When Tim “Ripper” Owens began fronting Dio Disciples in 2011, he says former Dio drummer Vinny Appice questioned the move. And, of course, everyone is aware of the vicious feud that unfolded after Vivian Campbell left the original Dio band.
So, count Owens among the many who were surprised when Campbell and Appice joined with bassist Jimmy Bain and keyboardist Claude Schnell to reboot Dio recently. New singer Andy Freeman was added in place of the late Ronnie James Dio, who died of stomach cancer in 2010.
“I’m a bit shocked, though I could care less what he does,” Owens tells Michael Toney, author of Tales from the Stage. “I just wish he had done something like this, or had good things to say about Ronnie, when Ronnie was alive. It’s shocking also that, though I’m friends with Vinny, he pretty much knocked us for doing it.”
Owens has been touring with guitarist Craig Goldy, keyboardist Scott Warren, drummer Simon Wright since Dio Disciples’ inception. Goldy appeared on four Dio albums, Warren was with the heavy metal legend from 1994-2010, while Wright played on five Dio projects. Bassist Bjorn Englen and vocalist Oni Logan joined this year.
“We’re definitely doing it for the right reasons; we’re celebrating Ronnie’s legacy,” Owens says, in a talk held backstage at Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Cafe. “I think they are as well, but it’s still shocking. You can’t do too much of this for Ronnie, though. I just worry about and focus on being in the Disciples.”
Dio Disciples will appear this week as part of the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund’s second annual awards event, to be held on Halloween (Wednesday, October 31, 2012) in Hollywood.
Dio, formed when its namesake leader left Black Sabbath, burst onto the charts with 1983’s Holy Diver, a platinum-selling metal staple featuring a pair of legacy-making standout songs, the title track (No. 40 on the mainstream rock charts) and “Rainbow in the Dark,” which Dio said reflected his feelings on the break with Sabbath. The well-received Last in Line and Sacred Heart followed, before internal struggles between Dio and Campbell led to the guitarist’s departure.
Owens also confirmed to Toney that he has left the Yngwie Malmsteen band.
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