VINNY APPICE: RONNIE JAMES DIO Was 'Like No Other Person You Met'

Michele Derrough of recently conducted an interview with legendary drummer Vinny Appice (DIO, BLACK SABBATH, HEAVEN & HELL, KILL DEVIL HILL). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. What would you say was the greatest thing you learned from Ronnie James Dio?

Vinny: Ronnie is an amazing person, just amazing, like no other person you met. You could feel the aura around him and stuff. Very creative, very personable and what Ronnie was all about was his music and his fans. Those were really, really one of the two most important things in his life. And, of course, his family and stuff, but he loved his music and that's what he lived for. And his fans. From the early days to the end, he was out there signing autographs. He was meeting everybody and when you met him, you might see him on the next tour or a year later and he remembered your name. It was incredible. When I joined SABBATH, we used to fly commercial to go to gigs but when we'd get to the airport there were two limos for us. So usually me and Ronnie would load into one and Tony [Iommi] and Geezer [Butler] were in the other so at the end of the show Tony and Geezer would leave and Ronnie and I would hang out. Then when we'd leave, if there were kids out at the gate, Ronnie would go, "Stop the car, stop the car," and he'd get out and go sign through the gate and sign all the autographs. Might take him forty-five minutes or an hour and I was like, wow, this is cool. So then I would come out and do it. People kind of knew me and they got my autograph and after years had gone by I always did it with Ronnie. He'd go out and I'd go out with him and I learned that that is important. The fans appreciate that and if it wasn't for the fans we wouldn't be able to do this and live this life so it's an important thing. And that is what Ronnie was all about. He loved his music and just an intelligent guy. He would get a book and get on the airplane and by the time we'd fly to London, the book would be finished. [laughs] Just an avid reader and very, very smart. Who was the first rock star that you ever met and don't name your brother.

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Vinny: The first real rock star I met was Jeff Beck and that's because my brother was playing with him. Jeff was a big rock star back then, he still is now, but back then I was a little kid and it was like, "Oh my God." [laughs] One day Carmine called up and said — we lived in Brooklyn and Carmine lived in Long Island — and my Mom makes great Italian food and always cooks for the bands and everything so he's going to bring Jeff Beck over to the house in Brooklyn. I was like, "Oh my God, Jeff Beck is coming here. Holy shit." [laughs] So my mom made great Italian food and he's a vegetarian so she made vegetarian manicotti, not meatballs, but sauce and everything. She made a whole feast and then Jeff came in and it was like, oh my God. So I met Jeff when I was really, really young and he was a real rock star and it was cool. But I was like ashamed of the house 'cause the house was small, we didn't have a big house or anything like that, but it was a rock and roll house. [laughs] And Jeff loved it, you know. We had to put the table in the living room 'cause we had a small kitchen and that kind of thing. We didn't have a dining room. So he came over and it was like amazing, like wow, this is Jeff Beck, holy crap. So that was cool. That was a big one and from there on in, I started meeting everybody. Is there anyone left that you haven't met yet but would love to meet and maybe play with?

Vinny: I would love to meet Jimmy Page. I've never met him. I've seen him and I've met Robert Plant; I actually got to play with Robert Plant, got to get up and jam with him one time years ago. But Page I never met. I was influenced a lot by ZEPPELIN so he would be a cool guy to meet.

Read the entire interview from


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