Dio is Dead

A piece of me died today. The wonderfully leather-lunged, tiny, campy man of metal and magic, Ronnie James Dio, is dead. I remember seeing him a number of times while in high school. I loved his voice and all the music he was a part of, from Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath and into his own solo work. It was an indulgence into both the adrenaline charged music and the fantasy elements he brought to it. All the wonderful swords and sorcery and demons and dragons and down to his funny outfits. In many ways he was a living caricature, and although the butt of some jokes, there was something about him that just made you overlook a lot. Have you read the lyrics for Heaven and Hell? Wtf is he singing about, and what dancer? Oh who cares, he sounds great. At 40, I still find myself listening to his songs and I admit that I feel the heart pump a bit faster when the ipod randomly picks say Man on a Silver Mountain.

So enough about me, the reason why I’m taking time to write today is this story where it’s reported that the Phelps clan is planning to picket Dio’s funeral. I gotta say, this is where free speech really gets tested. I totally get the outrage people have when these assholes show up with their signs because all I can think of is what this commenter said:

I really hope for their sake that they show up, because I can almost guarantee that when you get that gathering of upset, sad, angry metalheads and you have these fucking morons picketing, they are going to get their asses kicked. I wish I had the money to go out there, because I would happily get arrested in order to kick Fred Phelps and his cunt daughter in the teeth.

I remember my hell raising days in the parking lot of the Spectrum before and after shows like Dio’s. This is where people would crush beer cans into each other’s heads for light amusement. Lots of amped up, fucked up, testosterone filled guys in metal, denim and leather just looking for an outlet and if such an environment is there surrounding the funeral, well, the police better be in riot gear. This is by far the wrong crowd to upset.

So goodbye you little elf. I still remember standing up and shouting with the little fucker here in ’84:

And of course I took the “I cry out for Magic” for my business line’s ringtone:

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9 Responses to “Dio is Dead”

  1. Dio will be remembered.

  2. I mentioned Dio's passing to my wife. She was on her computer and looking up old 80s hair metal videos immediately. A lot of it was crap. The love for that music was as much about the coming-of-age phase of life as about the music. Sill, some of the music was great.

    Not too long ago, we had been flipping through the channels and come across Ozzy on TV.
    Wife: "MTV still plays old school heavy metal? Cool."
    Me: "This is VH1."
    Depression ensued.

  3. I have to admit that 80s metal doesn't do anything for me. As for what Dio meant to you, Philly, there is something poignant when someone who has figured in our lives dies; for a moment, at least, we become more intensely aware of the passage of time and the frailty of life. I wouldn't be surprised if Dio's death prompted you, at least a little bit, to make sure to get as much satisfaction as possible out of your own life.

  4. Life is finite, and when one ends, it certainly is a reminder of your own mortality. I think also since it's finite, funerals should be off limits for harassment. Now of course the Phelps' are great at knowing the distance to be away from the ceremony and all that, but I think there will be onlookers who appreciated Dio as an artist and entertainer, and they're the somewhat rougher sort, so if they're within earshot of these clowns, well, that would be fun to watch.

  5. Here in Philly, the crew from one of the two rock stations (yes, only two, because Philly radio sucks ass) essentially got transplanted to WOGL, the oldies station. That's depressing when the better stuff is on the oldies station, and of course VH1.

    Note: Just to show I'm not a complete fossil, I do try to keep up with KEXP Seattle online for new music. Most of the good stuff either never makes it to radio because radio is corporate, or it does 2 years from now after they've sold enough albums for the suits to realize they should play their music. KEXP plays it while it's fresh and untainted.

  6. Indeed

  7. Chappie:
    As a rule, good Christians stayed away from that "devil music."

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