Studio Report

DIO are completing the follow-up to 2002's 'Killing The Dragon' album at Total Access Studio in Redondo Beach, California. Typically, the veteran band don't plan to make any radical shifts in musical approach on the new record.

"I guess I've painted myself into a corner over the years, because I always write and record music in a particular style," singer Ronnie James Dio explains. "So it does get harder and harder to write songs. But that corner is one I'm very happy to be in - that's where I feel most comfortable."

Ronnie (who is also producing), guitarist Craig Goldie, bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer Simon Wright, aim to finish work for a late June/early July release.

The return of former Dokken man Pilson and the departure of his predecessor Jimmy Bain still puzzles Ronnie. "After our last tour, Jimmy went out on the road with XYZ for a short time, as they were without a bassist," he says. "But I expected him to work on this album. However, when he got back home he never called me. And I've still no idea why he left. We've spoken since, just to make sure that thiings are amicable between us on a personal level, but his professional decision remains a mystery to me."

The as yet untitled album will mix high-tempo and more doomy material, with songs like 'The Man Who Would Be King', 'The End Of The World'and 'Living A Lie' lined up. "There's a cynical aspect to some of the lyrics,"Ronnie says, "and there's definitely a political tone, reflecting the dangers we face almost every day in modern life."

Dio are also looking backward, with remastered versions of their first two albums, 'Holy Diver' and 'The Last In Line', plus a boxed set. And, as for the ongoing rumours of a Rainbow reunion with gitarist Ritchie Blackmore...

"If the possibility arose, then I'd seriously consider it," the singer says. "But only as a one-off. It would be closure for both of us. Right now though, Ritchie's getting on with his music, and I'm fully committed to Dio."

Indeed, the group's next UK Tour commences in Manchester on August 9.

Classic Rock, U.K. May 2004