I knew very little about Ronnie James Dio, but did know of his contributions to the metal community and that a number of my friends were fans. Hearing of his death yesterday, there was little I could say that would do justice to the man, but read a number of tributes online and finally settled on this one to repost. It’s from photographer Kyle Cassidy‘s personal Livejournal and details an encounter with the man himself.
In the grand scheme of things, there’s Ronnie James Dio, and then there’s everybody else.
Last week my friend Colin phoned up to say he had tickets to a freaking Black Sabbath autograph session in nowhere New Jersey. Needless to say, I was excited. I knew it was going to be a heard of cattle, but the idea of being able to be within mere inches of The Elf Himself caused me no end of tingling. I hied up there on the appropriate day, purchased my Black Sabbath box set (of which I already own every album, of course — (on cassette, LP and CD) and stood in line with 599 other people. The signing was only scheduled to take an hour so I whistled a happy tune, but the line moved slowly. As we approached the door, someone said “They’re answering questions! And posing for photographs!”
Now I was concerned, worried even. Before I was going to blissfully walk past as they signed my CD and get shoved out the door, but THIS added a whole new level of complexity. WHAT WOULD I SAY TO FREAKING RONNIE JAMES DIO? It’s like someone saying “Oh, Kyle, Archemedes is on the phone, he says you have 30 seconds to ask him one question.”
So I fretted and worried. I wanted to say something sincere, polite, and brief. Finally, I settled on:
“I hope you wake up happy every morning, knowing that you’ve made the world a better place.”
It was brief, polite, and — sincere. I went back to whistling my happy tune until I was shoved through the door in my little group of five and found myself seemingly alone in the presence of the greatest heavy metal band in the history of the galaxy.
Vinnie and Geezer signed my boxed set. “I loved the GZR” album, I said to Geezer. He nodded. Out of 600 people in line, I was, I’m sure, only the 45th to remember his obscure solo project to him that afternoon. He slid my CD’s over to FREAKING RONNIE JAMES DIO who looked up at me, stuck out his hand and said:
“THANKS FOR COMING OUT.”
I looked at him and I was dumbstruck. I couldn’t think of a word to say. My mouth hung open, my arms went limp, people behind me in line grumbled, the clock stopped ticking. FREAKING RONNIE JAMES DIO was looking up at me fully expecting me to say something. I stammered:
“i hope … you … wake up … every … morning ….”
His head knocked back a little and he said,
“I DO. I DO WAKE UP EVERY MORNING.”
“no,” i stuttered, “i mean … i hope … you’re … happy….”
“I’M PRETTY HAPPY ALL THE TIME,” said FREAKING RONNIE JAMES DIO, giving me a weird look.
“Move along!” said some dude in a black shirt. Tony Iomi shook my hand, signed my cd and said “Mmph!” which normally would have rocked my world like someone calling me up to tell me that I’d won the Pyramids in a contest, but all I could think of was the fact that FREAKING RONNIE JAMES DIO THINKS IM AN IDIOT.
I hope you find much Metal on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. \m/
Be sure to check out the rest of Mr. Cassidy’s blog! It’s a great read and features some incredible photography.