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 Happy 30th Birthday Holy Diver: RONNIE JAMES DIO -

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MessageSujet: Happy 30th Birthday Holy Diver: RONNIE JAMES DIO -   Sam 25 Mai - 18:31

Happy 30th Birthday Holy Diver: RONNIE JAMES DIO - “It Had A Song For Everybody”

By Martin Popoff

In honour of the 30th anniversary of DIO’s heavy metal classic Holy
(released May 25, 1983), BraveWords is exclusively running the
following excerpt from Martin Popoff’s book Dio: Light Beyond The Black,
available from

Recalls future Dio guitarist CRAIG GOLDY, in a recent chat with
Martin commemorating the reissue of Magica, when asked if he had ever
seen Ronnie nervous about the direction of his career, “The only thing I
ever remember was this one time where he seemed a little nervous,
because he had left BLACK SABBATH, and it was during the Holy Diver
recordings. It was over at his house, and he pulled me aside and played
something and asked me what I think, and he kind of... he seemed
nervous. For the first time I saw him as being kind of nervous about
what are people going to think, what are they going to say? And to me,
it seemed obvious how great it was, because it was. At the time, Holy
Diver had everything. There were certain songs... to me it had a song
for everybody. You know, people who were musicians had something to
glean from it. People who are musicians had something they could glean
from it. It was unique, it was one-of-a-kind, and it was just odd to see
him kind of almost question himself for the first time, that I’d ever
known him. That didn't last for long, because he soon said, ‘I'm not
going to worry about it. It is what it is.’ And then it just took off

Excerpt from Dio: Light Beyond The Black (still, surprisingly, the only book on the career of the Dio band):

Chapter 2: Holy Diver – “We had Vinny in kind of a log cabin."

Always a leader but never quite allowed to lead, save back to ELF,
now double famous through Rainbow and Sabbath, found
himself the buzz of the town, folks genuinely excited about what might
come next out of this diminutive metal roarer.

After the debacle surrounding Black Sabbath’s Live Evil album, it
was no surprise that Ronnie would take the other Italian New Yorker from
that band, Vinny Appice, off to forge fire with Ronnie, but with who
the heck else?

“Once I was able to do what I wanted on my own,” recalls Ronnie,
“which was to have my own band that I had some control over, then all
the revolving door stuff that went on in the past stopped. When you know
that if it were done a different way that it could be better, and it
never does get done a different way, then it becomes frustrating for
you. It is hard not being in control when you think that you know what
you are doing. In the case of Rainbow, it was Ritchie’s band and that’s
the way it should have been. In Sabbath, it was all of us and it was
pretty democratic. Sometimes it’s hard to be democratic. You don’t
always make the right decisions when three people want to do it and one
person doesn’t want to do it. I’m not saying that is what happened in
Sabbath. We were always very democratic but it was hard to be that way.”

Dio was a great, great adventure for me. It’s easy to look back at
it now and go ‘Wow, everything worked out perfectly, didn’t it?’ But it
wasn’t easy. When you do something on your own it’s hard. You have a lot
of misgivings about it. In the beginning it was only Vinny and I. We
didn’t even have a guitar player or a bass player. I wrote Holy Diver
and Don’t Talk To Strangers. Other than that, it was just me and Vinny. I
was busy banging on the guitar and Vinny was playing drums. After a
while we said, ‘I think we better get a guitar player!’ So we went to
England and we met Viv (guitarist Vivian Campbell). We played with Viv
and Jimmy (Bain, bassist) for two nights in London and it was
unbelievable. After that, I knew there was not going to be a problem.
Not with guys that play that well. Again, the first album Holy Diver,
the songs just came flowing out. Even The Last In Line was not too bad.
Sacred Heart became more difficult and the next album was a lot more
difficult. That is why I say the first things that you do just flow a
lot more.”

Brooklyn, NY’s Vinny Appice had come up in the ranks well within the
shadow of his more famous brother Carmine Appice, mostly known for his
work with Vanilla Fudge, Jeff Beck, Beck, Bogert & Appice and
Cactus. Vinny’s main claim to fame by the time he joined Dio would be,
of course, his stint in Black Sabbath. But as well as that, he had been
with unsuccessful one-record acts Bruzer (Round 1 - 1982) and Axis (It’s
A Circus World - 1978), along with a more esteemed stretch with Rick
Derringer for Derringer (1976), Sweet Evil and Live (both 1977). Vinny
says of Bruzer, “that was just Ricky Ramirez, a guitar player who was a
good friend; he put that together and said ‘Yeah, I'd love you to play
on it’ and I said ‘Yeah, let me hear it.’”

“The blue album was my first album,” continues Appice, on the
under-rated Derringer record, the truncated name supposed to signify
that this was now a band, a heavy band. “But it was really dry, really
small-sounding, very tight-sounding.” Derringer was followed by the
aforementioned Sweet Evil, to this day one of the world’s all-time hard
rock classics – even if nobody much knows about.

“Yeah, that was a good album,” agrees Vin. “For the first record, I
was just a naive young kid. It was my first record and we put all those
songs together as a band. Well, Rick had a lot of stuff written, but we
filled it in, put it that way (laughs). Some stuff we wrote together,
but we didn't get credit. Then we went on the road and we became a
heavier kind of band, you know? From playing together. We got really
tight, but it was heavier. So on the next album, we started writing a
little darker. The songs were a little darker, a little heavier, and we
got a different producer. Jack Douglas produced that, so the drums were
lower, the bass was lower; there's more bottom end to it and it was
bigger sounding. There are some good songs on there. I know Sittin' By
The Pool was written about L.A., when we came out here. We were a New
York band, so to come out here, it was like ‘Oh man,’ that L.A. vibe.
Everyone was so laid-back, but I liked it. I thought man, this place is
cool. So did Danny Johnson, who played guitar. I just remember that
Danny came up with Driving Sideways, which is a really cool song
(laughs); he wrote some crazy shit. But Rick was more into pop and
writing poppy songs. That's why the first album is poppy and happy and
the second album got darker. But we were a good band. I don't know… we
got a little heavier there and maybe he didn't like where it was going.
And then after Derringer broke up, we came out here and formed Axis and
did one record. We formed out here because it was a lot easier to do
business in L.A.”

However, through al that recording and touring, one of Vinny’s
fondest experiences reaches way back to the beginning, with his band
being called in from the studio next door, on a whim (Vinny was 16 at
the time), to provide handclaps for John Lennon on Whatever Gets You
Through The Night, the first of a few minor jobs Vinny did for the now
martyred legend.

“Why isn't Vinny still in the band?” queried Ronnie in 1983,
referring to the recently cleavered Black Sabbath. “That's because he's
with me and he's treated with respect for what he is, a great person and
a fantastic drummer. Anyone who could do what he did in three days has
to be incredible. I don't want this to sound like a British and American
split because it isn't. Or else why would I have Jimmy who's Scotch,
and Viv, who's Irish, in the band?”

Vivian Campbell’s pre-Dio history is brief, and will be discussed,
er, shortly, but Jimmy Bain’s background bears more telling. Jimmy
really was known more as a session guy leading up to his work with Dio.
Rattling around Scotland, London and even British Columbia, Jimmy began
his career with knockabout bands like Harlot and Street Noise before
winning the Rainbow gig. Jimmy then recorded Rising, On Stage, and parts
of Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll for the mercurial man in black. Sessions
with Kate Bush ensued, for Bush’s groundbreaking The Dreaming record,
along with John Cale and Phil Lynott, both for Phil’s carousing
semi-serious act Greedy Bastards and for his infinitely more elegant and
plush solo records. But Jimmy’s main pride and joy at that time was his
minor supergroup formed at the height of the NWOBHM, Wild Horses. That
band also featured Thin Lizzy’s Brian Robertson, and through an
alcoholic haze, the geezers recorded two albums, The First Album in 1980
and Stand Your Ground in 1981. As we’ll hear, concurrent with his work
on the monumental first Dio record, Jimmy also guested on Scorpions’
Love At First Sting.
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MessageSujet: Re: Happy 30th Birthday Holy Diver: RONNIE JAMES DIO -   Sam 25 Mai - 18:32

Jimmy confirms the wild times had by all in Wild Horses, his band
just prior to landing the Dio gig. “Oh yeah! And Brian’s from Scotland
as well. I met him when I was in my band Harlot, before Rainbow, and I
stayed pretty close to him. After I got the boot from Rainbow I went
straight back to England the next day. And he had been in some kind of
skirmish and he couldn't play with Lizzy for awhile and they were using
Gary Moore. So him and I got together and we kind of clicked and wrote
some songs and went in and demoed them. He was with Thin Lizzy's
management and my best friend was Phil Lynott as well, the late lead
singer for Thin Lizzy. So I kind of had this idea that Phil and Robo had
had this head-to-head thing that was never ever going to be sorted out.
Basically it worked kind of good for me because Phil was basically
telling me ‘If you're going to work with that creep, good luck to you!’
But I kind of liked it. It was craziness, but we managed to get a record
deal and put out a couple of records, one of which was produced by
Trevor Rabin. I liked it because I got to sing and we wrote all the
stuff. It was a lot of fun and it was a little crazy too. And you know,
at that time when we were in London, you couldn't get arrested if you
were playing anything heavy. It was kind of punky and rebellious and we
were playing the wrong kind of music at the time. But it was a lot of

