Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ronnie James Dio (1942-2010)

Four, five days later and I still don't know what to say. Dio was a god among men. He shall be missed.

Below, find some thoughts from the people who knew Ronnie James Dio, and a few videos showcasing his finest performances over 38 years he has recordings for.

Lars Ulrich: "Ronnie, your voice impacted and empowered me, your music inspired and influenced me, and your kindness touched and moved me. Thank you."

Kiss: "Ronnie was a true gentleman who always emanated great warmth and friendship to us and everyone around him. We will miss him."

Mike Portnoy: "Looks like Dime, Randy, Cliff and Bonzo just scored the ultimate singer....this is one of the saddest days in metal ever."

Iron Maiden: "The world has lost an irreplaceable talent and, first and foremost, one of the finest human beings you could ever wish to meet."

Dr. Brian May: "He was in many ways the antithesis of the current mould of TV-bred singers. He had no apparent desire for fame, in the sense that so many X-factor contestants seem to. He was not a TV face, a 'celebrity'. He just loved doing what he did."

Tony Iommi: "Ronnie loved what he did, making music and performing on stage. He loved his fans so much. He was a kind man and would put himself out to help others. I can honestly say it’s truly been an honor to play at his side for all these years, his music will live on forever."

Vinnie Appice: "My heart is so broken. We are now in a world without him and I will miss him so much. I can only think of how fortunate I was to make music with him that was in his heart. Music that will remain to be listened to by all his fans all over the world, whom he adored and loved!"

Michael Anthony: "Ronnie was a great guy. I remember when we opened for them, all of us were back at the hotel having some drinks; it was his birthday, and I remember us all just hanging out, and he was just a great guy."

Doogie White: "I first met Ronnie 10 years or so ago and he said, 'Ah! So you are Doogie, I know who you are, but never knew what you looked like. Come in, son and have a glass of wine. Is red okay?' This was backstage at the Wembley Arena. He dedicated 'Man On The Silver Mountain' to me that night, saying 'To my new friend, Doogie. You may have sung it, but I sang it first.'"

Lemmy: "I'm devastated."

Jon Schaffer: "I think we've all had run-ins with our childhood heroes, and sometimes it can be a disappointing experience. This was definitely not the case with Ronnie. He was a wise, kind, and special person, and a dear friend that will be greatly missed."

Biff Byford: "The last time we met was in Finland last year, both bands stranded in an airport with flight delays. What do you do?! Go to the bar, get drunk and tell rock and roll stories. He told great stories... To absent friends."

For me, Dio was always one of the greatest vocalists I've ever heard. His music has been the source of inspiration and relief. To know that such a giant has left the scene saddens me greatly. You can't make such great music and expect to not be missed. For a man short enough to require platform shoes, Dio has left a bigger hole in the hearts of those who knew him, and those who never had the pleasure, than many of his contemporaries could ever dream.

The King of Metal is dead. Long live the King!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Splitting at the Igloo

Montreal won one of their two games in Pittsburgh, and now the Pens and Habs get to go to the Bell Centre to see what might occur on Montreal's home ice. Jaroslav Halak returned to his series-winning form in Game 2, and the zone defense Montreal played so well against the Capitals was back as well. The players blocked shots and Hal Gill led the way in that department again (can I emphasize how important he is to our defense, now that Markov is gone?). Josh Gorges has gone from an occasional scratch to our prime shutdown guy with Gill all of a sudden - playing with Hal has had a great effect on the young D. And PK Subban has done exactly what we needed him to to - brought strong, dynamic, energetic offense from the blue line without the defensive miscues of Marc-Andre Bergeron.

But then there's Mike Cammalleri, Scott Gomez, and Brian Gionta leading the charge. The Little Big Three combined for 5 points, including all three goals, on Sunday. Cammalleri scored two gorgeous goals, the first when he kicked the puck up off his shinpad and batted it in with his stick past a diving Marc-Andre Fleury, and the second when Tomas Plekanec sprung him between the D into a breakaway, beating Fleury high on his glove side with a wicked wrist shot - Joe Sakic style (those who know me know this is about the greatest hockey praise I can deliver).

Good things happen to those who play team hockey, and Jacques Martin, who's hiring I originally criticised, has a team of players that were considered goons (Gill), has-beens (Gomez), under-achievers (Cammalleri), and unexpected surprised (Halak) come together to play great team hockey. When their team hockey was strong they put the best individual player in the NHL to shame. Now they managed to do the same to a strong team offense. If Montreal can win twice at the Bell Centre, they take a commanding 3-1 lead back to Pittsburgh. We'll have to see how Crosby and Malkin respond tomorrow night.