On May 17th, 2010, heavy metal legend, Ronnie James Dio passed away from stomach cancer making it one of the saddest days the world of metal had ever experienced. Though the man may be gone, his legacy will live on forever and what better way to celebrate this than the Ride for Ronnie event? Ride for Ronnie is a cancer/benefit hosted in California on May 7th 2017. The Ride will start at Harley-Davidson of Glendale and take them through the streets of Los Angeles County to Los Encinos Park in Encino, where attendees will be treated to an afternoon of live music, raffle and live auction, food trucks and more. Last year’s Ride For Ronnie event raised over $50,000 for the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, a privately funded 501(c)(3) public charity founded by Wendy Dio to raise funds for cancer research. This year’s proceeds will also go to the charity. Eddie Trunk will host this year’s event, which will include performances by rockers Lynch Mob, Eddie Money, Rough Cutt, Dio Disciples, The Loveless, Sonia Harley and No Small Children.Tickets for this event can be purchased at www.diocancerfund.org/events.
I was recently able to interview, Ronnie Dio’s widow, Wendy Dio, about the event and other cool topics such as the roots of Ronnie’s career.
Can you tell us a bit about the Ride for Ronnie?
This will be our third annual Ride for Ronnie. Harvey Davidson is sponsoring us so the ride starts in Glendale and goes all the way to Los Ecino park in Encinos where we have the fest. It’s going to be a lot of fun, with food, and wine and beer and Eddie Trunk is hosting it. We have Lynch Mob, Dio Disciples, Rough Cutt, Eddie Money, The Loveless, No Small Children and Sonia Harvey. The whole day we will be raising money for cancer and keeping Ronnie’s music alive.
How were you able to get this variety of guests?
Eddie Money was a real good friend of Ronnie and we managed Rough Cutt. Dio Disciples is of course his old band mates paying tribute to him and Lynch Mob were very good friends of Ronnie.
What do you have to say about the people naysaying the Ronnie hologram?
I see it as a new form of technology. Ronnie was an innovator of music so why not technology? In fact we tried to make a hologram in 1986. Ronnie was very into holograms if any of you remember that 1986 show where Ronnie’s head was inside a crystal ball and he speaks. I think the hologram is great for those who never got to see Ronnie on stage.
Did he have any specific ways to preserve his voice after all those decades?
His voice was developed through his trumpet playing. He played trumpet since he was 5 years old. His father made him play practice 2 hours a day and I think that increased his stomach muscles and his range.
Did Ronnie ever think of throwing in the towel, even when he had no money?
No, music was his life, fans were his life. He loved performing and meeting his fans and touring the world.
What was your thoughts on his pre-Rainbow stuff such as Elf and his doo-wop stuff?
Ronnie could do anything. He would always change with the times. Elf was a great band, more of a Honky Tonk kinda band and he loved it.They would tour with Deep Purple and him and Richie Blackmore would eventually form Rainbow.
It’s pretty cool how he went from doo-wop to becoming a heavy metal icon. When I interviewed Craig Goldy last year he compared his evolution to that of Bruce Lee.
Thats a good comparison!
That ended up being the headline
Ronnie always made the music he wanted to make. He chose to be a heavy metal singer, but he could have done opera, folk, you name it. He always made music for outsiders. People wanted him to go commerical and while he did have some tracks that leaned on it, such as “Mystery”, “Rock N Roll Children”, and “Rainbow in the Dark”, but never more so than that.
Speaking of “Rainbow in the Dark”, I remember reading that Ronnie used to hate that song. Did he ever change his mind?
He learned to love it. Originally he hated it cause of how the keyboard sounded, but it eventually became a favorite of the both of us.