansen at Jailhouse Studios and it features the following tracks:
01. Song For Ronnie James
03. Shame on the Night
05. Stand Up And Shout
06. Don't Talk to Strangers
07. Lord Of The Last Day
08. Night People
09. Sacred Heart
10. Sunset Superman
11. Lonely Is The Word / Letters From Earth (2010 version)
12. Kill The King
13. Straight Through The Heart (live)
14. Song For Ronnie James (video)
Jorn Lande: Lead Vocals
Willy Bendiksen: Drums
Tore Moren: Guitar
Jgor Gianola: Guitar
Tor Erik Myhre: Guitar
Nic Angileri: Bass
"Song for Ronnie James" video: