RONNIE JAMES DIO: BILL WARD's 'Commitments' Prevented Him From Touring With HEAVEN AND HELL

Jon Wiederhorn of Revolver magazine (web site) recently conducted an interview with Ronnie James Dio (DIO, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW) and Tony Iommi (BLACK SABBATH) of HEAVEN AND HELL — the new band also featuring SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler and ex-DIO/SABBATH drummer Vinny Appice. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Revolver: Why didn't BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward play on [the new songs that will be included on the upcoming Dio-era BLACK SABBATH anthology, "Black Sabbath: The Dio Years"]?

Dio: Bill was going to do it, but he had commitments that wouldn't allow him, in his mind, to tour. The next logical choice was Vinny, because Vinny populated more of those albums than Bill did. Bill did the first album, and Vinny did three after that.

Revolver: The Osbourne camp issued a press release that pointed out HEAVEN AND HELL "has nothing to do with BLACK SABBATH" and that "there is only one BLACK SABBATH." Would they rather you didn't tour?

Dio: I don't know. I don't go out and petition for these things, they just sort of happen. And when they do, it doesn't mean there's been a big witches convention someplace in the dark going, "Alright, now we can put pins into Ozzy and Sharon." Because that's not the way it is at all.

Revolver: What brought you back for 1992's "Dehumanizer"?

Dio: I thought we quit way too early. Even after "Live Evil", I thought we'd do another blockbuster album and carry on for the rest of our lives. So Geezer came to me at a show in Minneapolis [in 1990, and came onstage to play "Neon Knights"]. He told me that Tony wanted to do something again, and one thing led to another.

Revolver: Was that album enjoyable to make?

Dio: Not really. It was something we had to really wring out of ourselves, but I think that's why it works. Sometimes you need that kind of tension, or else you end up making the Christmas album.

Revolver: Why did you leave again after "Dehumanizer"?

Dio: I was told in the middle of the tour that we would be opening for Ozzy in Los Angeles. And I said, "No. Sorry, I have more pride than that." A lot of bad things were being said from camp to camp, and it created this horrible schism. So by them agreeing to play the shows in L.A. with Ozzy, that, to me, spelled out reunion. And that obviously meant the doom of that particular project.

Revolver: Can we expect a HEAVEN AND HELL album in the future?

Dio: Well, I'm not going to give up the DIO band. And I think touring for a year with this band will be long enough. But I would hope that we'll still be speaking to each other after that and that some other plans might be able to be made.

Iommi: At this point, nothing is written in stone. Anything could happen.

Revolver's entire interview with HEAVEN AND HELL can be found in the magazine's March 2007 issue, which is set to hit newsstands this coming Monday, January 15. More information is available at www.revolvermag.com.

HEAVEN AND HELL's world tour will kick off March 11 in Vancouver, British Columbia and will play at least ten shows across Canada, including Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg and London. An exclusive New York City show has also been scheduled. DOWN — the acclaimed New Orleans band featuring CORROSION OF CONFORMITY guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, drummer Jimmy Bower (EYEHATEGOD, SUPERJOINT RITUAL guitarist), bassist Rex Brown (ex-PANTERA), guitarist Kirk Windstein (CROWBAR), and vocalist Philip Anselmo (SUPERJOINT RITUAL, ex-PANTERA) — will be the opening act for at least 10 of the dates while MOTÖRHEAD may or may not fill the middle slot. Then HEAVEN AND HELL will likely play South America, Japan, Korea, Australia and Europe before returning to North America for a U.S. tour in August or September.

HEAVEN AND HELL tour dates so far:

Mar. 11 - Vancouver, B.C. @ Pacific Coliseum
Mar. 13 - Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place
Mar. 14 - Calgary, AB @ Saddledome
Mar. 16 - Regina, SK @ Brandt Centre
Mar. 18 - Winnipeg, MB @ MTS Centre
Mar. 20 - Sault St. Marie, ON @ Steelback Centre
Mar. 22 - Toronto, ONT @ Air Canada Centre
Mar. 24 - London, ONT @ John Labatt Centre
Mar. 26 - Montreal, QUE @ Bell Centre
Mar. 27 - Quebec City, QUE @ Colisee Pepsi Arena
Mar. 28 - Ottawa, ONT @ Civic Centre
Jun 6-9 - Sölvesborg, SWE @ Sweden Rock
Jun. 09 - Tampere, FIN @ Sauna Open Air
Jun. 10 - Helsinki, FIN @ Jäähallissa
Jun. 22-23 – Balingen, GER @ Bang Your Head!!!

Tickets for the Helsinki show go on sale on January 16. The Toronto concert tickets are expected to go on sale on January 19.

The upcoming Dio-era BLACK SABBATH anthology, "Black Sabbath: The Dio Years", will feature three new songs ("Shadow of the Wind", "Devil Cries" and "Ear in the Wall"), and is tentatively due this spring.

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