Remembering Dio on Memorial Day


“Looking inside of yourself
You might see someone you don’t know
Maybe it’s just what you need
Letting the river in you flow

You can sail away to the sun
And let it burn you while you can
Or walk a long bloody road
Like the hero who never ran”–Ronnie James Dio, “Caught in the Middle”

Happy Memorial Day 2010 everyone,

         I hope you all are enjoying relaxing weekends with your friends and families in this time of remembrance. Also, I just want to say that it’s great to be back writing about music again. With all the crazy, stressful situations life throws at us sometimes, we all need a creative outlet and a space to vent. It’s time to make each day count like it’s our last.

       Today is the day of Ronnie James Dio’s memorial service out in California. Much has already been written about Ronnie’s illustrious career and magnanimous personality, and one can learn more about his life and music from much more qualified sources. I can only speak of what Ronnie and his magnificent, magical music meant to me. Unfortunately, I never got the opportunity to meet Dio in person, but I feel blessed to have seen him in concert five times over the past 13 years, four times with his own band Dio and the last with Heaven & Hell in 2007.  He always was the consummate professional, ever so energetic on stage and gracious in his audience discourse. And his beautifully majestic voice, with that angelic vibrato and crushing guttural rasp, never, ever, faltered.

Ronnie’s music changed and improved the lives of millions of his fans, and for that alone he will never be forgotten. His mystical words and operatic voice spoke to the quiet dreamer in us all, the lonely, forgotten child that is just dying to break free. Dio offered us hope and inspiration to “stand up and shout,” to dream of true love and rainbows, and remember that “we are the last in line” and indeed, “we rock.” Just  remember, “don’t talk to strangers.”

I first discovered Dio’s music in the mid ’90s while living and attending college in Denver, Colorado. Although I discovered him relatively late in his career, I quickly became an ardent fan and bought up all his work with Dio, Rainbow and Black Sabbath. In 1997, when my dad took my brother Jeff and I to see our first Dio show at the Ogden Theater in Denver, it was beyond inspirational. It was a life-changing experience.

The news of Dio’s passing on May 16th left me and millions around the world with a devastating void. How could Ronnie be gone already? I didn’t feel ready to say much about it at first because words seemed so inadequate. They still do. But Ronnie will be cherished, loved and remembered today and everyday, and all we can do is say, “Thank you,” and “Stand up and Shout!”

        Happy Memorial Day again, and keep it loud!–Jonathan Kollnot


~ by jonnyboyrocker on May 30, 2010.

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