“Phil Lynott was just unbelievable,” recalls Jimmy fondly, adding
commentary about these other great ‘80s sessions just prior to his
joining Dio. “I was on tour with Dio and I came back that Christmas that
he got sick. He's my daughter's godfather; we were really tight. I was
born the same day as his eldest daughter, Sarah, and our wives were
really tight, close together. We lived… I don't know, three or four
miles away from each other in London. Actually, I worked and wrote on a
couple of his albums, Solo In Solo, and his second one. I wrote Girls
with him; I wrote Dear Miss Lonely Hearts with him. And then on the
second one, The Philip Lynott Album, I wrote Old Town with him and the
one that Mark Knopfler played on, Ode To Liberty, and I played on all
that stuff, keyboards, bass, everything. That was a real buzz because he
was a real talent. A real talent, and a really a nice guy. Like I say, I
was on tour with Dio, and I came back and saw him at Christmas,
actually stayed at his house, and I had to leave on Boxing Day. I took
his two kids over to see my daughter for Christmas Day and I never saw
him again, because he was taken to hospital that day. And I had to leave
the day after Christmas and actually fly to Vancouver to pick up the
tour again and I didn't get to go to his funeral. And I was really kind
of destroyed by that. But these things happen and you never know when
you're going to get taken. Pretty amazing.”

Before we move on however, it appears that Bob Daisley, who had
played with Ronnie on Rainbow’s Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll and extensive
touring around that record, had also been asked to join the band (and
not for the first time – Ronnie and Bob almost got together before
Ronnie joined Sabbath for Heaven And Hell). Says Daisley, “Well, I
remember, when I started the thing with Ozzy and Randy and Lee Kerslake,
Blizzard Of Ozz, I remember Ronnie and Vinny Appice phoning me up, and
then they came around to my flat in London, and we went out for an
Indian meal together and a few drinks and what have you, and asked me to
join the band, the Dio band. But I had already gotten this thing
together with Ozzy and it was doing well, so I didn't really consider
it.” Replying to the comment that, as history had it, he couldn’t lose
either way, Bob remarks that, “Well, I don't know. I think there was
more of an opportunity for writing with the Ozzy thing. Because Ozzy
himself isn't really much of a writer. And Ozzy's stuff has done so much
better than Dio's stuff. Dio has been successful and he's done well,
but not even close to what the Ozzy records did.”

Back at Holy Diver, the original sessions of which Ronnie speaks,
just with himself and Vinny, were held at the Californian rehearsal
studio where much of Mob Rules was written. “Vinny and I just played in a
rehearsal studio, because I wanted to hear what it was going to be like
live for me to sing it, so we just played. We had the two songs, Don't
Talk To Strangers and Holy Diver, just Vinny and myself. And yes, that
is the place where we wrote most of the Mob Rules album, that same
place. So after the fact, after not being in Sabbath anymore, we went
back to that studio, because we knew the guy who owned the studio and he
was a good friend of ours. And we went back there and it was private. I
didn't want to go from not being in Sabbath anymore to a place where
all ears would be listening to what we were going to do, just for the
sake of being one of those paranoid people. I didn't want anybody to
hear what we were doing at that time. I mean, we didn't have a guitar
player, we didn't have a bass player. It was just Vinny and I at the
time and then we had to go and populate the band. So to clarify, I've
never written anything that wasn't for either a project that was going
to be a band, or the band itself. I'm sure there have been rumours at
times that said ‘Oh, I heard that you wrote all of Holy Diver when you
were still in Sabbath. Why didn't you give them those songs?’ Well
that's actually crap. I've never done that and I never would have and I
never will do in my life. So that's just one of those left-handed
rumours I guess.”

