Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Rainbow in the Dark

When there's lightning - it always bring me down
Cause it's free and I see that it's me
Who's lost and never found
I cry for magic - I feel it dancing in the light
But it was cold - I lost my hold
To the shadows of the night

As a teenager, I worked at a bar/restaurant in a small town. I was the dishwasher with Murph the cook and Dave the prep cook. Eventually, Murph moved on, leaving Dave & I in the kitchen, and the two of us ran that kitchen many nights during the week. It was amazing becuase Dave wasn't much older than I. On slow nights, we sat in the open doorway on 5 gallon buckets, smoked cigarettes and talked music. He was an amazing friend, and I treasured those chats.

Dave is possibly the biggest Ronnie James Dio fan I ever met. It was around this time that "Dream Evil" was released, a great record that showcased the amazing songwriting of Dio. I still own the cassette tape, the only one I've saved through the years, of the hundreds that I once owned.

Of course, as things will happen, I moved on from that job and I saw Dave only occasionally, but I remained a fan of Dio. He was mysterious and dark, back in the days before "Behind the Music" and reality TV and the Internet. Back then, there was still mystery to be had.

Then, in the fall of 1990, I heard that Ronnie James Dio was coming in concert, to headline a 4-band concert. I can't remember the rest of the lineup (I do believe that Yngwie Malmsteen was one of the 3 other performers), but I remember that there were a bunch of people leaving before Dio took the stage. My friend and I thought these kids were crazy - we were there to see Dio, all the other performers were irrelevant. I don't remember much, but I do remember that he put on a hell of a show.

On that same night, there was a concert outside of town at Alpine Valley; Eric Clapton. His opening act? Stevie Ray Vaughn. Vaughn died soon after the concert as a result of a horrible helicopter crash. I remember that we had the choice of which show to go to. I chose Dio. The friend who accompanied me probably would have preferred the Clapton show, and while I would have loved the chance to see Stevie Ray Vaughn, the choice to see Dio was an easy one for me, and it cemented me and my love for heavy metal music.

I mourn the passing of Dio and will throw up my finger "horns" and bang my head a wee bit harder the next time a Dio song comes on the radio.

I'm sure he would have wanted it that way.Ronnie James Dio might not be a name that resonates with a lot of people today, but his death marks the end of an amazing lyricist and singer.

1 comment:

  1. Such sad news, and only a month after my favorite singer, Peter Steele's, death.

    I couldn't agree more. I loved RJD, or Dio, the band, for the same reasons. He was dark, and scary, and yes, there was still mystery to be had back then.

    For those same reasons, I loved Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, one of the reasons I loved Zeppelin, and especially Iron Maiden.


    Oh, and my favorite song by Dio? The Chains are On. Not one of his better known songs, but an amazing one.