When word reached us last night (May 16, 2010) that singer Ronnie James Dio lost his battle against cancer yesterday at the age of 67, my wife said, “Didn’t you interview him?”
Yes, yes, I did.
It was May 22, 1986, one of my first interviews at my new job as pop music critic for the Tampa Tribune. It was a telephone interview, as so many were in those days.
RONNIE JAMES DIO podcast excerpt: “I just bought a building, in Los Angeles – on Sunset Boulevard. It’s a building that was owned by Charlie Chaplin. It’s going to be a soundstage for a video. It will also be a studio for smaller bands. Again, something to ensure that, later in life, I’ll be able to produce. Because some day I’ll be too old to run around the stage. Though that won’t hopefully happen for a long while yet. I’m building something that will allow me to carry on as a musician, because that’s what I do best.”
Sadly, the audio quality has been greatly diminished by the years. In fact, it may not have been very good to begin with, but I’m a pack rat, so I kept it. I can’t even prove that a story based on the interview ever ran—except that the part at the end where he talked about Christmas did appear in a story I wrote for the Orlando Sentinel:
“I remember hardly any Christmases, whether as a child or an adult. Christmas is not my big one. I think it’s a complete and utter waste of time for me. For some people, it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful for children. Christmas should be for children. It’s just a shame that all the adults have to go through all the bother to make it so wonderful for them. I find it to be just a merchandising nuisance. I think that’s it’s just been completely and totally blown out of proportion.”
I’m going to play my interview with Dio in just a moment, but I must warn you: the sound is really muffled. To increase his voice, I had no choice but to raise mine.
This interview has never been heard before. If you’re a fan of Ronnie James Dio, you’ll probably be entertained; if not… I understand.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, the late, great Ronnie James Dio, recorded on May 22, 1986—almost 24 years ago this week.
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