Ronnie James Dio recently spoke to RockConfidential.com about the new DIO album "Master of the Moon" and his views on the world and the current state of the music business. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
RockConfidential.com: You've seen a lot of things in your career. What's your opinion of the music biz as it stands today?
Ronnie James Dio: "When I first started you really had a lot more opportunity via a record company and the people that ran those record companies. They wanted to give people a chance to develop. I think that's so very important that you don't have the mentality that I find today. I call it the 'big pen mentality.' If you don't have a big hit on your first product then they throw you away. I think that's difficult. With digital recording and home studios there is a way to give you just as proper a piece of product as big professional studios. It's opened up the competitive lanes incredibly. It's made the throw away thing even harder because if you throw one away there are 25,000 waiting for you to try them out as well. It's the lack of care that used to be there that I just don't find anymore. That is one good reason for independent labels. Until they're swallowed up by a bigger label they're usually people who are fans of the music. They're really involved and they want to give it a chance and they do. That's the biggest difference that I've seen. Musically I think we've kind of retrograded. The people I grew up listening to that I wanted to be like were good singers, good musicians, great singers, great musicians. That's what I wanted to be. Generationally the music has changed and it went to more of a social aspect of punk music to no punk music to punk music coming back again to no punk music to punk happening again! It's cool because I think making a social statement is excellent. I think that musically things have suffered a bit. Especially from the end of the vocalists."
RockConfidential.com: Through your entire career, when have you had the most fun?
Ronnie James Dio: "Actually I think the most fun for me was the very beginning with my first band, ELF. That's easily the most enjoyable for me because everything was an experience for the first time. I'd never been out of the country. Going out of the country for the first time was a wonderful experience, not only for me but the guys in that band were friends I grew up with. To share those experiences together was absolutely the best thing that's ever happened to me. That was certainly the happiest time, the most 'wide-eyed' time. Musically the 'Heaven And Hell' time was the most enjoyable. At the time SABBATH was not doing well with their last couple of albums. It was a real down-turn time for them. My inclusion in the band meant that we had an opportunity to succeed again. I always felt that band needed success. It deserved success. After all, it's a band that created heavy metal. Guys like Tony and Geezer in the band are great players. Bill and Ozzy...it was a special band and for me to come in and reach success again was a lot of fun. I really liked the guys a lot and we got along so well. It was almost like being in my first band again. They came across with this attitude, not really simplistic, but wide-eyed, moreso than other people I've worked with. Unfortunately those things fall apart but it was very productive and really a lot of fun personally."
RockConfidential.com: What's a typical day like for you if you're not involved in your music?
Ronnie James Dio: "I'm a sports freak. I love sports. I always wanted to be a baseball player. That was my dream. I never got big enough to be able to do that. I think I might've had a shot at it talent-wise. I certainly never could compete with the monsters of today, especially as small as I am. That's what I wanted to do. I'm in awe of athletes who are so dedicated. I think we can all learn from that. It takes severe dedication to achieve that kind of goal. That doesn't mean that just because they're great athletes — and we've seen this time and time again — that they're good people. When I'm not on the road I'll watch any type of sporting event. Chair throwing, bottle throwing, football, baseball, basketball. I can equate with them. I find them very similar to musicians. I've always said that the quarterback on a football team is like the lead guitar player or the vocalist. The runningback might be the same thing. The drummer and the bass player are the linemen. They're the guys that let you move. You can see how engrossed I am in sports to relate it that way, but that's something I enjoy very much. Aside from that I just don't have much time for anything outside of music. It never really ends."
Read Ronnie James Dio's entire interview with RockConfidential.com at this location.