Shortly after leaving BLACK SABBATH in late 1982, Ronnie James Dio formed his own solo project with former SABBATH drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain and young guitarist Vivian Campbell, and recorded the debut DIO album, the now-classic "Holy Diver". Asked in a new interview with Metal Express Radio if he and his bandmates felt any pressure making their first LP after he and Ronnie exited SABBATH, Appice said (see video below): "No. As a matter of fact, it was all fun. We were nuts. We did all this work at Sound City [studios], and they let us destroy the building. They had games — like pinball games — and we used to open 'em up and put things in there so you never lose the ball, and wrecked the soda machines and the candy machines. They let us do everything we wanted to do in there. It was kind of like every night at seven o'clock — that's when we started — it was boys' night at the boys' club. We'd go over there and smoke pot, and they'd make drinks and we would write and create. There were never any songs written; we did everything in the studio. And it was just a great, great happy time. And we didn't think twice about, 'This has gotta be as good as SABBATH.' We weren't thinking like that. We were just going in, doing what we do. The band sounded great together. We got Vivian on guitar and Jimmy on bass, and we just let it flow. It was all natural, organic kind of thing. And there was never any pressure, 'It's gotta sound as good as SABBATH or better,' or whatever we could do. And it just came together. And when people heard it, they flipped out — like 'Holy Diver' and 'Stand Up And Shout'. The band was on fire — totally on fire."
Originally issued on May 25, 1983, "Holy Diver" has been hailed by critics as DIO's best work and a classic staple in the heavy metal genre. The LP was certified gold in the U.S. on September 12, 1984 and platinum on March 21, 1989.
"Holy Diver" re-entered The Billboard 200 chart in late May 2010 — shortly after Ronnie James Dio died of stomach cancer — at No. 149 and bowed at No. 11 on Pop Catalog.
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.
Appice is currently promoting the upcoming deluxe editions of BLACK SABBATH's "Heaven And Hell" and "Mob Rules" albums.