Wendy Dio Working on Ronnie James Dio 10-Year Death Anniversary Show
Wendy Dio was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. She discussed the Dio Returns hologram tour, which is the world's first full production live band tour to feature a hologram as its centerpiece. While the project has come under intense scrutiny, Wendy believes fans should see the show in person before criticizing and that the hologram technology has come a long way since it debuted in 2016.
There's also a Ronnie James Dio documentary in the works among other things and Wendy revealed that she's working on a show to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Ronnie's passing in 2020.
Check out the chat below.
There have been one-time hologram shows before, Wendy, but a full touring production is altogether different. In a logistical sense, what's the biggest challenge about pioneering something that really hasn't been done?
Well, you've got a lot of naysayers, that's probably the first thing. [laughs] It's fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I think they should see what they're naysaying about before they criticize it. It's a lot of work, it's a lot of work - this is a new one. We did one last year in Europe, we did two dates.
We actually did the first date at Wacken Open Air in 2016, but this is a brand new hologram that's totally improved. Technology changes all the time and this one is the most updated technology so far. I'm really really pleased with it. We've got lots of the other stuff going on, loads of effects that go on. Obviously, we're touring with Ronnie's Dio band that he played with for the last 17 years. So, it's the Dio band playing with Ronnie's hologram and Ronnie's voice — I'm very excited about it.
People have strong opinions about the idea of hologram performances. What's strengthens your conviction that it's a justifiable representation of everything Ronnie believed in?
Well, if the people that saw the Sacred Heart tour in 1985-86, Ronnie tried to create a hologram then with his head in a crystal ball. That was some with rear projection, but he was always excited about holograms and we would go to Disneyland and he'd always look at them and go, "Oh, this is amazing," and he would try to create a hologram himself.
So, I'm sure this would have his blessing. He was very much into an innovator of music and technology and I think he would give his blessing to this.
Wendy, it's hard to believe but next year marks 10 years since Ronnie passed away.
Sometimes it seems like only yesterday, and other times it seems like a lifetime. It's for 10 years. It's a lifetime. It seems like a long long way, but as I said, I try everything to keep his music and his legend alive.
Are there plans for any special releases or new events to commemorate his life?
Yes, we do. We have a lot of stuff in the works. We're actually now looking at different venues to do a show for the anniversary. We've signed with BMG, so we have a lot of stuff coming out — re-releases... there was a lot of different stuff that's never been heard before from live shows and different things. There might be some stuff that Ronnie was working on and if it's good enough we can put that on too. So, we're working on a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff coming out.
The way Ronnie was singing onstage less than a year before he passed, no one could have guessed he was ill. What was the source of his strength?
Ronnie was a very strong human being and he also didn't believe that — even when he was diagnosed, he did not believe he was going to die. We fought everything we possibly could.
In fact, he was accepting the Golden Gods Award three weeks before he passed away. We always thought we were going to beat it. He had complained about indigestion for many years and I actually had taken him to a specialist about seven years before he passed because he had this indigestion all the time.
They just kinda gave him tests for his heart and everything and said, "Oh, it's just a gas bubble." Had I known what we know now, I would always have said, "Go get checked up. Get a colonoscopy. Get checked up."
I think that's what we try to put across all the time is that early detection saves lives. Men are very hard — they don't want to go get checked up, but they should. It's very, very important.
You were Ronnie's manager for many years. What makes overseeing a legacy a different one from managing a career?
Well, I don't think it's that much different except I don't have him nagging at me. [laughs] It's maybe a bit harder because you don't have the artist there and he's not there to do interviews or anything like that but I mean, we just carry on doing whatever we can and bringing up stuff - putting his music in front of people and talking about him. Doing exactly what we can... his book will be coming out next year. I'm working with Mick Wall on that, and then we're working with BMG on a documentary. So all those things I'm working on to keep his music and legend alive.
You have a Dio documentary in the works, what's the most compelling thing about Ronnie James Dio that needs to be at the heart of telling his story?
Well, Ronnie was a very special human being. He loved people and he loved his fans. He was a great storyteller. He loved people and he just was a very special person. Not only was he an amazing talent, with an amazing voice and amazing stage presence, but he was also a wonderful human being who took the time to talk to people whether they were 8 or 80 and everything in between and I think that - he was just a special person. I think they broke the mold when he passed away.
Thanks to Wendy Dio for the interview. See the list of Dio Returns U.S. tour dates here and follow the Ronnie James Dio page on Facebook to stay tuned for updates. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show here.
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