For you metal fans who have been under a rock the last year, here’s the skinny. Wendy Dio, widow of Ronnie James Dio (The fucking man!) in conjunction with multimedia company Eyellusion, created a live musical experience with Dio Disciples. Made up of former Dio band members and the great Tim “Ripper” Owens, the plan is to offer fans a live stage show of Ronnie’s songs including a hologram performance of him culled from shows when he was alive. And … that is when the shit hit the fan. And the fans got shitty, apparently.
People felt that Ronnie’s legacy was being sullied, that Wendy was pulling a Sharon Osbourne and using her husband to make money after his death. How dare she do this? What right did she have to use archival performance video of Ronnie and offer people the chance to once again experience Ronnie James Dio onstage? We’ll ignore the fact that she had every legal right and the right as a loving spouse, but seriously? All of a sudden it’s a crime to be creative and quite possibly make a few dollars doing so? Not to mention, she included the guys in Dio Disciples, friends and bandmates of the singer’s while he was still alive. It’s not like she went out and hired a bunch of hacks to support this project. Jeez! These men had a vested interest in the music while Dio was alive, and I am sure they jumped at the chance to be included.
In this day and age of technological magic and wonder where, on a daily basis, you have billions of stupid people utilizing smartphones, what is wrong with continuing a legacy? What is wrong in taking an art form to the next level? There is no reason that music can’t push the limits of technology to raise the bar of live performances. So, is this possibly an even more interesting and creative step? I say yes.
But, for The Juggernaut, the burning questions are: Would Ronnie approve of this being done in his name? With his image? With his voice? With his performances?To be perfectly honest, I think yes. Ronnie James Dio was an innovator, an incredibly gifted and talented performer and vocalist. Whether it was with Rainbow, Heaven and Hell or DIO, Ronnie was a motherfucking showman, and one of the absolute best in the business. From his songwriting to his live shows to the artwork on his albums, Ronnie James Dio was a rock giant. I have no doubt that if he had known this was possible before his death, and Wendy had asked his permission to develop a hologram and take it on tour, Ronnie would have thrown up the devil horns and told her, “Absolutely. For my fans. For the music. Yes.” I firmly believe this.