During a new appearance on the “Seize The Moment” podcast, Ronnie James Dio‘s widow and longtime manager Wendy Dio spoke about her efforts to keep the legacy of her late husband alive. Regarding what new Dio-related releases are in the works, Wendy said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): ”[The ‘Dio: Dreamers Never Die’ DVD and Blu-ray] comes out on [September] 22nd. [Editor’s note: The release date has since been pushed back to September 29.] I’m very excited about that because the [career-spanning Ronnie James Dio documentary] came out. We premiered in L.A., we premiered in London, and it was in theaters all over the world, but only for a couple of days. And then it went to Showtime; it’s on Showtime, so the Americans can actually watch it, but no one else in the world can see it. So now that this is coming out worldwide on Blu-ray and on DVD, the rest of world is gonna get to see it, and you know Ronnie‘s got a lot of fans all over the world and I’m really, really happy about that.”
She continued: “What else do I got coming up? On the 22nd of September, we have on BMG, Ronnie‘s last four albums that he made [with DIO], it’s coming out on vinyl in all different colors and it’s a really lovely, lovely package. Rhino is working on, I think, [DIO‘s] ‘The Last In Line’ [album] next year, doing a remix with somebody; I don’t know who yet. We did one, ‘Holy Diver’, [last] year with Joe Barresi, and it was a remix and it was bringing the songs up to modern sound. And I think Joe did a fantastic job. So we’re looking at that. I’m with Ronnie‘s engineer, Wyn Davis. We’re in the vault looking and we’re finding all kinds of gems. But I don’t wanna flood the market. I like to put things out just like Ronnie would want, here and there, and just pick out gems. I think that there’s some unreleased material we found. There’s a lot of stuff going on.”
Wendy added: “I will continue. Then the fans have more and more things of Ronnie‘s because I wanna keep his music and his memory alive for as long as I live. And then my daughter will carry on.”
DIO‘s classic debut album, 1983’s “Holy Diver”, was reissued in July 2022 as “Holy Diver: Super Deluxe Edition” via Rhino. The four-CD boxed set comes with two versions of “Holy Diver”. The first is a new mix of the album made by Joe Barresi (TOOL, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, SLIPKNOT). He used the original analog tapes to remix all nine tracks on the album. The second is a newly remastered version of the original 1983 mix. The Super Deluxe Edition also features unreleased live performances and outtakes, along with a selection of rarities from the era.
Following the well-deserved success of “Holy Diver”, Ronnie James Dio did not mess with that winning formula when he released the follow-up effort, “The Last In Line”. The album is full of heavy and hard rocking songs that draw upon the fantasy lyrics for which the band is known, lots of guitar solos and, of course, Ronnie James Dio‘s distinctive and unique voice. The 1984 release was the first DIO album to be certified platinum. The lineup on the album is the same as that on “Holy Diver” — Dio, Vivian Campbell, Jimmy Bain, Vinny Appice, plus the addition of keyboard player Claude Schnell.
Campbell discussed the decision to remix “Holy Diver” during an appearance on an August 2022 episode of SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”. Asked if he has heard the new version of “Holy Diver” and what he thought about it, Vivian said: “I have not. And I find it a little bit unsettling that I ended up being talked into doing an interview a couple of months ago about it, not having heard the record. And I’ve gotta say I haven’t heard good reports. [Laughs] That was a little weird. I just spoke to some journalist at length about this, but I haven’t actually even heard the product.”
He added: “I’ve heard that they’ve put out outtakes of tracks from ‘Holy Diver’ and solos that didn’t make the cut. And I’m wondering why… There’s a reason why stuff didn’t make a record in the first place. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to be putting it out there.”
Appice admitted to “The Rock Is George” podcast that it was “risky” remixing “Holy Diver” nearly 40 years after the LP’s original release. “When you mess with something that is a classic, you’re taking a chance that, is this gonna be better or is this gonna be different?” he said. “The remastered [version of the album], I heard some of that, and that sounds pretty good. I heard a little bit of the remix… I’m almost afraid to listen to it because the sounds on there sound great — the drums sound great. And I think it might sound a little bit drier, maybe a slightly different sound to the album.
“You’re used to hearing an album like ‘Led Zeppelin I’,” he continued. “There’s a sound to that record. And the drums are recorded great on that; [Jimmy] Page‘s guitars and the mix — fantastic. The mix is incredible on those albums — all the ZEPPELIN albums. So when you’re gonna take up that task of trying to remix something like that, that’s risky. I think even Joe was nervous with touching this classic thing. And the problem with the remix, too, is when we mixed that album, there were not really any computers in the studio. There was outboard gear brought in. There was some red thing we had — I forgot what it was called — we put on the drums, an EMT thing. And that was on, and it gave the drums some ambience. And so everything was live. So when we mixed it, it was Ronnie [James Dio, vocals], Angelo [Arcuri, engineer], me or Viv [guitarist Vivian Campbell] or whoever was in the studio. We went over how we’re mixing this. ‘Okay, you pull those faders down a little bit when this part comes up.’ ‘Angelo, you put the guitar solo up.’ ‘Ronnie, you do the keyboard’ — whatever was in there. So we mixed it like that. We didn’t put it on an auto-mix and the computer remembered the mix and then you can just keep mix to that. That was the way we mixed it. So even Joe mentioned that he couldn’t really get some of the… Like that EMT, they don’t use it anymore. [They have] plug-ins now, but it still sounds different. So that’s the way we mixed it, and now you bring it up to the new technology and things are done differently. So he had quite a task ahead of him. I mean, it sounds good, but if you’re used to the other sound, it sounds a little different.”
A few weeks prior to “Holy Diver: Super Deluxe Edition”‘s release, Wendy told Rob Rush Radio about the reasoning behind the project: “We were just — Rhino and myself — were thinking that it would be nice to re-release it with a newly remixed version. And I went through lots of different producers and thinking who would make a good job of it for Ronnie and bring it a bit more modern. So we picked Joe Barresi, who’s done lots of stuff with TOOL and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE and so on. And he was quite reluctant in the beginning to do it because he said, ‘Oh, I can’t improve on what Ronnie did.’ And I said, ‘Well, it’s not really to improve on it. It’s just to make it a little bit different and to bring it up to today’s standards.’ And so he did it, and I’m very pleased. I think he did an absolutely amazing job with it. And [next month] being Ronnie‘s 80th birthday, we wanted to bring something out to celebrate it. So it’s a two-LP set and there’s a vinyl with it and lots of outtakes that nobody’s ever heard of before. We went into the vault and found lots of outtakes, and Joe said, ‘What about these?’ And I said, ‘Fine. Let’s do that too.’ And there’s also, on the deluxe version, a show that Wyn Davis, a longtime engineer and friend of Ronnie‘s, he remastered that one. And so that one’s coming out as well on there. It was done in 1983 on the ‘Holy Diver’ tour at the Selland Arena in Fresno. So he mixed it — it was a concert, a live recording, so he mixed it. And that’s on there as well. It’s gonna be a wonderful deluxe version and a super celebration of Ronnie‘s life.”
Barresi‘s new mix of “Holy Diver” was released the same day as a two-LP set on 180-gram vinyl ($34.98). It includes the original nine tracks, plus the 1983 B-side version of “Evil Eyes” as a bonus track. Side four is decorated with an etching of the legendary demon Murry that graces the album’s iconic cover. The vinyl is kept in a gatefold sleeve that shows off newly commissioned artwork by longtime DIO artist Marc Sasso. The same artwork is also used for the four-CD Super Deluxe Edition.
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