Kory Grow of Revolver magazine recently conducted an interview with Wendy Dio, the widow and manager of legendary heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio (BLACK SABBATH, HEAVEN & HELL, DIO, RAINBOW, ELF). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Revolver: We were really honored to have [Ronnie] at the Revolver Golden Gods award show [in April 2010]. How were his spirits after that?
Wendy: "I really thank you for that. Very, very special. I mean, he fought [the cancer] so hard. And he didn't let it get in his way. Because he didn't think it was going to conquer him. And nor did I, we just thought, 'We're gonna beat it.' And that was the attitude he had through the whole time, right until the end."
"I was actually leaving that Friday morning [on May 14, 2010, two days before Ronnie's passing] to go to, I think it was, Chicago. And he wasn't feeling well. And I was like, 'You know what? I think we should go see the doctor.' The doctor said, 'I think we should take him to the hospital.' So we went to the hospital and Ronnie says, 'Go, go. I'll be fine.' And I'm like, 'No, no. I'm staying.' And thank God I didn't go, because that was the Friday, and then he got these incredible pains. Incredible pains which he hadn't experienced before that strong. And they gave him a bunch of morphine, and once they'd given him, like, three shots of morphine, he was almost in a coma. He came in and out of it a few times, and then he passed away on the Sunday."
Revolver: Could you communicate with him before he passed away?
Wendy: "No. Ronnie... I mean, I held his hand the whole time, and I'd ask him things and he'd squeeze my hand. In between the shots, I'd wait — just when the morphine was wearing off, they'd give him another shot — and he could communicate for a few seconds. But it was really hard. Really, really hard. There were, like, 30 people there, all of his really good friends were there that day."
Revolver: What's your fondest memory of Ronnie?
Wendy: "Oh, there's so many fond memories, you know. Every day there's a memory of something. I remember when we'd go to Houston to get the chemo, 'cause it's a long walk in the hospital, we'd skip along and go, 'OK, one more down to getting better.' You know, that's what we'd do. We'd go there with a positive attitude. And that was Ronnie's attitude on life.
"You know, I met Ronnie in 1975. I had a long, long time with him, and I have so many happy memories. Much more than any sad memories. I have those to live with."
The cover of the new issue of Revolver magazine features a stunning painting by legendary comic-book artist J.G. Jones (Superman, Batman, Wanted). Jones depicts Ronnie James Dio, SLIPKNOT's Paul Gray, AVENGED SEVENFOLD's The Rev, TYPE O NEGATIVE's Peter Steele, PANTERA's Dimebag Darrell, METALLICA's Cliff Burton, NIRVANA's Kurt Cobain, OZZY OSBOURNE's Randy Rhoads, QUEEN's Freddie Mercury, and ALICE IN CHAINS' Layne Staley rocking together in heaven. The cover painting also appears as a free poster with the issue.
Inside the issue, Revolver remembers the cover artists and many of hard rock and metal's other fallen heroes via exclusive interviews with members of SLIPKNOT and TYPE O NEGATIVE, Dio's wife and manager Wendy Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, METALLICA's Lars Ulrich, AVENGED SEVENFOLD's M. Shadows, JUDAS PRIEST's Rob Halford, ALICE IN CHAINS' Mike Inez, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY's Zakk Wylde, RAMONES' Marky Ramone, MELVINS' Buzz Osborne, rapper Ice-T, and more.
As a tie-in to the issue and a special tribute to PANTERA's Dimebag Darrell, Revolver has produced a highly limited-edition commemorative coin in his honor. The coin comes free with the magazine when purchased at Barnes & Noble. Otherwise, it is available with the issue and an antiqued metal coin holder at this location, where a portion of the sale proceeds will go to the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund.