That time Ronnie James Dio told me that Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell” was his favourite song out of all the things he’d done

By Steve Newton Way the funk back in 1985 I did my one and only interview with Ronnie James Dio. He was touring behind Dio’s Sacred Heart album, and he got tickets and backstage passes to the show in Vancouver at the Pacific Coliseum. I’ll never forget how kind and generous he was when we … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me that Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell” was his favourite song out of all the things he’d done

That time Ronnie James Dio told me that he thought Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules was a better album than Heaven and Hell

By Steve Newton Black Sabbath impressed a lot of people in April of 1980 when it released Heaven and Hell, its first album with Ronnie James Dio on vocals. I was one of those people. So I was pretty surprised when, while I was interviewing him in 1985, Dio told me that he thought Sabbath’s … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me that he thought Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules was a better album than Heaven and Hell

I just did the Toddcast Podcast, with a little help from Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ronnie James Dio, Gregg Allman, and Bruce Fairbairn

By Steve Newton I can’t believe I opened for Corey Hart today! Okay, it wasn’t like I warmed up the audience for the “Sunglasses at Night” guy on his Back from the ’80s Seeking Cash Tour or anything. But I did make my first-ever guest appearance on a podcast, so that’s pretty cool. Todd Hancock–the … Continue reading I just did the Toddcast Podcast, with a little help from Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ronnie James Dio, Gregg Allman, and Bruce Fairbairn

That time Ronnie James Dio told me what he really thought of Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen as guitarists

By Steve Newton Back in 1985 I did my only interview with Ronnie James Dio, who was headed to Vancouver on the Sacred Heart Tour, with Yngwie Malmsteen‘s Rising Force opening up. At one point in the conversation the legendary heavy-metal crooner compared the guitar-playing abilities of his former bandmate Ritchie Blackmore to those of … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me what he really thought of Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen as guitarists

That time I asked Tony Iommi how Ronnie James Dio compared to Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

  By Steve Newton Since time immemorial–or at least since Dio replaced Ozzy in Sabbath back in ’79–armchair rock critics have debated the merits of the two singers. It’s hard to complain about anything Ozzy did with the band up until the awesome Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath album of 1973; then again, after three spotty LPs, … Continue reading That time I asked Tony Iommi how Ronnie James Dio compared to Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

That time I asked Tony Iommi about Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

By Steve Newton In the past I’ve had fun posting audio excerpts from my first interview with legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, which took place in 1984, during the group’s misguided Born Again phase. Fast-forward 23 years and I got Iommi on the phone again, this time to talk about the Heaven and Hell … Continue reading That time I asked Tony Iommi about Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

That time I asked Ronnie James Dio about stepping into Ozzy Osbourne’s shoes in Black Sabbath

By Steve Newton There’s no denying that Ronnie James Dio did an incredible job replacing Ozzy Osbourne as the singer in Black Sabbath. The moment I heard “Neon Nights”, the opening track on Dio’s first Sabbath album, Heaven and Hell, I knew the heavy-metal stars had aligned. The music had way more power and feel than … Continue reading That time I asked Ronnie James Dio about stepping into Ozzy Osbourne’s shoes in Black Sabbath

That time Ronnie James Dio told me a fib about Priest and Maiden contributing songs to Hear ‘n Aid

By Steve Newton On May 20 and 21, 1985, the charity project spearheaded by Ronnie James Dio, Hear ‘n Aid, recorded its video/single “Stars” at A&M Studios in L.A. “Stars” was a one-time collaboration featuring an array of the biggest hard rock/heavy metal artists of the ’80s. Contributing lead vocals on the track were Dio, … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me a fib about Priest and Maiden contributing songs to Hear ‘n Aid

That time Ronnie James Dio told me about the entity that tried to kill his wife during the recording of Rainbow’s Long Live Rock and Roll

By Steve Newton Back in 2016, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Rainbow Rising–one of the greatest metal albums of all time–I posted blogs with soundbites from interviews I did with former Rainbow members Ronnie James Dio (in 1985) and Tony Carey (in ’84). The first one I did on Carey did not go … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me about the entity that tried to kill his wife during the recording of Rainbow’s Long Live Rock and Roll

That time Ronnie James Dio got me and my nephew Jeff backstage on the Sacred Heart Tour

By Steve Newton I did my one and only interview with Ronnie James Dio back in December of 1985. The metal legend, 43 at the time, was headed to Vancouver for a show on his Sacred Heart tour, with opening act Yngwie Malmsteen‘s Rising Force. I’d been a fan of his since I first heard Elf … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio got me and my nephew Jeff backstage on the Sacred Heart Tour

Ronnie James Dio: the Lost Interview of 1985, an Ear of Newt exclusive

By Steve Newton On December 20, 1985, Ronnie James Dio called me up at home and we chatted for 20 minutes or so. How cool was that? The legendary heavy-metal artist was doing press promoting his Sacred Heart tour, which was scheduled to play Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum on December 28, with guest Yngwie Malmsteen. We talked … Continue reading Ronnie James Dio: the Lost Interview of 1985, an Ear of Newt exclusive

Metal legend Ronnie James Dio dead at 67

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 16, 2010 Heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio, best known for his work with Rainbow and Black Sabbath, passed away today at the age of 67. He had been battling stomach cancer. His wife Wendy posted the following message on his web site. “Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed … Continue reading Metal legend Ronnie James Dio dead at 67

Album review: Audioslave, Out of Exile (2005)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 14, 2005 By Steve Newton Unless you’re the type of rabid music fan who scours the Straight‘s out-of-town concert listings, itching for stateside road trips, you probably didn’t notice that Whitesnake played the Paramount Theatre in Seattle a couple of weeks back. Strangely enough, I wouldn’t be surprised … Continue reading Album review: Audioslave, Out of Exile (2005)

That time guitar great Marc Bonilla told me how inspired he was by the playing of Ronnie Montrose

By Steve Newton Marc Bonilla might be one of the greatest guitarists you’ve never heard of. I guess he’s kind of like Joe Hodgson is today, except that Bonilla came on the scene 30 years ago. I interviewed him back in April of 1992, the year after he released an amazing all-instrumental debut album called … Continue reading That time guitar great Marc Bonilla told me how inspired he was by the playing of Ronnie Montrose

That time Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell told me that he got paid less than the road crew in Dio

By Steve Newton I interviewed Irish guitar hero Vivian Campbell in September of 1992, three weeks after his 30th birthday. Five months earlier he’d joined Def Leppard, one of the world’s most popular rock bands, apparently being chosen over the likes of John Sykes, Gary Hoey, and Adrian Smith from Iron Maiden. So no wonder … Continue reading That time Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell told me that he got paid less than the road crew in Dio

That time Colin James told me that playing electric slide-guitar was a challenge for him

By Steve Newton Back in August of 1995 I interviewed Canadian blues-rocker Colin James, who I’d been a fan of since his self-titled 1988 debut album. At the time he was touring behind his fourth album, Bad Habits, which saw him playing quite a bit of slide guitar on tunes like “Real Stuff” and “Walkin’ … Continue reading That time Colin James told me that playing electric slide-guitar was a challenge for him

That time I asked veteran studio ace David Lindley what his favourite recording session had been

By Steve Newton David Lindley is widely hailed as one of the finest players of stringed instruments in the world. As well as acoustic and electric guitar, he’s been known to handle upright and electric bass, banjo, lap steel guitar, mandolin, hardingfele, bouzouki, cittern, bağlama, gumbus, charango, cümbüş, and zither. When I interviewed him back … Continue reading That time I asked veteran studio ace David Lindley what his favourite recording session had been

AC/DC’s undying influence on Vancouver rockers, record-store owners, and radio personalities

ORIGINALLY POSTED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 19, 2001 By Steve Newton The members of AC/DC aren’t doing any interviews in advance of their two shows at the Pacific Coliseum on Sunday and Monday (April 22 and 23), but that’s okay, because if they were, they’d probably just want to talk about their latest album, Stiff Upper Lip. … Continue reading AC/DC’s undying influence on Vancouver rockers, record-store owners, and radio personalities