A tribute to their friend Ronnie James Dio
Interview by Michael Oshust ~ May15, 2020
Carmine and Vinny Appice have released a new video to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the passing of the late, great vocalist and their dear friend, Ronnie James Dio. Ronnie James Dio passed away from stomach cancer on May 16, 2010, at the age of 67.
Vinny Appice, who first worked with Ronnie James Dio in Black Sabbath formed a friendship that lasted until Ronnie's passing. Vinny and Ronnie formed Dio after Black Sabbath with Jimmy Bain and Vivian Campbell. In 2006, Vinny and Ronnie connected with Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler to record three new songs for the 2007 compilation "Black Sabbath: The Dio Years". The decision to call the touring group Heaven & Hell was made to differentiate the project from the Ozzy Osbourne-led Black Sabbath lineup which had reformed and was also recording and touring periodically. The group disbanded following Ronnie's death in 2010. Vinny and his original bandmates from the first Dio lineup reformed in 2012 as Last in Line to record and perform live.
Carmine Appice is one of rock’s most noteworthy and influential drummers. His work over the years with Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne, King Kobra, and Blue Murder, amongst others, is legendary. He co-wrote two of Rod Stewart’s biggest hits, the number-one-charting Do Ya Think I’m Sexy and Young Turks. He has been a big influence on drummers like Aerosmith’s Joey Kramer, Queen’s Roger Taylor, Phil Collins, Deep Purple’s Ian Paice, and the late Neil Peart of Rush and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.
How did the song come about?
"In 2017, Carmine and I released an album together that we worked on. It's called 'Sinister'. Good album, and it's the first album we've done together. So, on that album was a song called 'Monsters And Heroes' that Carmine had, and they were gonna use it for King Kobra. But since they didn't use it, Carmine played it for me, and I said, 'It's a great song. Let's do it ourselves.' The lyrics are written by Paul Shortino, and they're all about Ronnie, it's like a tribute to Ronnie. So I went ahead, and we edited the drum parts, and then this way I could put my drum parts in, and there are parts where I play alone, Carmine plays alone, and then we're together. The other day, we were talking, Carmine and I, about doing a video, and I said, well, let's do 'Monsters And Heroes.' And then the next day, I realized, 'Oh, wait a minute. Ronnie's anniversary is coming up. How cool is that, when we're going to do the song about Ronnie? Let's just promote it and have a nice tribute for Ronnie on the 16th, which is his 10-year anniversary. So the video is pretty much finished. It looks great. And we're playing live in each individual location. It came out great. We're really excited about it. It'll be a nice tribute."
"I remember we came up with this idea of 'Monsters And Heroes' like a Halloween kind of song. Why, why don't we make this about Ronnie? Paul was in Rough Cut, and Wendy was their manager and Ronnie produced them. So he was very close to them, you know, I've known Ronnie since he was in the group called Elf, and Vinny, when he played with Vinny, you know, became part of our family. So I was real close to him, you know? So I said, that's a great idea. That's a great idea. So we did that song, we wrote it, and then we recorded it and we gave it to Wendy Dio as a tribute to Ronnie for her charity. They used it for five years and whatever they sold on it, it went to Ronnie's charity. When I got it back, it was sitting around for a couple of years. In 2016 we went to Sweden Rock Festival with King Kobra and I said to Paul why don't we do 'Monsters and Heroes'. Dio was huge in Europe, it would be a great thing to get the audience singing it. So the song was sitting around a little while, so when me and Vinny got working on a record deal, I said Vinny, we got this song called 'Monsters and Heros' that we wrote with King Kobra... We wrote for King Kobra, but we're not using it. I gave it to Wendy and told him the whole story. I said, why don't we put you on the track. And we'll use that on our album cause you know, I told him Paul, and me and you are connected to Ronnie. Paul Sortino sang it and wrote the lyrics.
Fast forward to now we're all locked down. Vinny said, why don't we do a song? I said, yeah, all right, cool. You know, cause I know everybody has a studio except me, you know, uh, what do you want to do? Why don't we do 'Monsters and Heros' so let's make the video really special when we're editing it and then Vinny said, why don't we make it special. In a couple of weeks is the 10th anniversary of Ronnie's passing maybe we can dedicate it to Ronnie, so that's what we did. The video editing is not just normal video editing. You know, you've got five guys on the camera."
Vinny mentions how Ronnie was a kind of guy who loved his fans saying "Ronnie was very down to earth, very nice to people. When he met people when he met fans, and you told him your name, you could see him a year or two later and he'll remember your name. And he always made a point of taking care of his fans. We were playing in London, at the Hammersmith. And after the show, we were hanging out upstairs. having drinks, we were partying a little bit, and we looked outside and said 'Ronnie, there's, 50 kids downstairs waiting for autographs. They're outside,' and it's cold, so Ronnie said, 'Bring 'em inside the theater. So we hung out with them and signed everything and took pictures for them. Ronnie loved doing that stuff. This was before the days of paying for a V.I.P. So he always took care of his fans."
In reference to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame excluding Ronnie James Dio, Vinnie didn't mince words “I think the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame suck, It’s supposed to be rock 'n' roll, and there’s people in there that’s not rock 'n' roll one bit. And just the way they do business — it took ’em that long to put Black Sabbath in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? Black Sabbath started all this heavy stuff. "I went to the Rock Hall once. It was a friggin’ joke. And Ronnie should have been in there, even by himself. He should have been inducted. … He’s been in all these major bands and major albums, and he’s not in there. It’s sad. He should have been in there. I don’t even care that they didn’t induct Dio, the band Dio, but they should have did him and mentioned us. That would have been nice. Holy Diver is 37 years old and it’s still selling. So the Hall is a joke, that whole thing.”
Here is the video featuring Carmine & Vinny Appice on drums,
Artie Dillon on guitar and backing vocals, Jim Crean on lead vocals, James Caputo on bass
Lyrics by Paul Shortino
Directed by Artie Dillon
Carmine Appice website - https://www.carmineappice.net
Vinny Appice website - https://www.vinnyappice.com
Ronnie James Dio website - https://www.ronniejamesdio.com
Ronnie James Dio remembered here
Special thank you to Carmine Appice, Vinny Appice & John Lappen.
Photo: LAPPEN ENTERTAINMENT
Photo: LAPPEN ENTERTAINMENT