Ronnie James Dio was more than one of the greatest metal singers of all time – he was one of the good guys, as Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian can attest.
“I first met Ronnie in 1982 when he was with Black Sabbath,” Scott says metal hammer. “Sabbath was playing Meadowlands in New Jersey on the Mob Rules tour, and I got to catch up with him shortly after the show that night. We had started Anthrax about a year before, so I said, “I have a band called Anthrax, we’re going to make an album, blah blah blah”. He was really friendly and polite even though he had no idea who I was.
By 1987, Anthrax had established themselves as one of the hottest new metal bands. They were added to the line-up for that year’s Monsters Of Rock festival at Castle Donington, alongside Bon Jovi, soaring Metallica… and Dio.
“So we’re backstage at Donington, and I see Ronnie standing there, and I’m like, ‘Holy shit, that’s Ronnie James Dio,'” Scott says. “So I went to see him and we started talking. I say, ‘Actually, we’ve met before…’ And he looks at me and says, ‘New Jersey, Meadowlands, the Mob Rules tour, after the show, right?’ And I’m, like, ‘Do you remember that?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, you told me about your band Anthrax, how can I forget? Good to see you made it.
“I had this energy in me even before I got on stage. Just the fact that Ronnie remembered meeting me and the name of the band. He was just the nicest person you could ever meet.
Dio died on May 16, 2010 from stomach cancer. A new licensed documentary, Dio: Dreamers Never Die, is slated for release in 2022.