Ronnie James Dio was a king among men, and Anthrax’s Scott Ian has a story to prove it

Ronnie James Dio and Anthrax's Scott Ian
(Image credit: Mark Weiss/Getty Images)

Ronnie James Dio was more than just one of the greatest metal singers of all time – he was one of the good guys, as Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian can testify to that.

“I first met Ronnie in 1982, when he was with Black Sabbath,” Scott tells Metal Hammer. “Sabbath were playing Meadowlands in New Jersey on the Mob Rules tour, and I got to meet him quickly after the show that night. We’d started Anthrax a year or so before, so I said, ‘I have a band, called Anthrax, we’re going to do an album, blah blah blah.’ He was really friendly and polite even though he had no idea who I was.”

By 1987, Anthrax had established themselves as one of the hottest new bands in metal. They were added to the bill of that year’s Monsters Of Rock festival at Castle Donington, alongside Bon Jovi, the fast-rising Metallica… and Dio.

“So we’re backstage at Donington, and I see Ronnie standing there, and I’m, like, ‘Holy shit, it’s Ronnie James Dio,’” says Scott. “So I went over to him and we start talking. I say, ‘Actually, we met before…’ And he looks at me and goes, ‘New Jersey, Meadowlands, the Mob Rules tour, after the show, right?’ And I’m, like, ‘You remember that?’ And he went, ‘Yeah, you told me about your band Anthrax, how can I forget? It’s good to see you guys made it.

‘I had that energy in me even before we went onstage. Just the fact that Ronnie remembered meeting me and remembered the name of the band. He was just the nicest person you could ever meet.”

Dio died on May 16, 2010 of stomach cancer. A new authorized documentary, Dio: Dreamers Never Die, is due out in 2022.

Metal Hammer

Founded in 1983, Metal Hammer is the global home of all things heavy. We have breaking news, exclusive interviews with the biggest bands and names in metal, rock, hardcore, grunge and beyond, expert reviews of the lastest releases and unrivalled insider access to metal's most exciting new scenes and movements. No matter what you're into – be it heavy metal, punk, hardcore, grunge, alternative, goth, industrial, djent or the stuff so bizarre it defies classification – you'll find it all here, backed by the best writers in our game.