Paul Jackson of Daily Yomiuri recently conducted an interview with legendary heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio (DIO, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW). A few excerpts from the chat follow:
On revisiting the "Holy Diver" material on a recently released live CD:
"It was cool and fun to play those songs again...but to me it seems so completely retro to go back to what we did in 1983 in 2005. It'd become fashionable around that time to do an entire album [live]. DEEP PURPLE had done 'Machine Head' on one tour and QUEENSRŸCHE were doing 'Operation: Mindcrime'. This was special because 'Holy Diver' was the first introduction to the DIO band and there are great songs on that album, so we agreed to do it.
"But anyone can stand on their laurels. It's only what you do tomorrow or tonight that's important...it's all about creation."
On being influenced by opera as a child:
"I grew up with opera around me all the time. I think you have to equate [my singing style] with my trumpet playing. I sing the way I played...I went for a full-bodied voice with a lot of range and a lot of emotion.
"I got a scholarship to Juilliard in New York as a horn player, but I couldn't see myself getting stuck in an orchestra with 80 people."
On the possibility of a reunion with SABBATH's Tony Iommi or RAINBOW's Ritchie Blackmore:
"I would absolutely say no if it was for nostalgia. Money has never been a consideration for me...so the project would have to be forward-thinking.
"I have no time for bands that reform because they couldn't get jobs as CEOs at companies or at the local porn factory or whatever."
On seeing himself as a regular guy:
"I never listen to the accolades. I know what I am. I've got foibles like everyone else has. I can't fix my car or deal with my computer, but I can sing and I can write some things and I've been in some great bands. The rest is all about being a human from the ground level up."
On whether he acknowledges his role as the singer who brought fantasy themes to metal:
"I guess I probably would take that little badge of honor. I probably have done that more than anyone else. If I can take another example, the famous two-finger horn sign I've been given credit for having invented was something I just picked up from grandmother, who was Italian and had superstitions and that was her protection against the evil eye. Because I did this one sign so many times it became identifiable with me and because I've written more fantasy attitudes and lyrics...I guess I became Mr. Fantasy, but I write a lot of other things as well."
"I have a kind of medieval English home and in it, it has the accoutrements that make sense, everything from suits of armor to antlers. I must have about 50 swords, but only a couple of crossbows. That's a pretty horrible instrument of war."
"I don't have a moat [around the house]; there's no drawbridge."
"It's a great time to write about, but not a great time to live. It was all criminality and people fighting against each other and you didn't even have the luxury of a bullet going through your head, you had a sword stuck in you."