In a new interview with Rockin' Metal Revival, Tony Iommi reflected on his time recording and touring with Ronnie James Dio as his bandmate in both BLACK SABBATH and HEAVEN & HELL. The guitarist said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "The last tour we did with Ronnie was real precious, and we had such a great time. And we really bonded. The last generation of the period with Ronnie was really close — everybody was close. Yeah, Ronnie was such a really nice person.
"What I liked about Ronnie [is] he gave everybody time," Tony continued. "It was just remarkable. Before the show, he'd have people in his dressing room — 'cause we'd have separate dressing rooms — he'd have people in there talking away and drinking and whatever. And he never warmed up or anything; he'd never done any kind of warming-up procedure before he went on stage. And he'd walk on stage and he'd just [sound] unbelievable; his voice was spot-on. It was just amazing, really, how he could do that.
"He was a really nice, caring character. He'd call me up — even just before he passed, he was on the phone to me, calling me from the hospital.
"It was very sad, really, [when he died]," Iommi added. "But he thought a lot of everybody — he really did. And he loved his fans."
Dio replaced Ozzy Osbourne in BLACK SABBATH in 1980, recording the "Heaven And Hell" and "Mob Rules" albums, plus "Live Evil", before leaving in 1982. He rejoined the group 10 years later for an album called "Dehumanizer", and again teamed with the group under the HEAVEN & HELL banner in 2006. HEAVEN & HELL released an album called "The Devil You Know" in 2009.
Ronnie passed away of stomach cancer on May 16, 2010 at the age of 67.
Dio was renowned throughout the world as one of the greatest and most influential vocalists in heavy metal history. The singer was diagnosed with cancer in late 2009. He underwent chemotherapy and made what is now his final public appearance in April 2010 at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in Los Angeles.
Ronnie's long-awaited autobiography, titled "Rainbow In The Dark: The Autobiography", will be released on July 27 via Permuted Press.
Iommi is currently promoting the upcoming deluxe editions of BLACK SABBATH's "Heaven And Hell" and "Mob Rules" albums.