RONNIE JAMES DIO
OUR MEETING WITH RAINBOW
Before the Rainbow Fanclan was founded at the end of 1979, there was once in the distant past a (Dutch) Deep Purple Fan Club, to be precise in 1971, founded by Bart Hekkelman. This was taken over in 1975 by René Veldhoen, who ended the fan club in early 1979 (in 1976 renamed to Rainbow Fan Club), due to lack of time and the lack of people who could continue the fanclub. At that time news sources were very scarce, especially compared to the possibilities now, so there were not really many interesting articles about Rainbow. However, there are two exceptions: the two concerts that Rainbow gave in the Congresgebouw in The Hague. From the fanzines of that time we can now thanks to our good friend Tonny Steenhagen, who, in addition to the photos posted, also provided us with these copies, the concert report written at the time and interviews on the Rainbow Fanclan Legacy Website.
RONNIE JAMES DIO - Interview The Hague October 18, 1976
In the meantime Ronnie Dio has joined us and he looks carefully at our photo albums. He starts to tell an article about "The Butterfly Ball".
That is one of the best albums I have ever worked on. Roger is a very good bass player and composer and one of my best friends.
Why didn't you sing along to the live performance of "The Butterfly Ball", Ronnie?
It was initially intended to release "The Butterfly Ball" in its entirety as a cartoon and I fully supported that. A live performance lacked too much of the original plan I did not like that at all and did not accepted Roger's invitation to sing at the live concert. I was very sorry for Roger because again, he is a very good friend of mine. I then talked to him about it and he understood my objections.
Are you also contributing to Roger's new album?
Yes, although that was not originally intended. The LP is mainly instrumental Roger plays bass, synthesizer, guitar and percussion. For the latter he even went to Africa to study the indigenous percussion arts. The LP only contains two vocal songs, which were first sung by Roger himself. Then Roger said: Okay, it's not perfect, so I'll let someone else sing it". I became that person...
What do you think of The Ian Gillan Band's debut album?
I think Ian is a very good singer, but he doesn't quite know how to determine his direction on that album. The musicians he has gathered around him are all session musicians and therefore do not form a close band. They are constantly in the dark.
What actually happened to original members Micky Lee Soule, Gary Driscoll and Craig Gruber?
Rainbow's debut album was good, but it just lacked the power that today's Rainbow has. Take Mickey Lee, he's a fantastic rock'n'roll and boogie woogie pianist, but he's lazy. He's not one to go on stage with a synthesizer to his right, a mellotron underneath, an organ to his left and a piano in front of him. He prefers to lie down in the grass instead of writing songs. After Rainbow, he tried it for a while with The Ian Gillan Band, but after ten concerts in France he was also fired there. Micky Lee, Craig and Gary have now reunited under the name Elf. They have a new singer and a new guitarist. Elf was a very good group at the time. We played pure rock'n'roll, with which we certainly could have competed against bands like Led Zeppelin and ZZ Top. The annoying thing was that we didn't have any luck. There were too many good rock bands, so we got hardly noticed. The line-up was different when Gary played the drums, Micky Lee played the piano, my cousin was a guitarist and I sang and played bass. That is also the reason why I am respected within Rainbow. I can also talk about the musical part.
What's it like working with Ritchie?
Very well! For me Ritchie is the best guitarist on earth. He can really do anything rock'n'roll, blues, classical. Do you know Jeff Beck's album "Wired"? Ritchie is able to make an LP in the spirit of "Wired" or "Blow By Blow", but twice as good. However, I will be the last to recommend that to him, otherwise I will lose my job.
With Deep Purple, Ritchie was always such a difficult figure. Are you having to compete with that again?
No, Ritchie was immensely annoyed by the musical egoism that prevailed at Deep Purple. Deep Purple consisted of five ego trippers, who all wanted to be in the foreground. That's bullshit at Rainbow, however, we are all willing to give each other space. Ritchie feels good at Rainbow. He's happy, you know. And as for his stiffness, you shouldn't blame him. He's been in the pop business for a long time. You can safely assume he's a nice guy.
Do you already know anything about the new Lord / Paice band?
No, I only know that they are working on a new LP, but I haven't heard anything else yet.
Do you have very high expectations of that?
I really don't know, but let me tell you one thing. When I want to see a clown, I do watch Tommy Cooper and not Tony Ashton. I don't mean to pound Tony into the ground at all, but to me he is more of a drunk than a musician.
We interrupt the conversation for a moment to take a few pictures of the gentlemen.
Can we take some pictures of you, Ronnie?
Of course, go ahead.
Just as Ronnie wants to pose, Jimmy Bain comes running and jumps on Ronnie's lap with loud cries. They hug each other and we can shoot the pictures.
The mood within the band is very good, isn't it?
Yes, that is something unique. We celebrated Christmas together last year and after every performance we all go into the bar and have fun.
What do you think of David Coverdale?
A good singer, but Glenn Hughes is better. Dave used to shout a lot and loud during performances and I think a good singer doesn't have to shout. I met him in Munich a few days ago and he is very proud of his first solo album "White Snake". Roger Glover produced the record and plays bass and synthesizer on the title track. David wrote all the songs himself.
What are your plans for the future, Ronnie?
To sell a million records in each country! But no kidding, we recorded a live album in Germany that we will release around the end of the year.
"The time is up, ladies and gentlemen The bar is closed!" This is the voice of the bartender. The only reaction coming from those present is an unhappy murmur. Phrases like "Fuck You" are everywhere. After the bartender has repeated his call three times, all the lights go out, displeasure of the best man no result. Everyone just remains in the dark.
"Open the bar", Ritchie shouts from a dark corner and the lights go on again. The waiters now personally ask everyone if they want to leave. It has now become a quarter to three in the morning and Ronnie Dio is getting ready to go to his room. He says a very cordial goodbye, shakes hands with everyone and leaves the bar with his girlfriend.
We approach Ritchie and take some pictures. Ritchie is still talking to the journalist. As soon as he looks up at us, we take the opportunity to speak to him. We introduce ourselves and ask him if he will return with Rainbow to The Netherlands soon again.
"Sure we will". The interviewer looks at us irritated, so we decide to leave. After we have said goodbye to the other band members, we return home with hopeful expectations for the future in our Volkswagen van. The clock shows half past four when we drive down the E-8 and Epse slowly but surely comes into view...
In order not to stagnate the interesting conversation, we did not use our ready-to-start cassette recorder. However, the most important things we have remembered well and are listed above. Our thanks go to Harry Knipschild, the people of the organization office APE and to Jimmy Bain for the expensive beer. Praise for disc jockey George Casse (aka Gerrit Tijhof) and his friends who managed to send the van flawlessly to The Hague.
© René Veldhoen, Peter van den Berg & Willem ten Riele - The Book Of Taliesyn no 5, December 1976