RONNIE JAMES DIO On The Future Of HEAVEN & HELL, DIO

Robert Gray of Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with legendary heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio (HEAVEN & HELL, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW, DIO). A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: When you reunited with Tony [Iommi] and Geezer [Butler], were you worried that a repeat of the "Dehumanizer" situation would occur?

Dio: No, no. We were very, very smart about the way we dealt with things, and I think we learnt lessons from what had happened to us before, with the two break ups before that. I think it's a pretty good indication that we want to play in a band together, and that it's something we do a lot, because we keep getting back together again. But yeah, I think we took it really slowly. We didn't make plans to do something that we couldn't deliver, either to ourselves, or to someone we'd promised to do something, say a tour or whatever. We didn't make these long term plans, and that allowed a lot of mistakes not to happen. Again, we've all grown up a lot. We really appreciate each other more than we ever did before, and we were always good friends — that was never a problem. Contrary to what people may believe, we never had arguments. In fact, I don't remember ever having an argument. Of course, nothing physical ever happened, so it seems really odd that we did break up that many times. I guess a lot of it was because of some political things that were going on, and again, we were younger, and did things that we shouldn't have done. So yeah, there's always that thought in the back of your mind, if this could happen again, and if this will be another "Dehumanizer" situation. We're not allowing that to happen though; we have communication now, we talk, and we really, really spend a lot of time together, which was something we didn't do before. Because of all the lessons that we learnt from the past, I don't worry about that ever happening. If it did happen, I think we're confident enough in the things that we did in the past, and the things that we can still do without each other, so it wouldn't be the end of the world. But we really, genuinely enjoy making music together, and being around each other, so I don't see that happening. We're too cautious about it now.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: How does the chemistry within the DIO band differ to the chemistry within HEAVEN & HELL?

Dio: Well, I think one of the differences is that I'm a lot more in control of my own situation because it is the DIO band, and I can make a lot of decisions that are mine and mine alone. With SABBATH, we're very democratic. We don't do things behind each others' backs, and unless we all agree to it, it doesn't happen. That sometimes can make life a little bit more difficult if I don't agree with the decision of the other two, but that's the way we've set it up, so that's the way it works. So far, I've not seen any problems with that. So really, it's the difference between having a little bit more of a — certainly not a dictatorship, but let's put it that way anyway — a little bit more of a dictatorship, and a whole lot more democracy in SABBATH. That's really the difference in the chemistry. As far as the people go, we are all different people. Tony and Geezer have done this for such a long time, and I've known them for such a long time, with all the things we've done together. We share different experiences in the DIO band, and life is made of all those experiences. Our experiences in the DIO band bring us close together, with the things we have done, and the things we're about to do. All the things we've done in SABBATH, HEAVEN & HELL, whatever we're gonna call it, those are different experiences, but yet they're all enjoyable ones. As far as chemistry goes, there's no lack of chemistry on either side. It's just as I said before; it's more my decision with the DIO band, and much more democratic the other way.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: You also recorded some voice work for "Brütal Legend", but unfortunately those parts weren't used. What are your thoughts on that?

Dio: I was looking forward to seeing the finale, and it was very interesting to do. We went to a place called Skywalker Ranch, which is where George Lucas' original studio was. A brilliant place, with memorabilia everywhere. There was a great atmosphere, and I enjoyed doing it, but at the end of the day, it just didn't work out. Perhaps my voice characterization wasn't what they were looking for. It's not what I do, truthfully. They asked, and I thought it was interesting to be a part of, but at the end of the day, if it wasn't right, then it wasn't right. At the end of the day, I don't harbour any bad feelings about that at all. It doesn't matter to me.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: Some have added two and two together, and have come up with five, alleging that your parts weren't used because Ozzy (Osbourne) contributed to "Brütal Legend", and supposedly didn't want you to be a part of the project. What are your thoughts on that rumor?

Dio: I've heard that rumor, and people do put two and two together, or sometimes put two and two together and it equals five, so perhaps they're wrong about that. I don't accuse anyone unless I know exactly what's going on. I don't know if that's the case. It certainly seems coincidental, I must admit. It does. I'm not gonna throw the blame to anyone, though. Perhaps that wasn't the reason, and perhaps it wasn't because Ozzy was a part of it. Again, it just doesn't bother me at all. I'm very thick-skinned when it comes to that, and I don't really care if they did that. If someone did do that, then I think it just shows small-mindedness, but I'm not gonna accuse anyone till I know what's going on.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: Do you see yourself recording a new HEAVEN & HELL album?

Dio: Yeah. I think so — I do think so. I think we'll probably tour a little bit first in the interim time. Of course, we're dealing with Tony's hand at the moment too. We would've been touring more with HEAVEN & HELL, and probably wouldn't even have organized this DIO tour, if it hadn't been for the fact that Tony has tendon problems in his hand, and had to be operated on. That gave me the time to do this that we're talking about now, which is the tour, and working more on "Magica". At the moment, we're waiting to see how Tony's hand is going to recuperate. We have no plans to break this up. I think we're all excited about doing another album at some point. I don't think we want to rush into it right now, but perhaps during this time off, between Tony's recovery and us getting back together with HEAVEN & HELL, we'll be able to get together and write some more songs. We can do that, certainly. To answer your question, yeah, I think we will.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: How does the future of the DIO band look?

Dio: I think it looks really good. Once again, as I said before, there are people in this band who really, really want to be in this band, and who really love the music that we make. They love the majesty of it, the bigness of it, sometimes the heaviness of it, and just all the great songs that have been done from year to year. Those songs never die; they're fun for me to play after all these years, and they're certainly fun for Rudy [Sarzo] and Simon [Wright] and Craig [Goldy] to play, and they do such a wonderful job of it. It has a great future, as far as I'm concerned. I'm not trying to take away from what I'll be doing with HEAVEN & HELL, because once I apply myself to HEAVEN & HELL, that's the only thing I'll focus on. As you suggested earlier though, in the back of my mind there's always that thought about the DIO band, because again, it's been such a big part of my life. It's given me such great songs to be able to play, and so many people who have made their way to this band as fans, and as friends. It's something that's never going to die, not in my mind, and it's something that I'll carry on and do.

Read the entire interview from Ultimate-Guitar.com.

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