Joined: 29 May 2010
|Posted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 2:01 am Post subject: Thoughts from one of the younger generation
Ronnie James Dio was taken from us just over two weeks ago, and since that dreadful May 16th, Iíve done a lot of thinking about what he and his music meant to me. I just got home from Los Angeles, having attended the public memorial service at Forest Lawn, and this is my attempt at putting my many incoherent thoughts into structured sentences. What follows isn't so much of a tribute as it is an outlet for me to express my thoughts and condolences. Apologies in advance if this rambles on or runs long. Here goes...
A Lifelong Fan (or, Thanks Dad)
I am glad to say that I have been a fan of Dio for, quite literally, my entire life. Even before I was born, my father was bestowing upon me the gift of hard rock and heavy metal by blasting music through headphones into my moms belly. During the memorial, Eddie Trunk mentioned how blown away he was the first time he heard Ritchie Blackmoreís Rainbow and Heaven and Hell. I cannot even begin to imagine what that was like, because I cannot remember the first time I heard these -- and many other -- albums. For me, the music has just always been there and I suppose Iím not unique in this regard; although many of my peers that are into metal discovered it in their teenage years, there are some who, like me, have grown up with it since birth.
Ronnie James Dio represented a very large part of the relationship I have with my dad. We have always been very close and have always shared a deep love of music. My earliest memories are of him blasting the various forms of Sabbath, Ozzy, Dio, Rainbow, et al, on our living room stereo so loud that you could make out lyrics from several houses down the street. News of Ronnie's death hit me like a ton of bricks. I was floored. Speechless. Part of the bond I share with my dad is gone forever, and yesterdays memorial service will be the closest thing we will ever get to seeing Dio together.
One Helluva Night
Although I cannot tell you about my first experience listening to a Dio song, I can tell you about the first and only time I saw him live. In August 2008 I was 21 years old and had just taken a job at a high-tech startup in Silicon Valley. A couple weeks after moving to the area, I decided to see what concert venues were around, and who was playing. Imagine my excitement when I found out that the Metal Masters tour would be making its final stop that very weekend at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA Ė 20 minutes from my home! I was stoked about Testament, Motorhead, and Judas Priest, but there was only one reason for me to go: Heaven and Hell.
I originally had other plans, but canceled last minute because I knew I could not miss the show. Unfortunately my dad couldn't make it up for the show on such short notice, and since my wife needed to stay home with our then two-month old daughter, I went alone. I purchased my ticket on the day of the event and had an absolute blast. Dio, Iommi, Geezer, and Vinny were all at the top of their game that night, and finally seeing them live ranks that night among the most memorable in my life. During the song Heaven and Hell, I had a smile that was a mile wide as Dio had us sing along. In short, it fucking blew my mind.
What an amazing experience the memorial was. My dad and I showed up at 7am and were the second in line behind a really cool married couple. We were the first to receive the coveted blue wristbands, the first to be allowed into the auditorium, and had front and center seats. The speakers told us so much more about Ronnie the man than most of us ever knew, the videos gave us Ronnie the performer that we all know and love, and the musical tributes were phenomenal. The entire day was immensely bittersweet. I am sad that I had to say goodbye forever to a voice I've known since early childhood, but I was very glad and feel extremely privileged that I got to be there and do it in person.
To my Dad:
I'm bummed we never got a chance to see Dio in concert together, but I'm glad we were able to share in the experience of his memorial service together. Thank you for everything. If music has affected my life in so many ways, it's only because you gave me the love of it. Thank you Dad, I love you.
You have my sincere condolences. Out of all the people that have been affected by the passing of Ronnie, you have it the worst. I can only hope that the love of friends and family and the outpouring of support from Ronnie's fans have helped make this entire ordeal just a tiny bit easier. I thank you from the very bottom of my heart for opening up the service to his fans.
Thank you. Thank you. A thousand times, thank you. Thank you for your words, thank you for your music, thank you for your charity, and thank you just being a wonderful human being. You have touched many lives, more than you could ever know. I'm sad that I never got the opportunity to shake your hand and tell you in person (I tried in 2008, they wouldn't let me through), but I know you will live on in the hearts and minds of your legions of fans. You will be greatly missed.
Ronnie James Dio's music and influence will last forever, so long as we make it so. I'm certainly going to make sure my daughter grows up knowing Dio, the music as well as the man.
--Derek PaytonHello everyone,