Ronnie James Dio, the man widely credited for pioneering the "devil's horns" hand sign, recently spoke to Kerrang! about the "widespread abuse of his creation" amongst pop folk and people who flash the sign without knowing the meaning behind it.
"It's all right as long as it's accepted for what it was," Dio told the magazine. "It was a more serious thing at the time, when I was with [BLACK] SABBATH. That was a band that was very dark, and that's what I wanted it to be. It was symbol of the darkness of that band, and not something to be passed on to BRITNEY SPEARS! An invention is an invention, I guess. It's become so damn polluted now. The people who are doing it don't know what it means and they have no idea that they shouldn't be doing it.
"It's a trend," Dio addded. "It's a popular trend and so it will probably become like the hula hoop. During a show, I sometimes think 'Maybe I won't do that tonight', because it's become so damn ludicrous now. Everyone's doing it and it has no meaning anymore. Now I wait until two or three songs into the show, and until there's a stop in the music and I'm doing something on my own, and then the response is incredible because people are wanting that from me. It's like OZZY and the peace sign, you know? So I never find myself not doing it, but I'm definitely doing it less and less these days.
"The point is that you can't just flash it. You have to a face that goes with it. There has to be some emotion behind it. It can't just be the raising of the arm, trying to get your fingers in the right position. And you'll notice that a lot of people are using the thumb now, too. When the thumb comes out it means 'I love you' either in Hawaiian or in sign language - I'm not sure which! So that's proof, once again, that these celebrities don't really have a clue. As stupid as this might sound, I never once did that on stage unless it was to punctuate something that was a little more dark. So when I did it, it was never about starting a trend. It's a natural thing for me to do. It's important to know that it's not something I did frivolously it was just a spontaneous response to something that I sang. A lot of times, bending of the knees always puts it in a slightly different perspective. It puts you in the Sumo position. Now you're ready to charge!"