Rockers Roll and Remember at Ronnie James Dio Bowling Fundraiser
In his life, Ronnie James Dio was not only known for his amazing voice and legendary catalog of songs, but he was also well known for his incredible generosity with fans and peers alike. On Friday (May 15), a day prior to the five-year anniversary of his death, a number of rockers generously donated their time to pay homage to the spirit of Dio by taking part in a bowling fundraiser, the first of three events meant to mark the anniversary.
On the red carpet at Studio City's Pinz Bowling Center, many of the artists spoke of their love for Dio and shared their memories of his generosity. Craig Goldy, who would play with Dio throughout a good portion of the band's career, told Loudwire, "He was always my favorite singer to begin with. I met him at an audition for Rough Cutt. He was the producer and Wendy was the manager. In fact, they rented me gear because I was living in a car, so I'm one of the rescues."
Dio drummer Simon Wright shared a story of Dio's love of animals, "We arrived in Moscow. We walked out and he stopped all the reporters and cameras and everything and he walked back to a bar and got these cans of milk to give to the cats because he had seen so many stray cats everywhere. And all the media was absolutely stunned. Here's the guy famous for the devil horns and he's out there feeding cats ... He's a very caring person. It's remarkable to see the humanity that would sometimes come out of him."
Others offered platitudes to the man that Ronnie was as well. Lita Ford told us, "He was a consistently genuinely down to earth big hearted man. His vocals were as big as his heart." Keel's Marc Ferrari called him "a true gentleman and one of the greatest voices of all time." Jeff Scott Soto added, "He wasn't just a great singer, he was a legend. He was to heavy metal music what Sinatra was to his genre, what Stevie Wonder was to his genre." Act of Defiance guitarist Chris Broderick chimed in, "The one thing I always walk away with is no matter what stage in the game he was, he could always sing his ass off."
And it's safe to say Dio's influence was widely felt. Tom Morello recalled, "I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago where it was hard rock or no rock at all. And Dio's music in all of his bands really scratched that itch. He just satisfied the raw teen angst in a major way and it's always been a part of my DNA."
Gabbie Rae was introduced to Ronnie's music by her father and one of her first big breaks was recording a cover of "Rainbow in the Dark." "He's inspired me to sing my heart out and Ronnie will live on forever in my heart and in my music," says Rae.
Quiet Riot and Dokken vet Sean McNabb spoke of Ronnie's generosity, stating, "Ronnie was the sweetest soul and he really was a great influence for me because I just saw the way that he carried himself with the fans and how passionate he was about his audience."
Tenacious D duo Jack Black and Kyle Gass spoke of Ronnie's great sense of humor and how happy they were to find out that the singer, who they had never met in person prior, accepted their musical tribute to him and found the comedy in it. Gass recalled them giving him a torch to pass on to them, while Black added, "Yeah, we wanted him to pass the torch of heavy metal to us and he agreed. Because in addition to being a great musician and a genius songwriter, he was blessed with a great sense of humor." As for winning a Grammy for the Dio song "The Last in Line," Black humbly added, "It's a testament to Dio's greatness. The song, we're proud of it, but our version is not nearly as good as the Dio original."
Meanwhile, others like Dio Disciples' Bjorn Englen, Stone Sour's Christian Martucci, Great White's Michael Lardie, Dio's Scott Warren and That Metal Show host Eddie Trunk all praised the efforts of the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund in bringing awareness to early cancer detection.
Trunk stated, "The metal community, a lot of people think their bulletproof. They think they can drink and party and nothing's gonna take them down. Well, we're all getting older and I think it's really important. And I talk about this all of the time. Get screened, get checked out. None of us are getting any younger and it's really important to not be ashamed and to be open and talk about it and doing stuff like this helps that as well."
After the red carpet interviews, some of the guests came ready for the task at hand. Tom Morello came packing his own bowling ball, ball bag and shoes. "I bought my own ball. It's no joke, because I'm going up against Eddie Trunk and Nuno Bettencourt, so they better bring their A game," said Morello, as he prepared to roll. "I grew up in the Midwest with some Chicago pride, so I'm not going to embarrass myself." He ended up teamed with Trunk, Jack Black, Nuno Bettencourt, Jeff Scott Soto and Josh Todd. When a few members of the group started rolling a few rough frames, Morello gathered everyone around for a pep talk and huddle.
Meanwhile, Act of Defiance pair Henry Derek and Chris Broderick showed up in matching green bowling shirts. But when it came time to roll, Derek had his issues, winning the trophy (a half trophy that ended at the butt) for the worst score of the night. As for the top score, that honor went to Great White's Michael Lardie.
The event also included a silent auction that included all sorts of music memorabilia. There were Dio items on the block, memorabilia contributed by Van Halen and others and a number of bowling pins from Pinz signed by a wide array of musicians. But the top item of the night was auctioned at the end of the bowling tourney. It was an ESP guitar signed by all of the participants in the evening's festivities.
All in all, it was a great time for those attending to meet up, share their stories about Ronnie, bowl a few frames and above all, raise some money for cancer research. To learn more about the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund and to donate, click here.
Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund Rock and Bowl Photo Gallery