Wendy Dio Discusses Ronnie James Dio Tribute Album
The Ronnie James Dio Awards are in their third year, continuing to not only celebrate the music of the late great Ronnie James Dio, but also spreading the word about cancer awareness and raising funds to try to eradicate cancer in our lifetime.
Ronnie’s widow, Wendy Dio, spoke with Loudwire on the red carpet about the Ronnie James Dio awards, the upcoming ‘This Is Your Life’ tribute album (pre-order at iTunes) and her continued work with the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund.
The Ronnie James Dio Awards, now in its third year. Can you talk about what it means to you?
It’s overwhelming. Ronnie would have been so honored, so humbled and it’s just amazing. All these people have come together for Ronnie and for the love of his music and for the love of himself.
Speaking of the love of his music, what an amazing lineup for the ‘This Is Your Life’ tribute album. Who were some of the first people who signed on to get this thing going?
I started about two-and-a-half years ago and Glenn Hughes was the first person. He was a really good friend of Ronnie’s since before my time. I met Ronnie in ’74 and I think Glenn met him in ’73 or something and they were touring together with Deep Purple and when Ronnie was in Elf. So Glenn was the first one and he did ‘Catch the Rainbow,’ which he also sung at the funeral and at the memorial.
Rob Halford came in, who was also a very, very good friend of Ronnie’s. They both admired each other’s voices. And he did ‘Man on the Silver Mountain.’ Metallica called and wanted to get involved. Anthrax, Corey Taylor, Halestorm, and of course all of the Dio guys. And then I was at the Golden Gods awards last year and bumped into [Tenacious D's] Jack Black and he was like, ‘Are you still doing the tribute album?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely,’ and he said, ‘I gotta be on it.’ So they did a great rendition of ‘Last in Line.’
We had a chance to debut Halestorm’s ‘Straight Through the Heart.’ If you want to share your thoughts on not only Halestorm, but also what some of the other artists have done with Ronnie’s music on this tribute album.
I think it’s great. I think it’s great. Especially with young bands like Halestorm and Killswitch Engage and Corey Taylor’s band is in there and they’re taking it and keeping that music alive. When you listen to Metallica, they made 70 songs coming into the 21st Century and when you hear ‘Kill the King,’ you can feel the moshpit going. I think it’s great that we’re keeping the live music alive all the way from Ronnie’s era from Rainbow, Dio, Heaven and Hell, Black Sabbath, it’s all going through and the more it’s kept alive, the more his music and his legacy will live on.
And the organization, Stand Up and Shout for Cancer, continues to do amazing work. Can you talk about your own personal involvement and seeing this thing grow?
When Ronnie passed away, I pledged to him. I said, ‘We’re going to raise 10 million dollars.’ We haven’t gotten there, but we’re getting there. I think we’ll be over a million tonight. And then we’ve got the album coming out and I’ll continue raising money for cancer, for research and education, because we need to find a cure. We also need to make sure that men get checked. Women are pretty good, but men you have to drag them there. Early detection saves lives.