Influences, part one of a bunch

No one has challenged me, but I feel like sharing some cultural things that have shaped, influenced, or moved me.

First up – Ronnie James Dio. He got a lot of crap for “dark” imagery, fantastic/fantasy elements, etc. I’m here to tell you RJD was so damned wholesome, it wasn’t even funny. He addressed child abuse (Invisible), transgenderism (Invisible), mental health (many, but Rainbow In The Dark for sure), Gaslighting/domestic abuse (Between Two Hearts), Parental gaslighting/abuse (Twisted), and so much more. His songs were couched in dark mystery, introspection, but were universally self positive, uplifting, and encouraging.

His voice put him as a distinctive front man for, what, 3 of the most influential bands of the 70’s? Deep Purple, Rainbow and Black Sabbath – Arguably Sabbaths most capable and charismatic vocalist – and an amazing solo career.

And, now, let’s talk about Hear’n’Aid. As I remember it being told, Ronnie was pissed that the metal/hard rock community was largely ignored by the We Are the World/Live Aid organizations. So, he did his (our) own. Wrote a simple yet killer track, wrangled a legit horde of rock stars, dealt with several labels to get special tracks from a number of bands, shot a doc, and a music video, and – a more effective and complete transfer of value to those it was supposed to support, with very little being sucked up by governments in Africa. (

My favorite Dio release is one of the lesser regarded – Lock Up The Wolves. At a time where metal was getting more complex, more flashy, they went sparse, bluesy, using the space in between to define and shape the songs as much as the notes they played.