It's been more than two years since heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio died from cancer, and those who worked with him aren't just sitting around mourning.
Instead a number of Dio's former band members have united as the Dio Disciples, touring the country to keep both his music and memory alive.
"We don't want to have the appearance of trying to replace Ronnie -- that's the last thing we're trying to do," explains guitarist Craig Goldy, a four-time member of Dio's band who worked with his widow and former manager, Wendy, to put the Disciples together. "We mainly want to keep that spirit of celebrating Ronnie's legacy and music going.
"It's not like anybody could forget Ronnie, 'cause how could you do that? But we're finding that as a result of this (band) people are being introduced and re-introduced to his music, and there's a special moment that occurs every single time when we do these concerts when the band and the audience connect as one. You see in the audience just crying and singing to the sky. It's like everybody is mourning the loss of Ronnie but at the same time celebrating what a great musician he was and what great music he created."
Dio Disciples -- which features former Judas Priest frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens and onetime Lynch Mob singer Oni Logan on vocals -- hopes to add to that body of work, too. Goldy, 52, says the group is planning to record new music and may even tap into some of the unfinished songs the guitarist was working on with Dio shortly before he died.
"Wendy doesn't want this to continue just as a (tribute)," Goldy explains. "I wrote a song about Ronnie's passing, and we've got about five or six songs in the works that are going to be really good, in the same spirit of what Ronnie would be proud of.
"That's the main thing; I always want to be part of something Ronnie would be proud of. So we may get an EP out some time next year and do a full album before the end of next year. Hopefully it'll all fall in place like that."
Dio Disciples and Witchburn perform Saturday, Nov. 10, at Harpo's, 14238 Harper, Detroit. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $18, with $1 donated to cancer research. Call (313) 824-1700 or visit www.harposconcerttheatre.com.
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