Well, there goes another one of the greats: Ronnie James Dio died from cancer this morning.
As I mentioned in a previous post, my sadness has almost nothing to do with any liking I had for Dio's music. In point of fact, he didn't really make my type of metal.
On the other hand, I was a huge fan of Peter Steele's music, and I was nearly unfazed by his death last month.
Because Dio was one of the good guys. Whether you're scouring music forums, reading comments on Blabbermouth.net, or talking with old fans, it is universal that everyone thought Ronnie James was a good person.
Of course, you'll also find a great number of wonderful things online about the guy Pete Steele was, but the poor decisions of Pete's life certainly draw a stark contrast with how Dio went about his business, even in the years when no one was rushing to buy his records...as well as those recent years when that cokehead douche bag Jack Black was making him a punchline for all his cokehead douche bag fans.
...And don't even THINK about giving me that shit about how Jack Black really loves metal; I'm sure a lot of guys in minstrel shows really loved jazz too, but that didn't stop it from being a crime against art.
You see, Dio never would have had an outburst like that. Not in his character, God bless him.
A few years back I was lucky enough to attend a screening of "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey", during it's limited theatrical release. During the Q&A, director Sam Dunn was asked if Ronnie James Dio was truly the nicest guy in metal. Without blinking, Dunn grinned, raised his eyebrows and said, "Yes, he sure is."
What followed were stories about what an awesome host Dio was in him home, how generous he was with his time, and how every time he mentioned to the other subjects interviewed in the film that he was also speaking to Dio, they all gushed about how wonderful a person he is.
Farewell Ronnie. Rest in peace, brother.