DIO DISCIPLES, the new project featuring former DIO members Simon Wright (drums), Craig Goldy (guitar) and Scott Warren (keyboards) alongside bassist James Lomenzo (MEGADETH, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, WHITE LION) and singers Tim "Ripper" Owens (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, BEYOND FEAR, JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH) and Toby Jepson (LITTLE ANGELS, GUN), will embark on a full U.S. tour in September. Exact cities and dates will be announced soon.
DIO DISCIPLES' European tour will kick off in early June.
Commented Wright: "We are in rehearsal at the moment getting ready to embark on our first European tour.
"It's been very weird and a little emotional getting through the songs without Ronnie. I keep hearing him saying, in my head, 'Let's try that part again,' and 'OK, let's run the set... It helps to remind me that we have to keep playing and get the job done.
"As [Ronnie's wife/manager] Wendy [Dio] said, 'There will never be another Ronnie James Dio.' Absolutely 100 percent right.
"As we know, though, first and foremost Ron was a musician, and loved having a band and the music came first. With that in mind, we all sat down talked and discussed the possibility of doing the DIO DISCIPLES project. The most important point was to be able to bring Ronnie's brilliant songs to the fans and celebrate them in the best way we know how in a live show with all of you. Just as important is that while you read this we are doing this from the heart and for all the right reasons.
"Ron was like a father to me and over the years we became best friends.
"I'm not trying to one-up anybody here; there are lots of people who loved Ron, especially, and, of course, Wendy, but this band is something I feel very strongly about and positive about.
"I wish we didn't have to do this project; I miss Ron every day, but something tells me he would want us to carry on, work hard and continue bringing you, the fans, his music."
German "metal queen" Doro Pesch will be filling in for Owens on the following DIO DISCIPLES tour dates:
June 29 - Milan, Italy @ Magazzini Generali
July 01 - Bilbao, Spain @ Rockstar Live
July 02 - Madrid, Spain @ Heineken
July 03 - Barcelona, Spain @ Bikini
Owens will be unable to make the Italian and Spanish shows as he will be attending his daughter's wedding.
Wright (AC/DC, DIO, UFO, MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP, RHINO BUCKET) played drums in DIO for 1990's "Lock Up The Wolves" album. He left the band in 1991 when Ronnie James Dio rejoined BLACK SABBATH. Wright returned to DIO in 1999 and remained the band's drummer until Ronnie's death. Vinny Appice was the DIO drummer from 1993 to 1999.
On guitar is longtime DIO member Craig Goldy (ROUGH CUTT, GIUFFRIA, DAVID LEE ROTH, DIO) who made his DIO debut on 1987's "Dream Evil" album.
On keyboards is 15-year DIO and HEAVEN & HELL veteran Scott Warren. Scott made his DIO debut on 1996's "Angry Machines" album.
On bass is the multi-talented James Lomenzo (MEGADETH, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, SLASH'S SNAKEPIT, HAIL!, WHITE LION, DAVID LEE ROTH).
On vocals is Tim "Ripper" Owens (JUDAS PRIEST, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN'S RISING FORCE, BEYOND FEAR, ICED EARTH, HAIL!, CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED).
Joining Owens on vocals from Manchester, U.K. is Toby Jepson (LITTLE ANGELS, FASTWAY, GUN, TOBY AND THE WHOLE TRUTH).