Sunday, May 16, 2010

RIP Ronnie James Dio

Obviously, anyone with even a casual interest in heavy metal is feeling a massive loss over the passing of Ronnie James Dio. The eulogies are pouring in from those who knew him or were touched by his unique talent (or both), and, by any yardstick, he was a scholar and a gentleman.

But he's more than just Heaven and Hell or The Last in Line or Mob Rules or Rising or Holy Diver, if that's possible. Metal has so many unique and varied tributaries and digressions. As metal's subgenres have spread talons over the globe and the decades since Tony Iommi's opening mission statement on track one of the first Sabbath record, it's difficult to imagine a unifying leader for the army until today. As metalheads united on Facebook and Twitter to remember and reflect today, it became clear that the genre has lost its greatest icon to date.

On a personal note, it was RJD's reunion with his Black Sabbath bandmates for the first Heaven & Hell Chicago appearance in 2007 where I first gathered with my esteemed co-contributors to this blog, Queensryche Myche and Mark Hanner. One Nancy Frankel--now also an extremely dear friend--was unable to attend the show, and I happened upon a CraigsList ad posted by Myche selling the ticket. When I went to his house to make the exchange (which I'm shocked actually happened, as, upon reflection, I kinda lowballed him on the price), he was wearing a Queensryche shirt. It was a good omen, to say the least.

After having parked my fat ass in the complete wrong section for the duration of Megadeth's opening set, I then found my true spot next to Myche and Mr. Hanner and the incomparable Ms. Amber Tillett for Heaven and Hell's set, my first experience with Mr. Dio. It was an unforgettable night, and any show attended since without the attendance of these true blue headbangers--not to mention without Nancy or the enthusiastic Dio-disciple Glenn Fancher or the amazing rock soldiers they've all brought into my life--is poorer for it.

Maudlin ramblings from a sad man who just lost a hero? Perhaps. Amber asked me late last year what I love most about metal, and I didn't give her much of an answer, perhaps because I was drunk. Possibly because I was stoned. Maybe even because Mastodon just happened to be fucking my braincase off at that exact moment. But now I have an answer.

It's because nothing on Earth makes me feel more connected to an actual community than when I've got those fucking horns up with a pack of frothing-mad metal maniacs. Horns that everyone and their brother knows Dio came up with.

Thank you Nancy for flaking on that show. Thank you Myche for replying to my email. Thank you Mark and Amber for so warmly receiving me into your troop of magnificent bastards. Thank you Patty, Lee, Dan Filowitz, Dan O' Brien, Darryl, Zach, Erica, Natalie, Margaret, Anup....the whole lot of you for your enthusiasm and your energy at all these shows since.

And thank you Mr. Dio for everything.

Friday, May 07, 2010



1. Halford - "Resurrection" and "Crucible"
2. Howl - "Full of Hell"
3. Deftones - "Diamond Eyes", "White Pony" & "Around the Fur"
4. Coalesce - "Ox" and "0:12 Revolution in Just Listening"
5. Judas Priest - "British Steel" and "Defenders of the Faith"
6. Alice in Chains - "Black Gives Way to Blue" and "Facelift"

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

New Y&T Video: "I'm Coming Home"!!!

From their first studio album in 13 years, Facemelter (out 5/21 on Frontier Records), here's the new video release for the track "I'm Coming Home".