Guitarist Doug Aldrich, who was a member of DIO for a short period between 2002 and 2006, recently spoke to Danny Stoakes about what it was like to work with Ronnie James Dio.
"For me, [he was] the best heavy metal singer ever, Ronnie," Doug said (head audio below). "There's a lot of great ones — Rob Halford [JUDAS PRIEST] and Bruce Dickinson [IRON MAIDEN]. All these guys — Biff Byford [SAXON] — they're all killer, but Ronnie, for me, that's the guy that… That [BLACK] SABBATH album was so incredible, the 'Heaven And Hell' album."
Asked what it was like to play classic songs from RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH and DIO with Ronnie, Doug said: "It was great. I actually could find really comfort in playing both Vivian's [Campbell] stuff and Tony Iommi's. My style is based a little bit on guys like Tony Iommi and also another guy called Gary Moore, who you know. Viv was influenced by Gary, so some of his stuff came a little more natural for me. And Tony was a heavy pentatonic player, and I love the pentatonic scale. So that was always fun. But playing those riffs, like 'Children Of The Sea' — oh, man. And then the [Ritchie] Blackmore stuff, I would do my best to not… I'm a completely different player than Ritchie Blackmore. I guess everyone does their own thing. I love Ritchie — I love how he approached the guitar. He reminded me of all the good things from [Jimi] Hendrix and Jeff Beck combined, and he was putting his original [spin on it]. So, playing his stuff, I would use a Strat.'
He continued: "One of the scariest parts of that [2005 tour where we recorded the] 'Holy Diver - Live' [album] is that we were doing 'Gates Of Babylon' — it's off the 'Long Live Rock 'N' Roll' album — and, man, that solo scared the shit out of me. I did a pretty good version on that night — it was pretty good; it wasn't perfect. I was just, like, 'I've just gotta get through… Once I get through that solo, if I do it halfway decent, I'm gonna be totally confident.' And then I got through that solo, and it was a great show."
In a 2015 interview with CrypticRock.com, Aldrich said that he was "only really in [DIO] for about a year, but in that year, we did do the 'Killing The Dragon' record. I got to contribute to that record with a couple of songs also, which was nice," he said. "We did a lot in that first year. We did that record, a bunch of touring, and a live DVD called 'Evil Or Divine - Live In New York City' . Then I joined WHITESNAKE, but I kept coming back to DIO. There was a couple of tours in 2005. Ronnie said, 'Would you come on tour with me?' I said, 'Absolutely, I just have to speak to David about it.' David said, 'Cool, just make sure you come back,' because we had talked about some new music and he did not want me to split."
Having also played with LION, HOUSE OF LORDS, BAD MOON RISING, HURRICANE and Glenn Hughes, Aldrich joined THE DEAD DAISIES in 2016 and can be heard on that band's last three albums, 2016's "Make Some Noise", 2018's "Burn It Down" and 2021's "Holy Ground".
Ronnie James Dio, best known for his work with BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW and DIO, died of stomach cancer in May 2010 at the age of 67.