May 17, 2010
RIP Ronnie James Dio. \m/
Over the weekend, master metal screamer Ronnie James Dio died of stomach cancer. Dio was unbelievably great. Sure, he was diminutive, cartoonish, and outrageous, but if aliens landed on earth and you had to show them one video clip to explain what metal was all about, all you'd have to do is pull up some Dio, such as "Die Young" by Black Sabbath or "Holy Diver" by Dio.
Here's a brief obituary on Pitchfork, which says Dio "represented heavy metal at its most over-the-top, ridiculous, and fun." The respectful and thorough Times obit credits Dio with popularizing the international symbol for metal, the devil horns gesture, and provides a brief how-to for Times readers who are just getting into hard rock. It also mentions a Dio fact I never knew: he was born in Portsmouth, NH!
I found out about Ronnie James Dio through a spoken word piece by Henry Rollins called "Breaking Up is Hard To Do", which offers advice how to cope with getting dumped. It's the funniest thing I've ever heard from Henry Rollins by far. His advice involves fashioning a cape out of a towel, putting on a record featuring Ronnie James Dio on vocals (who Rollins describes as "this little evil gnome") and selecting any one of his many songs with an "Evil Woman, Look Out!" theme to sing along to.
You can hear the whole bit on YouTube. Actually, it not only offers some good advice for dealing with getting dumped or any other personal tragedy, but it's also a serviceable primer on fronting your new charismatic and defiantly non-ironic hard rock band.
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