Ronnie James Dio‘s wife and manager Wendy Dio spoke to Trevor Joe Lennon about the legendary heavy metal singer’s just-released memoir, “Rainbow In The Dark: The Autobiography”, which she, along with writer Mick Wall, completed after Ronnie‘s death. Asked if there was “peace” between Ronnie and the man he replaced in BLACK SABBATH, Ozzy Osbourne, in the later years, Wendy said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I don’t think there was ever really a lot of problems there. They both did their own thing, and they both were successful at it. Maybe Don Arden [Sharon Osbourne‘s father and former manager for both Ozzy and BLACK SABBATH] had some problems there in the beginning when Ronnie was in BLACK SABBATH, but I don’t think there was any bad blood between [Ronnie and Ozzy].
“The press tries to make bad blood all the time about everybody — they’re trying to get people to fight with each other, ’cause it’s good for press or whatever,” she continued.
“No, I don’t think [there were any issues between Ronnie and Ozzy]. We just didn’t run in the same circles.”
This past April, former BLACK SABBATH, DIO and HEAVEN & HELL drummer Vinny Appice told “Another FN Podcast With Izzy Presley” that not all SABBATH fans embraced Ronnie when he first joined the band. “Ronnie had to put up with people in the front, like ‘Where’s Ozzy?’ signs and all this ‘Where’s Ozzy?’ stuff, and he had to do that,” he said. “And he hated singing those songs — he hated singing ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Sweet Leaf’ and the Ozzy songs. That’s why eventually [SABBATH reformed as] HEAVEN & HELL years later, so we didn’t play the old [Ozzy-era] stuff anymore.”
In a 2009 interview with U.K.’s Absolute Radio, Ronnie said that BLACK SABBATH‘s decision to reunite as HEAVEN & HELL in 2006 with him on vocals was done in part “to differentiate us from the SABBATH that had come before. What it really did was this — it allayed this: ‘Hey, play ‘Iron Man’,” he explained. “We didn’t have to worry about that or feel bad about not playing those songs — about playing ‘Iron Man’ or ‘Paranoid’ or ‘Black Sabbath’ or ‘Fairies Wear Boots’ — we didn’t have to do that, because we tried to differentiate ourselves by a timeline and by a name that, of course, that spoke so much of… You think of HEAVEN & HELL, you usually think of that song, so now you think of this band. And I think it was wonderful that it worked so well.”
Asked if ever felt an obligation to play some of the Ozzy-era SABBATH songs, especially at various European festivals, as a way of letting the audience know, “This is what we’re famous for,” Ronnie said: “Well, it’s not what I was famous for, and I’m part of this band. I mean, I don’t hear Ozzy doing ‘Heaven And Hell’, so why should I do the other songs? And I think that’s very sensible. We come from different generations of SABBATH — the two generations that were most important, I think. And no, I think we tried so hard to call this band a different name, that why go back and relate to that? It makes us really seem [like] hypocrites, I think, to do that.”
Dio replaced Ozzy Osbourne in BLACK SABBATH in 1980, recording the “Heaven And Hell” and “Mob Rules” albums, plus “Live Evil”, before leaving in 1982. He rejoined the group 10 years later for an album called “Dehumanizer”, and again teamed with the group under the HEAVEN & HELL banner. HEAVEN & HELL released an album called “The Devil You Know” in 2009.
Ronnie passed away of stomach cancer on May 16, 2010 at the age of 67.
Dio was renowned throughout the world as one of the greatest and most influential vocalists in heavy metal history. The singer was diagnosed with cancer in late 2009. He underwent chemotherapy and made what is now his final public appearance in April 2010 at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in Los Angeles.
“Rainbow In The Dark: The Autobiography” was released on July 27 via Permuted Press.