On the subject of locating Vivian Campbell, the young Irishman who
would become Dio’s first guitarist, and to this day the most celebrated,
Ronnie offers the following. “Vinny and I had gone to a lot of the
clubs but we couldn’t find anybody. I called Jimmy Bain and asked him if
he knew any guitar players and he said that he knew two great guitar
players. He said he would bring a tape of them over to our hotel room.
One was Viv and one was John Sykes. John was brilliant but I really
liked the way Viv played. It was rougher and rawer. Viv was in Ireland
at the time and Jimmy called and asked him to come down, so I got him a
plane ticket for the next day. I got him a room, a place called John
Henry’s, and we rehearsed for two nights on Holy Diver and Don’t Talk To
Strangers. It was great. I said, ‘Do you want to be in a band, Viv?’
and he said ‘Yeah!’ Jimmy assumed he was the bass player anyway so I
didn’t bother to ask him and he didn’t bother to ask us - it was a band!
I flew them over two weeks later to L.A.. We started to rehearse and
then we recorded it and away we went.” (CRR) Of note, apparently Ronnie
had worked with future Ozzy star Jake E. Lee as well, but decided what
he needed was a more European sounding axeman.

Also in the area of guitarists, Viv had been up for the Thin Lizzy
job, Snowy White having flippantly offered him the job – Viv’s
arch-rival John Sykes got the gig instead.

“That probably came from the little mind that said it,” laughed
Ronnie in the summer of ’83, responding to Viv’s John Sucks
pronouncement. “Viv was pissed that he didn't get the Lizzy gig. I think
he assumed it would be his gig because he's Irish and had toured with
Lizzy. He thinks Lynott has something against him. After all he's
20-years-old. He'll learn someday won't he? It's wonderful to have a big
ego. We'll see how he handles this situation. I choose him because I
like him and he's a great player. He has great potential as a person,
which is every bit as important as being a great guitar player. There
are a lot of good players out there and I turned down a couple because I
didn't like them. I don't want to get too much into that. Viv's a
totally different player. He's very notey and very wild. Tony is a very
unique guitar player, a great rhythm player. He can play full chords
with vibrato as opposed to taking the easy way out. As a soloist, he
left a lot to be desired. Tony would speed up at the end of a solo
because he didn't know how to finish it off. After working with Ritchie
Blackmore, someone who really knows how to finish a solo, Tony's solos
seemed a little mundane.”

Continues Ronnie, settling a few scores, “One thing I won't lay down
about any longer is the Black Sabbath situation. I'll answer any
questions you have. You should hear my side of the story and you can
believe whatever you want. I've been asked many times, why did I leave
Rainbow? I chose not to say anything at the time because Ritchie is a
friend of mine. And no matter what was written in the press, I never
said anything bad. However in the Sabbath situation I have read too many
things that I must reply to. If you look at Heaven And Hell you'll
notice that the songwriting credits are listed in alphabetical order.
It's Butler, Dio, lommi, and Ward. On Mob Rules, after Bill left, it's
Butler, Dio, and Iommi. On the live album, now, it's lommi - obviously
he's the most important - Butler next, and then it's 'Ronnie Dio,' not
even 'Ronnie James Dio,' which is the name that I use. It's easy to see
the political references that are going on.”
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MessageSujet: Re: Happy 30th Birthday Holy Diver: RONNIE JAMES DIO -   Sam 25 Mai - 18:32

“I went my way. I'm in the studio; they're not. Their success or
failure makes no difference to my success or failure. I didn't reply to
Ozzy about all the things he said to me. Why should I care? He's no
concern to me. Now with the live Sabbath album out and all of the snubs
trying to make me look like a fool, it's time I had my say. Why did
Vinny Appice get credits after Geoff Nichols, who is an average keyboard
player? My dog is a better keyboard player than Geoff Nicholls. He
didn't do anything, and he overdubbed everything on the live album
anyways. And the monster Vinny Appice gets that kind of credit? Come on.
Damn right I'm pissed. I'm pissed for Vinny too. I'm mad about what's
been said about me, but what they did to Vinny is unforgivable. I was
disappointed in the treatment they are giving good musicians. I think
they want to cover their tracks and make the press line up in their
favour because they are still Black Sabbath. Why did they go back to Don
Arden who was their manager? He wanted Ozzy back in the band and they
wanted no part of Ozzy. So when they get into trouble who's the first
person they run to? Don Arden. Who was the first person they called to
replace me? Ozzy. They're still living in the late ‘60s.”

Detailed info on Dio Light Beyond The Black, as well as Martin’s other 40 or so books, can be found at
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MessageSujet: Re: Happy 30th Birthday Holy Diver: RONNIE JAMES DIO -   Sam 25 Mai - 18:33

(Dio live photos courtesy of

dio - holy diver

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