In January of 2000 our first son Nicolas was born. In March of 2000 I sat down in NYC to interview one of the most legendary men in Metal Ronnie James Dio. Lead singer of Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven & Hell Ronnie had one of the most recognizable voices in Rock Music.
I started off by apologizing if I happened to fall asleep on the table because I had a 6 week old baby boy at home. He began asking me questions about the birth and how things were going at home. Who was interviewing whom here? He seemed genuinely interested in me and my life though we eventually got down to business and discussed his new album Magica.
At this point in my journalistic career I had interviewed many of my musical heroes from Bruce Dickinson to Rob Halford, Blackie Lawless and Ian Gillan. I have to say that Ronnie was one of the nicest guys I ever had the pleasure to speak with. One thing that impressed me most was that he always referred to me as ‘Jeff,’ I don’t recall anyone else ever remembering my name for an entire interview.
Later we got into a NYC vs. LA debate and he invited me to visit his home in LA so he could show me around. Sadly I never took him up on it, though I firmly believe that if I had shown up at his door he would have welcomed me with open arms and by name. He concluded the interview by telling me, ‘Jeff go home and be with your new son.’
Nicolas is 10 years old now and is familiar with some of Dio’s work, he listens to it constantly on his iPod. In a very surreal coincidence Nicolas was outside working with Pixo’s today and he rushed inside to show me what he had made. It took me a minute to realize what it was because he was holding it upside down. But when he turned it over he smiled broadly and said, ‘it’s the Horns Daddy.’
Ronnie James Dio died this morning in a hospital in Houston following a battle with stomach cancer, he was 67. Goodbye Ronnie, you will be missed by the many that loved you.
Message from Wendy Dio
Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes before he peacefully passed away. Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all. We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us. Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss. Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever.
– Wendy Dio