Paulo Gregoletto (Trivium):
Dio defies any sort of genre-fication, he was metal before the word even was used to describe the music we all worship as religion. There may never be a voice as true and pure in metal ever again, in fact in my opinion there surely won’t be. It is sad to see someone as legendary as Dio pass away, but I think one positive that can be seen out of this sad time is the fact that he remained active through his entire career, through trends with in the genre he helped create, right until the day he died.
I was lucky to have seen Dio many years back, one of my first concerts actually. It was Dio, Yngwie Malmsteen and Doro, all in one night at a local club in Boynton Beach, FL. Up until that point, my heavy metal concerts where few and far between (mostly death metal shows at a place called the Culture Room.) This entire show blew my mind, the vocals and music of all these bands was top notch. But Dio’s show topped them all, it was an actual show! Before that I was blown away by 4-5 dudes playing their instruments very loud and banging their heads. Dio was a totally different experience, it was literally like he was from another time. Putting on arena shows no matter what the venue, he was second to none and his voice was unreal.
Fast forward about 7-8 years to Loud Park Festival in Tokyo, Japan. Heaven and Hell are headlining, and we are lucky to not only be a part of the festival, but to be supporting them for three extra shows. It’s unreal, just us and them on one stage. All four members of Heaven and Hell are practically god’s. They made metal what it is, Metallica are just one of millions of pupils that graduated from the school they created. We really weren’t worthy to be on this bill, but for whatever reasons we were allowed to be apart of these three amazing nights. We had played with Dio once previously on a small festival in Belgium. He was playing the entire Holy Driver album start to finish, that in itself was a massive check off of my “Thing’s to Witness/Hear/Do Before I die List.” We met him briefly at this show, and he was so nice to us!! Down to earth, extremely well spoken, and very kind to anyone that wanted to share a few moments with him. This had a major impact on me personally, seeing how he carried himself around the festival. He had star power, but wielded it were it matter most, on stage. Which brings us back to Loud Park and the side shows that we played. Heaven and Hell owned these nights, it wasn’t even about us trying to go out and think we could even compare to a band this powerful. All I wanted to do was take in every moment playing with a band of this caliber and just being in the presence of greatness. These shows were amazing for us, the crowds were very gracious and respectful even if we were holding up Heaven and Hell from coming on for forty minutes. After we finished, we had the chance to meet Dio and thank him for the chance to play before them. He gave us some kind words of encouragement and reciprocated the thanks to us for being on the shows as well.
We knew we were lucky to apart of those shows and have the chance to meet Dio, yet nothing like the passing of someone as important to music as he was can make you realize just how lucky you truly are to have those moments. The lesson I learned for these experiences and his music was to be true to yourself and your music, and to appreciate everything and everyone that has helped get you to where you are at.
Thank you Dio for the inspiration, REST IN PEACE!
Matt Heafy (Trivium):
Trivium had the privilege of meeting Dio while touring with Heaven and Hell in Japan in 2007. We were just happy to be on the shows and didn’t expect to spend any time with any of the guys in Heaven & Hell. Every single night of that tour Heaven & Hell blew our minds; we were fans in awe of how good they were. They had it all and to watch a group of musicians that deep into their careers so absolutely on top of their game like that was inspiring.
One night after a show in Nagoya, I was able to pop in real quick to say “hey” to Dio in his dressing room. I’ve been able to meet many heroes of mine in my life, but few have made impression on me like Ronnie James. He greeted me not as a support band member, but he welcomed me as a fellow musician and performer. He gave me a hug, invited a couple of us into his room where we all sat and talked and drank wine together. I remember our conversation crystal clear to this day. I told him how I met Bruce Dickinson on his BBC radio show and was asking Bruce about vocals and vocal techniques, and I shared with Dio that Bruce felt that I had started to develop my own vocal style and with work someday would further develop a stylistic similarity to Dio. Dio smiled and chatted about how he knew that Bruce was a fan of his voice, and from there we were able to just relax and talk shop about vocals and singing. Although it was a quick visit, Ronnie made me feel at home and was a really sweet dude. He gave us props, we finished our wine, we hugged and said “See ya tomorrow.” It was amazing that I received vocal coaching from quite possibly the greatest metal voice of all time. I am truly grateful for the time he gave me and his personal insight into our shared craft. For that I will always be thankful.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I pay my respects to Ronnie James Dio .
“What an amazing singer and entertainer.
“Throughout my career, he has always been in my top 10 list of vocalists. The mystery and emotion in his vocal style always lured me in for more.
“Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure to meet him in person, but, fortunately, I did have the extreme pleasure of experiencing his uncanny frontmanship in concert so many times I can’t even count it. I saw him with Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and almost had one of my wishes fulfilled when Heaven & Hell asked King Diamond to go on tour with them in the USA last year. Unfortunately, my back problems prevented that dream from coming true.
“I always had the highest respect for him and he will forever have his music playing in my home.
“My deepest sympathy goes out toRonnie’s family.
“I wish you a safe journey to the other side.”
“It’s a shock to hear that Ronnie has gone. Even though we had all known he was battling with cancer for some time, he was such a wiry fighter, and of such an amazingly optimistic nature, I think I assumed he would go on forever.
“Well, he fought to the very end… was gearing up to go back out on tour.
“I know this will be a very hard blow for my friend Tony Iommi.
“When I last saw Ronnie in Los Angeles, he was as full of life and positivity as anybody I’ve ever known .. and sang up a storm with Heaven & Hell in the Universal Amphitheatre.
“In my opinion, Ronnie was one of the creators of the genre of heavy metal. I’m not an expert on his work — there are many people much more knowledgeable than me… but our paths crossed many times over the years, and I had clear glimpses of his unique spirit and personality. He was in many ways the antithesis of the current mould of TV-bred singers. He had no apparent desire for fame, in the sense that so many “X-Factor” contestants seem to. He was not a TV face, a ‘celebrity.’ He just loved doing what he did. So, to his millions of fans, there was an unquestionable feeling of reality to his persona, his songwriting, and his performances. His lyric-writing was very distinctive, and set a style in heavy metal which has influenced many bands over the years. To me, it was as if his mind operated in layers — on the surface, a hard-working honest singer, with a great humanity and strong sense of humour — and underneath, in the world of his songs, his subconscious seemed to be populated by hobgoblins of all kinds, and palpable evil forever on the march. His lyrics, dark and mysterious, in tune with the metal ethos, always represented the sword of goodness in triumph over evil.
“I don’t know if he invented the devil-horn salute, but he was certainly the man who, more than ever, made it a universal symbol, a worldwide salute of metal.
“He was universally loved in the community of rock music, and will be sorely missed.”
Joey Vera (Armored Saint, ex Anthrax):
“Ronnie James Dio.
“His name shall be part of the very definition of the term heavy metal.
“All of us in this community owe a big part to him as he helped shape our entire genre. And he did it with complete originality and sincerity. He is the real deal.
“By now you’ve read much about him and how every person who’d had the pleasure of meeting the man use the words ‘kind,’ ‘nice,’ ‘humble’ and so on. I can tell you that these descriptions are truly accurate.
“I had the honor of being on tour with Dio on two occasions. Once on his Magica tour in 2001 while I was in Armored Saint and then later in 2004 while I was touring with Anthrax. I would watch Ronnie every night side stage and I was continuously blown away by his high level of performance. I must have seen over 40 shows from this vantage point and I never, ever saw or heard a single flaw. You always knew he was a great singer but It was then that I was convinced that he was a gift to us from some other place. Then there’s all the times I saw him with Sabbath.
“I can’t even go on…
“When you have the privilege of meeting someone like Ronnie — an idol, a legend — you almost expect a person like this to be overly confident, cocky, and they deserve to be, really. But Ronnie was the complete opposite. He really was the most humble, sincere and kind person you’d ever meet. He would always find time to stop in his tracks and say a few words to you. He was so down to earth and generous.
“Through his humility he’s taught us all that a man is not measured by the size of his wallet, or trophy collection, but instead by the size of his heart.
“I myself am glad that he chose the profession of singing because even though his body has been taken from us, his voice will stay here for all eternity.
“We’re all trying really hard here, but Ronnie, we can’t thank you enough.”
Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth):
“I saw the news last night and I hated them.
“Ronnie James Dio is gone…. I love him almost like a family member, and I feel empty and lonely knowing he’s not around anymore. He sits on my wall as he has since my family moved in here. Can’t bring myself to hear him sing right now, even though I think it might be comforting if I did.
“I was fortunate enough to meet him and share a few drinks with him once, and it’s a memory I will treasure to the end of my days. He blew my mind, quite honestly.
“Thank you, Ronnie James Dio, for everything!
“Our collective condolences goes out to his familes and friends and the musicians that were fortunate enough to work with him.
“I was thinking about this for quite some time, and I think we can say for sure that even if he was taken from us too soon (100 years from now would’ve been to soon), I’m sure he felt happy with his life and what he had achieved. But it hurts, though, it really fucking hurts…. I can’t stop thinking about it.
“There is a massive hole in my heart.
“Love you, Ronnie. Rest in peace.
“Your fan, Mikael Akerfeldt”