Ronnie James Dio solo career was accident, says Vinny Appice

Dio band in the 1980s
Dio, Appice, Bain and Campbell at the start of their career (Image credit: Getty)

Ronnie James Dio’s solo career came about after a series of unplanned events, Dio drummer Vinny Appice has recalled.

He believes the iconic vocalist, who died in 2010, had no clear direction for the band when he formed it in 1982 – and he’d expected to remain with Black Sabbath instead.

But arguments over the Live Evil album led to Dio and Appice quitting Tony Iommi’s band – and a change of direction for the singer’s solo project.

Appice tells the Silk And Steel Power Hour: “Ronnie had a solo deal while he was in Black Sabbath. His first plan was to stay with Black Sabbath and do a solo record with all his friends on it.

“He wanted me to play on it, Cozy Powell, all his friends in different bands. It would be like an all-star album.

“Then things soured up with Sabbath. Things got a little bit funky, and he decided, that’s it, he’s leaving. Then it became, he’s going to use that record deal to launch a new career.

“That’s when he asked me if I wanted to join, and I said yes.”

Dio already had rough ideas for material that would appear on the band’s first album, Holy Diver – but there was no musical direction in place until guitarist Vivian Campbell and bassist Jimmy Bain joined in.

Appice says: “We auditioned Vivian and Jimmy at the same time, and it just gelled. We just went, ‘Damn - this feels good. This sound great.’”

Asked if Dio had been prepared for the solo career that was to follow, the drummer replies: “To tell you the truth, I don’t think… He might have had a vision of what he wanted.

“But It never was planned out, what the band should sound like. The band created its own sound.”

Appice, Campbell and Bain regrouped as Last In Line in 2012 and released debut album Heavy Crown earlier this year, following the death of Bain in January.

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.