The exact details of Ronnie James Dio's gardening accident of 2003 have come to light in an interview with Rockdetector.com editor Garry Sharpe-Young. Besides discussing the brand new DIO album "Master Of The Moon", how Rudy Sarzo has fitted into the new band unit and how the new songs were constructed, Garry broached two awkward questions: just what did really happen to his thumb and what are Dio's real feelings towards Vivian Campbell? Here's a bit of the interview to be posted soon:
Rockdetector.com: Last year, Internet rumours surfaced that you had severed your thumb in a gardening accident. While I'm sure a lot of fans initially brushed this off as unlikely, it then transpired to be true. What actually happened on that day?
Ronnie James Dio: "It was a killer garden gnome. I'm not joking, although I certainly wish I was. What happened was that I was in my yard trying to place this garden gnome on a slope. This is a seriously heavy piece of garden ornament, probably 60lbs or so. Anyway, it fell over, I fell into the shrubbery and then began to slide down to the bottom of the hill. I was trying to stop myself with my feet but put my hand out at the wrong moment. You can understand this all happened in a split second. My hand landed on a rock, and the gnome landed on it, squashing my thumb between the rock and the gnome. Basically it was crushed and took the end of my thumb off. I just looked at my hand and the first thought that flashed into my mind was, 'How on earth am I going to make my devil horn sign now? That's my trademark!' I wasn't worried about the injury, more concerned with my career."
Rockdetector.com: Did it enter your head that you had been struck by the ultimate rock 'n' roll irony of a bizarre gardening accident?
Ronnie James Dio: "Oh of course it did. I was imagining all the headlines in my head. It had every comedy element and more."
Rockdetector.com: How did you deal with it practically?
Ronnie James Dio: "I just picked up the end of the thumb, went back into the house, washed the nub of my thumb then got myself down to the hospital. It was quite surreal because I had one hand with this crushed thumb, basically just red meat and miniscule bits of bone, and I was holding the end of the thumb in my other hand. It was quite fascinating. It's not too often you get to see inside your thumb.
"I got a shock when I arrived in the emergency room because a nurse took a look at it first and said, 'No, I don't think we can save this.' I had to wait a while then for a doctor, all the time praying that he would come up with a different evaluation. Anyhow, he did thankfully. He said he could sew it back on. 'Please do!' I said, and that's exactly what he did."
Rockdetector.com: Was there any pain or was it totally numbed out?
Ronnie James Dio: "Totally numb, no pain whatsoever. I think all the nerves got crushed or something. It looked like it should be painful, but it wasn't. After it was sewn back on they did a proper job of it and now it's OK. It looks a little distorted and the nail has not grown fully back yet but I'm thankful I still have my thumb and I can still do my horn sign."
Rockdetector.com: What happened to the gnome? Did you take revenge?
Ronnie James Dio: "Ah no, he's still there. Only now he is on a very sensible level piece of ground. It wasn't his fault, he's an inanimate object but sometimes I look at that face and think… Y'know, he just has one of those faces! Put it this way, if I'm involved in another gardening accident you won't have far to look."