This interview conducted Arto Lehtinen.

In the end of last November, three classic Heavy Metal dinosaurs marched throughout Scandinavia and North Europe by conquering Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Estonia. These three Metal dinosaurs were Dio, Manowar and Motorhead. The whole package of these living Metal legends did three gigs here in Finland. You have an extremely enjoyable chance to read and become aware of what Joey DeMaio and Ronnie James Dio talked about in the same press conference and definitely gave very brilliant answers. All right enjoy, but "Wimps and posers leave the hall!".

Arto: How has this tour been so far?
Dio: Oh man, it's been great! Real great! All the shows have been wonderful! It still sounds like the same old answer but if there was anything that was going to be wrong, we'd tell you about it. But from my point of view, it's been great.
Joey: I agree! I think it's been going really good. I think the main thing is that the fans are getting three different bands, three different kinds of Metal, A LOT of it! For one ticket, you get a lot of music! That's a good thing!
Arto: Did you have to cancel a couple shows in Norway?
Joey: You know what, we didn't cancel any gigs. But when they first proposed doing the tour, there were some shows scheduled in Norway. I think what happened was that the hall that they needed were not available. There was some technical confusion. That's what happened. But we did want to play in Norway.
Dio: I think we were going to play Trondheim one night. I think that would have been cool. But I played there of course.
Joey: That's right, he covered it there for us last time.
Dio: No, that was with Rainbow. We got into a riot in Trondheim though. Our road crew and the band got into a fight with the audience! An actual half an hour fight with the audience! Up and down the stairs, punches thrown everywhere... One got pushed down the stairs. Then we were thrown out of Trondheim, not allowed to come back again. We were taken away from our hotel by the police and deposited at the airport and we were told never to come back! So maybe that's why we couldn't play there! (Laughters)
Arto: When was that?
Dio: That must have been in 1977, I think. I was stronger and taller back then! (More laughters) Now we would only be able to fight ten or twelve guys... Well, maybe fifteen...
Arto: Will there be a Live recording of this tour?
Dio: I think the only thing that would have made any sense would be some kind of video condense version of what we've done... Aside from that, you guys have done a Live album...
Joey: Two in a row.
Dio: Our last album was a Live album too... From an audio stand point, you're only going to hear what you've heard before. Video-wise, I think it would have been a lot more interesting. But no, there are no plans that I know of.
Arto: Was it Nuclear Blast's idea to release the new Live album?
Joey: No, it was actually our idea because we made our first Live album and while we were mixing it, we were thinking in the studio; "This is really fucked!"... Because we waited eight records before we made our first Live album and there's no way we could fit it on two disks. So we said we better make it another Live album on a single disk. Then we got into the mixing and there we realized that there was no way we could fit that on one record. So that's why we had to have two double Live albums. So it was our idea. It was actually the fans' idea!
Arto: What made you decide to sign a deal with Nuclear Blast?
Joey: Because they were the label that we believed would treat our fans the way we want our fans treated! That's the best reason I can give you!
Arto: Do you do any special exercise before you get on stage to warm up?
Dio: No, I don't do anything, I just sing. And I drink a lot too. Like I always said, it's a matter of knowing how to do it. If you have good technics... If you have good tools, you build a good house... If you have bad tools, you build a crooked house. I know how to do it mainly because I started so young playing the trumpet. I learned how to breed and how to do those things. Secondarily, I'm not a stupid person. I was able to take this talent that was given to me by the genetic qualities from my folks and have been able to use it wisely. If I'm sick, I won't go to a club, unlike Lemmy, who will go no matter what happens! (Laughters) I think it's just knowing how to do it. And a lot of it is very mental as well. But that should be good for Lemmy 'cause he's mental anyway. But Lemmy is one of my heroes! I must tell you! He's one of the funniest people on earth! He's very bright! I love to be around him! He's just one of the funniest guys I know. And I mean, look at what he's done! He's taken himself with that voice and look what he's done! I think it's absolutely incredible that he's done that. He's a great guy! I'm sorry he's not here. But if he were here, we would never get a word in anyway...
Arto: Jimmy is back for good?
