Dio is an American heavy metal band led by vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who formed it in 1982 after leaving Black Sabbath. In an interview, available on the special edition re-release of Holy Diver, Dio states that he never intended to begin a solo career. His intention was to form a new band with fellow former Black Sabbath member drummer Vinny Appice. Naming the band Dio made sense from a commercial standpoint, as the name was already well-known at that time. Dio in Italian and Latin means “God.
Dio was formed in October 1982 in the United States.
The band released their debut album, Holy Diver, in May 1983. It featured two hit singles, “Rainbow in the Dark” and “Holy Diver”, which gained popularity from MTV. Ronnie James Dio and Jimmy Bain played keyboards in the studio, but recruited keyboardist Claude Schnell for live shows in 1984.
Now a quintet, the band released their second studio album, The Last in Line, on July 2, 1984. It was followed by their third album, Sacred Heart, which was released on August 15, 1985. Several songs were recorded during the tour for that album.
The band released along with the studio-recorded “Time To Burn” on the Intermission mini LP. In 1985 Ronnie also wrote the song “Stars” for the Hear ‘n Aid project, with Campbell contributing on guitar.
In 1986, Campbell, citing creative differences, left the band to join Whitesnake and was replaced by Craig Goldy. On July 21, 1987 their fourth album Dream Evil was released. Goldy left in 1988, also because of musical differences. In June 1989 18 year-old Rowan Robertson was announced as Goldy’s successor but further changes were to follow, with Schnell, Bain, and Appice leaving the band.
They were replaced, respectively, with Teddy Cook, Jens Johansson, and former AC/DC drummer Simon Wright. The new band released the album Lock up the Wolves in the spring of 1990. During the tour, Ronnie had a chance meeting with former Black Sabbath bandmate Geezer Butler which led to that band’s short-lived reunion, producing one album, Dehumanizer. After this Ronnie James Dio reassembled Dio once again, retaining only Appice on the drums. By late 1994 guitarist Tracy G, keyboardist Scott Warren of Warrant and bassist Jeff Pilson had all joined. During this era, the band adopted a more modern sound, leaving many fans disappointed. As a result some fans regard the albums made during this period–1994’s Strange Highways, 1996’s Angry Machines and the live album Inferno – Last in Live–as the worst in Dio’s catalogue, while others view them positively as a step away from the outdated sound of the 1980s. Dio himself has made it clear in interviews that he intensely dislikes this point in his career (particularly the Angry Machines album) and asked Craig Goldy to return in June 1999. Reportedly, Tracy G was asked to stay as a rhythm guitarist, but declined.
Craig Goldy’s return facilitated the release of Dio’s eighth studio album in 2000, Magica, which was regarded by many as the band’s “comeback album” and reached #13 on the Billboard independent charts. It featured the return not only of Goldy but of Simon Wright and Jimmy Bain, although on the European tour Chuck Garric played bass. A concept album, Magica features a return to the band’s older, more successful sound, while increased use of keyboards gives it a modern feel. During the following tour, however, tensions rose between Goldy on the one hand and Bain and Dio on the other, as Goldy was dealing with the obligations of a family. Goldy left the band in January 2002 and was replaced with Doug Aldrich, whom Bain had met while recording a tribute album for Metallica. Because of his late arrival, Aldrich did not contribute much to Dio’s ninth work, Killing the Dragon, which was written primarily by Dio and Bain. Killing The Dragon was released in 2002 through Spitfire Records and was well received in the metal community, even reaching the overall charts in the UK. Aldrich would stay in the band until April of the following year, when he, like Campbell before him, joined Whitesnake, prompting Goldy’s return. Soon afterwards, Bain left the band.
In 2004 Dio released their tenth studio album, Master of the Moon on August 30, 2004 in Europe through SPV Records and on September 7, 2004 in the United States through Sanctuary Records, The album features multi-instrumentalist Jeff Pilson (formerly of Dokken) on bass duties; however, because of prior obligations with Foreigner, he was only available for the recording sessions, and so was replaced by Rudy Sarzo.
2005 saw the release of the Dio live album Evil or Divine – Live In New York City, which featured the same show that was released on DVD in 2003. Dio has claimed he did not have much input on this release, as he had already left the label that released it. Dio toured South America, Japan, Europe, and Russia in 2005. Their fall tour was titled “An Evening With Dio” and featured a regular set, and then a second set of the band playing his 1983 album Holy Diver in its entirety. The band was purportedly going to film a date from this show in Russia for future DVD release; however, the show on the DVD was actually filmed in London, England. The audio of this performance, a double CD named “Holy Diver Live” was released in April 2006.
In 1999, an animated spoof of Dio appeared in an episode of South Park titled “Hooked on Monkey Phonics“. The band appears performing “Holy Diver” at an elementary school dance. Although Ronnie James Dio’s appearance is somewhat like himself in reality, the rest of the band just appears as a “stereotypical” heavy metal band with no reference to the real band members.
In 2006, Dio made a brief appearance in the Tenacious D film, The Pick of Destiny. In a scene where a young Jack Black appeals to a poster of Dio for advice, Dio’s image comes to life and offers instruction. The appearance is also available on the soundtrack for the movie, in the song titled “Kickapoo”. There is also a song about Dio on Tenacious D‘s first album. The song is called Dio.
In 2007 it was announced that Black Sabbath would reunite with Dio and go under the name Heaven and Hell. This has some people debating if the band Dio will release a new album during 2008, though Dio states that his time with Heaven and Hell will end before 2008 to give him time to make another Dio album before he has anything to do with Black Sabbath again. However, Recent Press releases which cite Black Sabbath/Heaven & Hell Bassist Geezer Butler as a source, suggest that Heaven And Hell are in talks with various record labels regarding a new full Studio Album for 2008, but the official Dio website have yet to comment on this.
Dio’s official website had the following to say: “If you’ve been wondering what Ronnie is up to, wonder, no longer: After taking some well-deserved time off after last year’s monster Heaven and Hell world tour, Ronnie will be heading off to the UK in March to begin writing the new Heaven and Hell record with the guys. Tony Iommi will then travel to LA to reunite with Ronnie, Geezer and Vinny to continue working on the record during April and May.
Then, Ronnie will take a break during the summer to play a few special up close and personal dates for the Dio fans. The dates are now coming together, so check the tour section for the latest info on concerts.”