J. Bennett of Decibel magazine (web site) recently conducted an interview with legendary heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio (DIO, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW, HEAVEN AND HELL). An excerpt from the chat follows:
Decibel: Did you ever get the feeling from Tony [Iommi] and Geezer [Butler] that they had a sense of relief about not being tied into the Ozzy Business for a change [with HEAVEN AND HELL]?
Dio: You know, I couldn't really speak about the business part of it. I don't know what their business structure was or how much they enjoyed it. But musically, I know they were relieved to be able to go out and onstage and compete with other bands and be proud of it. I think it's been difficult for them because for the last 15 years they've played "War Pigs" and "Iron Man" over and over and over again. And these are things that they say in interviews, so I'm not putting words in their mouths. I think they — especially Tony — wanted to take more musical chances and revisit something that was exciting for them. They'd had enough "Iron Man".
Decibel: They didn't bitch about Sharon even a little bit?
Dio: Oh, no — we don't have those kinds of conversations. This is nothing to do with Sharon or Ozzy. This is what we're doing, and we just concentrate on doing the best we possibly can. I don't ask them anything about Sharon, and they don't ask me questions like that, either. I think that's a private matter, really. I know everyone thinks there's a problem between Sharon and everyone else in the world, but it may not be true. So we don't bother with that. It's not important to us.
Decibel: Has there been any discussion about doing a HEAVEN AND HELL album?
Dio: Well, there's always discussion about that. When we wrote the three songs for "The Dio Years", it went so well for us that it became obvious that it'd be pretty damn easy for us to do that. But we never said a thing about it because we wanted to put a timeline on this. Unlike the war, we have a timeline. So when we finish in December, that's it/ I have commitments with DIO; I know Tony and Geezer have things to do, and I know SABBATH's 40th anniversary is coming up, too, so I'm sure they'll do something with that as well. But we wanted to put some finality to this. It's a lot better this way. Should something happen down the line, well… there we are. But I can understand the question because we did those three songs and people think, "Hell, SABBATH haven't even done one in the time they've been back together." I think they actually did do one or two, but whatever they've done certainly didn't reach the quality, I think, of what we did on these three tracks. So people want more, but you know, we have to be careful with all of this. I love my own band a lot, and I don't want to not play with them again. DIO did an album called "Magica", and our next album is going to be a double-album: "Magica 2" and "3". I wanna finish it before I quit this damn business. So the last thing on my mind is doing another SABBATH album at this point.