Dio: Yes, Jimmy is back with us again. He has some emigration problems and that's why he's not here. Otherwise, would have been here. Of course, he played on the last album that we just finished and we're looking forward to see him here. Although, we love our actual bass player Chuck. He's brilliant! Great player, perfect for us. He's a great guy. But everyone wants to play with Jimmy Live again. He's like Lemmy, although he's not bothered with drugs and alcohol anymore. He's been clean for a year now! He's exactly the same as he was before except he remembers everything now! (Laughters)
Arto: When is the new stuff coming out?
Dio: In March...
Arto: And what about the new Manowar?
Joey: We're going to make one.
Arto: Not a Live one, eh!?
Joey: No. But it's funny though... A Japanese journalist said to me just recently: "Ok, now we have two double-Live Manowar albums..." I said "Yeah, I think that's enough!"... So he said "Well, there's thirty-seven more songs that you haven't got recorded Live"... (Laughters) I said "I think we'll have to wait on that for a while". But after we finish this tour, we're not going to play any more Live shows and we're going to finally go back and work on another record.
Arto: I heard that Manowar and Motorhead had some problems...
Joey: No. In fact, Motorhead was one of the few bands that would allow us to play with them. In 1986, we played five shows with them and so on and they were very nice with us. I've always liked Motorhead... I hate a lot of other bands, but I like Motorhead!
Arto: And who would those be, Joey?
Joey: Well, it would unprofessional for me to mention that.
Arto: What do you think of all the bands who try to copy Manowar, like Rhapsody, Hammerfall, etc?
Joey: I think that it's a nice compliment. Quite often, I see in the press the bands themselves who say; "We want to be like Manowar, we know that Manowar has the strongest fans, we admire them..." And I think it's nice! I really do! I mean, what can you say when someone wants to be like you?! You certainly can't dislike it. I think it's a compliment.
Arto: And do you like those bands? Rhapsody, Hammerfall and these kind of bands...?
Joey: Yes, I really do! I've heard Rhapsody from Italy. I've heard both their records and I think it's very good music! It's interesting to listen to. Hammerfall, they've played on a couple festivals with us. They're a good band! Come on, they're Vikings! They're having fun! If it's Heavy Metal and it's played from the heart, I think Ronnie will agree... I mean, who's been copied and imitated more than Ronnie!? Everybody has learned something from Ronnie Dio and his career. Even the bands he's played with; Black Sabbath, Ritchie Blackmore and Rainbow have learned from Ronnie. Everybody who's worked with Ronnie, including myself, has learned something. I mean, how can you not find it a compliment?!
Dio: Of course! And Hammerfall of course has Anders Johansen in the band now, which I think is great. I think that for a while, he was doing nothing. I've always admired him. Of course, his brother played with me for one album. So I think that's good for Hammerfall. Hammerfall were nice enough to do one of the songs on a tribute album that they did for me. That was great. I like Hammerfall as well! Like Joey said, I think that anyone that pays you a compliment by imitating anything that you do is the best compliment you can ever get.
Arto: Yeah, I was about to ask you about that; what do you think of that Tribute album?
Dio: "I thought it was great! Again, I always think that anyone who takes the time to do something like that for me... I mean, I never expected that would ever happen in my life. I don't have that kind of opinion of myself. I don't think that I'm special. I can do what you can do and maybe you can do what I can do... But that doesn't make me better than you or you better than me. I was very surprised that they did it! My best track on the album was "Temple Of The King" by Angel Dust... I thought that was just absolutely magnificent! It was just so... Special! I mean, everyone else did great jobs on the songs but this one was just so fragile and so wonderful! I loved it. And again, like Joey said, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. I hope nobody else does it though... I'd have to listen to it again...
Arto: I think that it's kind of a trend in the 90's... Almost too much in my opinion...
Dio: Well, I did two covers myself. I did an Alice Cooper song; "Welcome To My Nightmare" and I also did "Dream On" from Aerosmith. I did it for a friend of mine, a guy called Bob... And I would only do it for him because I think he treats it very well. He's a professional, he doesn't take a hammer to things that you do and throw it away... I had great players on the one I did with Aerosmith... Yngwie Malmsteen was the guitar player and on the one I did with Alice Cooper, it was Steve... You can't get any better than that as far as I'm concerned. But I agree, there are too many. It's a way of making money, let's face it! It's a money game. But again, it wasn't for the money for me. I really didn't need the money. But I wanted to do it for both because Alice has always been one of my heroes and Steve has also been one of my heroes as well. For me, it was a labor of love. But I agree with you: There are too many. I think it kind of diminishes how special those bands were when you have too many people doing their songs.
