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Dio - Biography




Ronnie James Dio was part of the legendary Rainbow and Black Sabbath line-ups of the Seventies and early Eighties, started his solo career in 1982 and has released albums on a regular basis with this his own band ever since. Yet to him, every new recording in his exceptional career is another highlight that deserves his whole attention. "I enjoy starting work on a new album. Every time it's a mix of concentrated calm, thanks to my routine of many years, and great anticipation," he describes the atmosphere in the run-up to his latest CD, Master Of The Moon. The album combines the strong points of his two previous releases, Magica and Killing The Dragon, with the characteristic assets of his classics, Holy Diver, Dream Evil or Last In Line. Guitarist Craig Goldy is another important factor, Dio's collaboration with him having produced extremely fruitful results in Dream Evil (1987) and Magica (2000). "Once you've played with Ritchie Blackmore, the standard has been set," Dio points out. "We don't need to waste words about Craig Goldy, his guitar speaks for itself. And we're so used to working together that we both know each other's strengths instinctively. Craig and I composed most of the material on Master Of The Moon together, and we worked in perfect harmony."

The title track was the first number that Dio and Goldy completed for Master Of The Moon. "I devoted this song to all the people who are prone to bouts of melancholy," Dio explains. "There's only one piece of advice I can give them: let the sun shine on you to help you get over your dark thoughts." 'The Eyes' is equally deep. The track is about a paranoiac who feels persecuted and feels eyes following him everywhere. In Dio's own words, 'One More From The Road', which goes back to the time of the witch hunt, is a "slightly strange song". "Back then, people were persecuted and executed, just like today. Some of them were denounced for no reason at all." 'The Man Who Would Be King' draws an interesting comparison between King Richard Lionheart and the American president, George W. Bush. "Like the crusaders in the Middle Ages, Bush tries to force his philosophy on other peoples. I don't see the song as a political challenge, but as a request for the American government to rethink their policy on Iraq."

Master Of The Moon was produced by Ronnie James Dio again. "I like to have full control over the entire production. For me as a vocalist and composer of the songs, it's a natural process to make all important artistic decisions. This may lead to stressful phases and requires a lot of organisation, but at the end of the day nobody knows me and my music as well as I do."

Ronnie James Dio made the decisive step in his career in 1975, when Ritchie Blackmore, who had just left Deep Purple, reformed most of the members of Dio's previous band, Elf, in a new project called Rainbow. Rainbow became Dio's ticket to international fame, their 1975 debut featuring hard rock classics like 'Man On The Silver Mountain' or 'Catch The Rainbow', which became an instant success. Spectacular albums like Rainbow Rising (1976), On Stage - Live (1977) and Long Live Rock'n'Roll (1978) followed. To this day, Dio talks about his former mentor, Blackmore, with great respect: "Ritchie is the perfect musician. He knows his instrument inside out. As a composer, he has an amazing taste for the blend of rock and classical music. He's a wonderful solo artist, a consummate musician and a great performer."

Dio left Rainbow in 1979 and joined Black Sabbath to replace Ozzy Osbourne, releasing three albums with Sabbath in the Eighties: Heaven And Hell (1980), Mob Rules (1981) and Live Evil (1983), followed by an intermezzo, entitled Dehumanizer, in 1992. His musical opposite both times was Tony Iommi. "Tony is the greatest riff writer I've ever met," he enthuses. "He has so many phenomenal riffs up his sleeve that you wonder where they all come from. Tony invented heavy metal, his style continues to be copied by a lot of young bands."

Dio returned in 1983 as a band leader - this time under his own name. Three celebrated albums - Holy Diver (1983), The Last In Line (1984) and Sacred Heart (1985) - were the next steps in his ever-successful career, and towards the end of the Eighties, he still hadn't run out of things to say: Dream Evil (1987), recorded with guitarist Craig Glody, went down just as well with the public as his previous releases. On Lock Up The Wolves (1990), featuring 16-year-old British guitarist Rowan Robertson, the vocalist presented himself as energetic and powerful as ever. The two subsequent studio recordings, Strange Highways (1993) and Angry Machines (1996), showed that there's another side to Ronnie James Dio. His tendency towards mythical themes with lyrics about elves, demons and fire-spewing dragons had been replaced by a more realistic concept - which didn't seem to have any effect on his fans' affections, as his 1998 live cut The Last In Live proved. Magica reanimated Dio's collaboration with Craig Goldy in 2000, returning to his typical trademarks of the early Eighties, and was succeeded by a generically related offering, Killing The Dragon, two years later. His latest release, Master Of The Moon will be performed live for the first time in August 2004.

Official Biography: