Remembering Dio Five Years Later
Ronnie James Dio was the most metal person of all time. Not the most evil or most groundbreaking, but the most metal. Short in stature, massive in voice, boundless in optimism, he spoke for the loners and the misfits, but did so by touching on the passion and warmth within them.
Along with Lemmy and King Diamond, Dio was one of the few metal musicians to stick to their guns their entire career. While everyone else was obsessing over in the next big thing or what the kids were listening to, Dio continued making epic emotional power metal for the fans who still believed in the stuff. There are no pictures of Dio with short hair wearing parachute pants. Dio never experimented with corpsepaint and spikes. His inner world of swords, stone, city lights and distant fires, remained untouched by fad or whim. In a way that so many underground and indie bands claim to, Dio did not give a fuck, but he also didn’t throw that in anyone’s face. You never catch Dio flipping his fans off, but only throwing them the horns.
That didn’t mean he was some stubborn holdout poo-pooing other forms of metal. As the anniversary of his death approaches, countless testaments of Dio’s generosity and strength of spirit are coming out from younger musicians like Slipknot’s Corey Taylor or Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale (Loudwire has been doing solid coverage). Dio and the new generations could’ve easily gone with the classic Old Coot/Damn Kids feud. Instead, all anyone can talk about is Dio’s talent and kindness.
Tomorrow marks the five-year anniversary of Dio’s passing from stomach cancer, and his legacy is stronger than ever. He stands as a reminder that you don’t have to be a dick, or a drama queen, or a front-page celebrity, to be the best there is at what you do. You just have to be honest, human, and unwaveringly dedicated to the cause. That so few of us are these things regularly is a reminder of one of life’s concrete laws: no one is as metal as Dio. He was the best of us.