Arto: Have you heard any Manowar tributes?
Joey: There's been quite a few cover tracks...
Arto: If Manowar was a cartoon hero, which one would that be?
Joey: If Manowar was a cartoon hero? Well, let's see... I think they'd had to make a new one; it would have to be a combination of Pornoman... (Laughter) It would have to be part four... Kind of like part Spiderman crawling on buildings "cause we could crawl in the girls" bedroom and shit... (More laughters...) "It would have to be a combination of all the different guys. I think a bit of everyone. We'd have to make a brand new one.
Arto: Sounds like a Finnish Rock journalist! (Laughters) Where did you get your influences back then?
Joey: Well, obviously, Ronnie was one of the first professional bands I ever saw play in my life and that blew my mind and made me realize that you can never have enough equipment, you can never play loud enough and it also made me realize not to try singing! Laughters) When you hear someone like that singing, you realize there's only a few people that should do it! I use to hear him sing and play bass at the same time, which was a pretty heavy thing you have to accept in your lifetime. So I figured, I'll take one of the two and try it.
Dio: Well, I could sing but couldn't play bass like you though...
Joey: Well, I learned from you. It's kind of funny... Obviously, bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin... All the classic bands that I think made a mark on music. And maybe that's the reason for all those tribute albums too. Maybe there are too much but it's kind of nice that at least people are realizing and respecting the roots of this style of music as being some of the great bands, rather than the dog shit that people have put out and called Heavy Metal/Hard Rock. Thankfully, people are looking back the way we look back at Mozart, Bach, Beethoven... We're looking back at the classic composer. It's nice that the people are looking at the classic side of Heavy Metal because it is, in a way, classical music.
Arto: What about the situation in the United-States at the moment?
Joey: Believe it or not, it is getting better! I find it hard to believe! But we did our first American tour ever! It was with Six Feet Under as a support band. They're nice guys! They played good! They play completely different music than Manowar... It really is getting better in the States! It's a shock to me! I don't know where it's going to end up but let's hope for the Americans anyway... The American fans are not assholes but the MTV are pieces of shit... The radios are shit... Most magazines are shit... There's a few good magazines, but in general, it's basically a lot of mediocre shit! And the people who get fucked are the fans. But let's hope for the sake of the American fans that it turns around.
Arto: It's hard to imagine you playing in front of small crowds...
Joey: Yeah, it is kind of hard to imagine but you know what, we're here to play Heavy Metal all over the world and I don't give a shit whetter there is fifty people or fifty thousand... It's not really important. The thing that is important is the fans that pay their money, that stands in the fucking rain and the snow and wait for hours for tickets and drink their fucking beers...
Arto: What about the latest stuff you did with Roger Glover at the Royal Opera Hall?
Dio: It was unbelievable! I did it for Roger first. I had done an album with Roger in 1973, I think, called "Butterfly Ball". My first gold record was the song "Love Is All", in the Benelux countries. It was amazing to me. But my first gold record said on it; "To Roger Glover"... Me? That was me singing! Can I have one for me? So they made another one for me with my name on it, which was very nice. But Roger asked me to do it when we were doing the Swedish festival. That was the first time. I hadn't seen Roger in perhaps ten of fifteen years. So he said "we're playing the Royal Opera Hall and each of us are doing something special!" Ian was there, John was there... I would do anything for Roger. He's the greatest man I've ever known! He was so instrumental in my career and my success, so I said "of course I will!" So I took a week out of being in the studio for Roger. It was one of most wonderful experience of my life! To hear that band play behind me, plus the eighty piece London Symphony Orchestra! I mean, I almost came! I came afterwards... (Laughters) It was amazing and very special for me. There are plans for it to go around the world now, at the end of next year. Roger asked me if I would do that with him as well and I agreed to do that too. They're giving me a chance to do something that I haven't done in a long time, which is kind of singing in a gentle manner. After all, I consider myself a singer, so there's nothing wrong with reaching the full scope of what you can do as a singer. But it was just a special moment for me. I'd never been in the Royal Opera Hall before... I'm just looking forward to the next one! They want to take it to Hollywood... I can't wait for that.
