Saturday, June 5, 2010

DIO HAS DIED: A Belated Eulogy


ATLANTA, Georgia: Ronald James Padavona was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1942. That collection of facts would be utterly irrelevant, except for that fact that that young baby eventually became the cultural phenomena that was Ronnie James Dio. You probably heard he was in Black Sabbath for a while. You might have known he sang for Rainbow. Heck, you might be so deeply informed about the man that you knew he was in scores of bands like Elf, Ronnie and the Ramblers, Ronnie and the Red Caps and Ronnie Dio and the Prophets. What does any of it matter now?

He’ll be forever remembered (at least, until the rest of us die) as the guy who gave us "Holy Diver", one of the great metal anthems of all time. A lot of people will talk about him like they know him for a while due to this bizarre belief that listening to three minutes of someone’s life in a studio can bring us close to them. People will drone on about how unfortunate death is and how sad it is that he’ll never perform again. His family and friends will mourn a human that none of us knew. We’ll remember our memories of where we were when we heard his songs. He’ll connect us to some forgotten moments from our misspent youth. We’ll take a deep breath, we’ll say how much it sucks and then we’ll go about whatever we were doing before.

People die all the time. I have no idea what any of it means. Dio died on the same day thousands of other people died. I don’t know who any of them are. I don’t know why his death is significant. I have no answers. I know that some spark that was in him is gone and now he’s completely still. I don’t know where the spark came from. I don’t know where the spark went. His family will miss him or maybe they won’t. I really have no idea. I am sure there are stories about him that are funny and tragic and reveal a humanity that none of us really knew. I don’t know any of those stories and I don’t know that knowing any of them would really change anything for me anyway.

After the concert ends the performers leave the stage, the audience leaves the arena, the lights go out, the sound and lighting people and the rest of the crew pack up and go home and nothing is left but stillness and quiet.

"Holy Diver" Live in Holland 1983:

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