Monday, May 17, 2010
Man this just hasn't been a good few months for metal.
First we lost Pete Steele, then Frank Frazetta and now the man himself Dio. Dio succumbed this week to stomach cancer after thirty plus years being one of the truest people out there. Dio was metal, he was what the entire idea of metal was all about. He sang about the mystical, the fantastic, he kept the choruses anthemic and never took himself too seriously. Some considered Dio cheesy but those were people who missed the point of what metal really was. There's a reason the diminutive singer had fans ranging from Black Metal lovers all the way to bad Nu-Metal devotees. Simply put Dio kicked a whole lot of fucking ass and he had the pipes to back all of his shit up in spades.
I'm not gonna front here and say I knew about Dio from back in the Black Sabbath days, I'm just not that old school. The first time I ever heard of Dio was when the metal kid at school brought in a cassette of the album Holy Diver. I looked at that cover with the demon tossing a chained up priest into the ocean and I was sold. It helped that the music was pretty damn awesome and I remember getting my dad to buy me the cassette so I could look at the cover while listening to Dio sing about Rainbows In The Dark. It didn't matter that I had no idea what "Ride the tiger, you can see his stripes but you know he's clean" meant, I was just enthralled with music and the visuals.
To be one hundred percent honest while I dug Dio's work with Sabbath I never considered it Black Sabbath. Those records always sounded like Dio stuff to me, which was fine even though that proclamation got me yelled at by many a metal head. I'll also confess that for many years I turned my back on Dio when I was too busy being Punk Rock or Hip Hop or I launched myself into only liking super brutal metal. Eventually as I got older and my pretensions faded I came back into the fold and realized how incredibly awesome Dio really was.
Outside of his obvious talent the thing about Dio that was so strong was how real he was. I interviewed him twice during the MTV days and the man was always humble, funny and obviously dedicated to heavy metal. The genre was never a stepping stone for him like so many others and he never sold out his dignity for cash like say...gosh....um....Ozzy. When I finally saw Dio play at a Sabbath reunion it was one of my all time favorite shows. Not just because it rocked but because Dio elbowed the shit out of some gigantic fan who got too close to him. Dio might have been small but he took no shit from anybody.
Let's also get one thing straight, Dio invented the metal horns so Gene Simmons can shut his fucking trap now and forever. Unlike Gene or Ozzy or others Dio always kept true to his word, his music and his fans. He never faked the funk, never changed up his style or went super pop, he just existed as he always had, as Dio. It still pisses me off that a man like Dio can get struck with stomach cancer while Phil Anselmo and Fred Durst continue to walk the Earth. The only thing that makes me feel better is Dio is now in a band with Pete Steele, Dimebag, Cliff Burton, Hendrix and Phil Lynott. How fucking rocking must heaven be right now?
So to Dio, from all of us who loved what you did and who you were I salute you.
Metal Horns Up From Us All!!