Joey: Yes, you need to see some of the smaller places... After all, you did play the Garden... So you wanted to check out some of the clubs! (Laughters)
Dio: Shit hole! (More laughters)
Arto: It was cool to see Joey doing "Holy Diver" with you!
Dio: Well, here's my "Holy Diver" bass player over here now! The first time we did that together was at the Bang Your Head Festival in Germany. It was the first time Joey and I were on stage together. It was great! Joey turned up and there he was! He learned "Holy Diver" in like five seconds, 'cause it must be an easy song or something... (Laughters) It was wonderful to do that. Of course, that leads me to another thing; we're going to do a new Elf album as well, which has been a long time since the other stuff. Joey accepted playing on that one as well. I mean, touring is something else; we've got a lot of our own touring to do, but we're both from the same area, we grew up together and... I mean, it's something more special to both of us that we can do.
Arto: Manowar is quite popular in the ex-Yugoslavian area. How do you think your war Metal applies there, where people are fighting for real?
Joey: You know, honestly, I think that war sucks and each time somebody gets hurt in any situation, wether it's a car accident or you know... I mean, I don't even want to see a dog or a cat get run over. I'm not into that. But anybody who likes our music, they want to buy our music, they want to see our show, they want to see what we're doing, it's fine with me. I don't care wether it's Yugoslavia or Africa... It doesn't make any difference to me. If somebody is into Heavy Metal, that's cool.
Arto: I heard some rumors that you're former guitarist Ross wouldn't ever come back in the band...
Joey: You know, we've got the internet now. And the internet made this whole world we all live in a very small one. The minute somebody takes a shit, it's on the internet and the whole world knows about it!
Dio: Really!? Laughters) I hope they don't know about the other things I do in there... (More laughters)
Joey: Yeah! I mean, it's crazy! That's what the internet has done for the world and it's great for Heavy Metal particularly because we've always been an underground society and now we can all talk to each other. But when somebody says something like that, all of the sudden, it goes out and people just re-ash it and misinterpret it. But Ross is a lovely guy, he's a brother, he's a friend and he's now married, got a baby, a wife and every now and then, he goes out with his ex-fans and has some fun, drinks some beer and parties out! But the Manowar lifestyle is a whole change that he made a long time ago.
Arto: What would be the silliest rumors you've ever heard about yourself?
Joey: I've heard so much shit over my life, about myself or the whole band that honestly, I can't remember one thing. But I'd be glad to comment on anything you can remember or that anybody said to you! I just can't focus on one thing. But rest assure, I've heard tons of shit my whole life!
Dio: Rainbow is getting back together again... It's the silliest one I've heard in a long time. Of course, I hear it every year! It never seems to happen.
Arto: So Rainbow would never come back together... Why?
Dio: I'm busy. I'm doing what I'm doing myself and I'm very happy with what I'm doing. You never say no to anything... It was a very special time in my life, it was a very special band and Ritchie was a special person and will always be a special person. I don't have anything bad to say about him, ever! He's a great person for me. Other people don't find it him that way but for me it was never a problem. But this is not the time for me to do that... Maybe a year ago, I would have thought about that because I was making changes in this band myself and it might have been interesting then. But he seems to be very happy with what he's doing as well, playing with silly hats on, playing the tambourine... If that's what he wants to do, good for him. But it's not the kind of music I want to make...

"Last question!" says the stage manager...

Arto: Ok, I want to know what happened with your plastic dragon!? (Laughters)
Dio: He was never plastic! You don't spend like two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for a plastic dragon. I have his head and that's all I have left. I wanted to keep everything and I kept it all for ten years... Everything! Every stage set we ever had, every piece of equipment we ever had... But after a while, it became stupid because I was paying so much money for things that would never be used again and that no one ever wanted to know about again. So it all went away. But I kept his head, I kept two of the knights that we had, I kept two of the giant sphinx that we had and I kept the giant spider that we had. That's all I kept.
Joey: I'm like you. I try to save something special from each time in my life. I think it's important and I love that.
Arto: And if your bands were forms of sex, what would it be?
Joey: Group sucks! (Laughters...)
Dio: Probably virgin killers! (More laughters)
Joey: Very good! Okay, thanks guys!

November 1999

Interview with Karl Logan (10.21.1999)
Interview with Joey DeMaio (2000)

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