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Metal Mastication sits down with Wendy Dio to talk all things Ronnie -- including curry.

By Brett Hoag

Photography: Wendy Dio

Photography: Metal Mastication

Wendy Dio gives fans a horns up at a RJD Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund Event

Hail Metal Heads and Masticators! Sit down is a bit of a misnomer as Wendy is currently relaxing at her home in OH. However, I just got off the phone with the Queen of all things Heavy Metal. She is an extremely busy individual working her magic for various charities, but carved out a few minutes to talk with us and take some fan questions from a few Masticators \m/

Hello, Wendy. Thank you so very much for agreeing to this interview.

Wendy-- You're welcome. It's my pleasure.

Let's start at the beginning, if we may. When did you meet Ronnie James Dio?

Wendy-- I first met Ronnie when he was in Rainbow. They had just recorded the first album but hadn't toured yet.

Where you managing bands at this time?

Wendy-- No. I was involved in the record industry, though, and people seem to forget that. I started as an intern for Decca Records and worked with industry lawyers and booking agents.

How did you get into managing?

Wendy-- After Ronnie left Rainbow (or was fired, depending on who you ask, lol), he thought that Bruce, who was managing Rainbow, would continue with him, but Bruce said he was too busy with Rainbow and that Ronnie was on his own. He turned to me and said, "You're going to have to do it."

Yikes. Talk about being thrown to the wolves!

Wendy-- Well, as I said, I did have some experience in the business, so it wasn't all new to me. But, there were no women managers at the time. It was all men. Then Sharon started managing Ozzy and I began managing Ronnie. We were the only two women doing it for a long time. I smiled, nodded, and agreed with the men when they said I had to do it this way, let some man handle that aspect, etc., then turned around and did it my way. Sharon told them to eff right off and did it her way! LOL We were both very successful in our distinct methods.

Speaking of Sharon Osbourne. Do you have a relationship with her?

Wendy--We saw more of each other in the early days and were very good friends, but when Ronnie went into Sabbath, where her dad was still managing and with her managing Ozzy, there was a strain there. These days, we don't really run in the same circles. On the occasion we do bump into each other, we exchange pleasantries. She's very nice. There is no animosity there. We really don't see that much of each other.

That is good to know as a fan. You were both such groundbreakers in the business. Continuing with fans, this brings us to our first fan question. This comes from Masticator Chris Earney in Wisconsin, who wants to know if Ronnie believed in God because of the nature of the topics Ronnie covered in his lyrics.

Wendy—He believed in something. It is not necessarily God but Universal Energy. He believed there was something there.

Sticking with fan questions, our next one comes from Suzanne Muller of Rocket Queen Promotions in Germany. Suzanne is curious about what's next for Dio Disciples.

Wendy-- We definitely want to do more; it's a matter of scheduling.

We shot an episode of Metal Mastication with Bjorn Englen, bass player in Dio Disciples and asked him about playing with the hologram. How do you feel about that now that it's in the past and you can look back and reflect on it?

Wendy-- I'm glad we did it. It was an interesting experiment. I knew it wasn't Ronnie, so watching it was...interesting. We knew there would be blowback from the fans; some loved it and others did not; however, I'm glad we did it. It's done. Now, we forge ahead.

Bass player cooking
Bjorn Englen on the set of Metal Mastication

What's next?

Wendy-- I have been working with the set designer from the Sacred Heart tour. We are putting together a movie of Ronnie going all the way back to his days in Elf. We still have his vocals, of course. We've been doing this for the last year or so.

I Can't wait to see that as a fan! After I left you at the Metal Hall of Fame Induction Gala last January, I turned around and noticed you were swamped with fans. Does that ever bother you?

Wendy—No. Never. I always remember what Ronnie said. They are the reason we have a house and a car. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have anything. I will always at least say hi to a fan. I might have to be somewhere, as I do have a tight schedule, so I might not be able to sit and talk, but I do my best to accommodate everyone.

What you are saying then is that when I was told that Ronnie was a jerk to people in the 80s and 90s, and when I passed up a chance to meet him in 1998, I blew it big time.

Wendy-- LOL, yes, sorry to say. He was never a jerk. In fact, he would upset the rest of the band because he never left a fan without saying hello or signing something for them. He would stay until everyone got an autograph. He was humbled and appreciative of all the fans gave him and allowed him to do.

One last fan question comes from Metal Mastication's own Associate Producer, Metal Hall of Fame bass player James Pulli. Ronnie was successful wherever he went—with Rainbow, Sabbath, and Solo. What one project was he most proud of?

Wendy—His favorite time was his time in Black Sabbath. He always said that working with those guys was the best. They were all so talented and pushed each other to play harder. He said they were dynamite together. Geezer is such a phenomenal bass player; he called Tony the Riff Master, and Vinnie was explosive. It was nice that he got to come full circle and play with them again right before he passed.

I read on the internet that Ronnie loved a good curry. Is this true?

Wendy--Oh, yes, absolutely. Once, we were having a get-together to celebrate his and Geezer's birthdays (Ronnie was born on July 10th and Geezer on July 17th), and I made his favorite dish, Lamb Vindaloo, for about 300 people. I even called his favorite restaurant, *Salomi Bangladesh, in North Hollywood, to get their recipe.

That sounds fantastic, and I would love to have you on Metal Mastication so we can cook that up together and continue our conversation.

Wendy-- I would love to do that! It's just a matter of time. I am so busy working on my charity events.

Podcast crew eating what they made
Metal Mastication crew & guest Robby Lochner

Other than the Dio Cancer Fund in honor of your late husband, what other charities are you involved in?

Wendy-- I am on the board of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. It focuses on teaching history and civic responsibilities that come with being citizens of America. The kids get to go to Valley Forge and receive medals and accommodations for their essays and other work. The top prize is the Medal of Honor for the essay winner.

As a former educator, I highly approve! Do you judge the essays?

Wendy-- No. They know I'm good at bringing in money, so that is what I do.

What else is keeping you from our kitchen?

Wendy-- We have the Rock 4 Ronnie on May 19th with Quiet Riot, Lita Ford and others, his memorial on May 16th and the Bowl for Ronnie event in November. I am also taking off for Italy in June.

You are extremely busy! If I could end with one question. How would you like fans to remember you and your contribution to Ronnie's legacy?

Wendy-- That's a good question. I've never thought of that before. [Long reflective pause] I would say that for others to continue to do good. Help the less fortunate and never forget where you came from. Charity was extremely important to Ronnie, and I hope I continue that legacy for him. For us.

Thank you so much for your time today, Wendy. It was an honor and a privilege to talk with you, and I can't wait to have you on Metal Mastication. I know you are busy—we only need two hours to shoot!!

Wendy--LOL I look forward to it. It sounds interesting, informative and fun.

Metal Mastication! We eat our creation! \m/

*as of 4/28/24 this place is closed :(


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Wow. Very informative and now I am craving Lamb Vindaloo! Can't wait to see her on Metal Mastication!! Keep up the good work

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Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you are enjoying Metal Mastication \m/

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