MANOWAR Director Defends Band's DIO Tribute, Says Criticism Is Fuelled By Jealousy

The first of three promotional videos for "Magic - A Tribute to Ronnie James Dio", a new CD featuring Magic Circle Music artists and friends performing some of Dio's most inspired work, can be viewed below.

"Magic - A Tribute to Ronnie James Dio" is described in a press release as "especially poignant because Dio hails from the same fertile upstate New York soil as MANOWAR," which owns Magic Circle Music.

MANOWAR director Neil Johnson — who is responsible for overseeing all of the band's DVDs and music videos — has released the following statement regarding some of the criticism levelled at the group over the fact that none of the revenue generated from the sale of "Magic - A Tribute to Ronnie James Dio" will apparently go to the Ronnie James Dio "Stand Up And Shout" Cancer Fund.

"I hope you all will enjoy it and please do not be influenced by some of jealousy and negativity being spread about this very heartfelt project , which I, along with many others who shall soon come forth, are very proud of.

"Magic Circle Music will be issuing a statement very soon but in the meantime let me personally express my feelings about it with some indisputable facts:

"1. [Bassist] Joey DeMaio along with other members of MANOWAR knew Ronnie long before the people who are speaking ill of this project, with the exception of [THE RODS frontman/ex-ELF guitarist] [David] Rock Feinstein [who is also Ronnie's cousin].

"2. Joey and Ronnie were very close friends and no words of jealousy can ever change that, please look at the video that is forthcoming to see it for yourself.

"3. In my opinion, Rock Feinstein has one person and one person only to thank for the fact that he has a career today and that person is Joey DeMaio.

"The fact is... Joey signed him to Magic Circle Music personally, Joey not only made it possible for him to play at Wacken, but Joey played the song 'Far Beyond' on stage with him.

"It is well known that Ronnie and Rock had not spoken to each other (not the first time for something like this to happen) for many months and Joey alone is responsible for reuniting them onstage that night.

"Lastly, this tribute is being done in memory of a friend by his friends not for financial gain... Joey DeMaio trusts his fans, and his fans trust him... seeing this video will hint that there is a real, legitimate history (and reason) behind our Dio project."

David "Rock" Feinstein released a statement earlier today slamming MANOWAR's tribute CD. He said, "I just found out that [the MANOWAR-owned company] Magic Circle Music stated on their site that I was contributing a song to their proposed tribute album to Dio. It also states that I specifically wrote this song for Ronnie. This is totally UNTRUE!

"The song is called 'Far Beyond' and was a cut on the FEINSTEIN 'Third Wish' album, released by Magic Circle Music (SPV) in 2004. The song was co-written by myself and John West eight years ago.

"I am NOT a part of this Magic Circle tribute album, and will ONLY be a part of any tribute to Ronnie that is sanctioned by Niji Entertainment Group and Wendy Dio."

"Heavy metal has lost a great artist and a true gentleman," MANOWAR bassist Joey DeMaio previously said in a statement. "I had the privilege of being his friend and, along with other friends and admirers, we wish to honor him."

MANOWAR contributes a powerful rendition of the BLACK SABBATH song "Heaven And Hell". JACK STARR'S BURNING STARR and the MAGIC CIRCLE ALL STAR BAND (with Shmoulik Avigal and Joe Stump) contribute the classics "Catch The Rainbow" and "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" and Ronnie's cousin and former ELF guitarist David "Rock" Feinstein delivers a song titled "Far Beyond". The album is rounded out by several tenacious, up-and-coming bands, such as female-fronted HOLYHELL, featuring the voice of Maria Breon (called by many "the female Dio") as well as METALFORCE, AWAKEN and CROSSWIND, all of whom embrace Dio's legacy in their own inspired interpretations of his songs on "Magic".

In tribute to Dio's legacy, famous fantasy painter and illustrator Ken Kelly, the man behind many of heavy metal's most classic album covers (including some by MANOWAR) has reworked his iconic RAINBOW "Rising" artwork for "Magic".

"Magic - A Tribute To Ronnie James Dio" will be released on Magic Circle Music's online store Kingdom of Steel on June 18, in Germany on July 16, in the U.S. and Canada on July 20 and further international territories in the forthcoming weeks. The album will also be available at the merchandise booth of all upcoming MANOWAR live appearances, starting at the Sonisphere festival in Sofia, Bulgaria on June 23.

"Magic - A Tribute To Ronnie James Dio" track listing:

01. MANOWAR - Heaven And Hell
02. HOLYHELL - Holy Diver (Live In Norway)
03. METALFORCE - The Last In Line
04. MAGIC CIRCLE ALL STAR BAND - Long Live Rock'n Roll
05. AWAKEN - I Speed At Night
06. CROSSWIND - A Light In The Black
07. DEAN CASCIONE - Never More
08. FEINSTEIN - Far Beyond
09. HARLET - Straight Through The Heart
10. JACK STARR'S BURNING STARR - Catch The Rainbow

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