Ronnie James Dio is metal music royalty. From his early days in New York playing the trumpet and singing in small bands to becoming a metal vocal powerhouse with Rainbow, the resurrected Black Sabbath and his own band, Dio experienced it all, riding the highs and enduring the lows in every band he played in. Then, an unexpected musical reunion with his ex-Black Sabbath band mates Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler brought him the kind of happiness and career stability he always longed for. Tragically, the group abruptly ended when Dio contracted stomach cancer. Though he fought bravely and tried to continue doing what he did best, the disease was incurable. Friends and family rallied by his side, some forming a tighter bond with Dio than ever, as he inched towards his final days. In this episode, host Jon Wiederhorn addresses Dio’s spectacular life and tragic death through interviews with Dio’s widow Wendy, and members of Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell and Dio. Alice Cooper and members of Anthrax, Twisted Sister, and Slayer provide additional commentary.


Alice Cooper talks about Dio’s onstage charisma. Exodus and former Slayer guitarist Gary Holt remembers listening to Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow and hearing Dio’s vocals for the first time. Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider praises Dio for his powerful voice and humble personality. Ronnie James Dio explains his pride and satisfaction in playing metal music. Dio’s widow and longtime manager Wendy Dio talks about Dio’s use of the sign of the horns, how he got his surname, when she and Dio fell in love, and Dio’s sometimes rocky relationships in Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Dio. Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler talks about how Dio hated Rainbow ringleader Ritchie Blackmore. Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi discusses how Dio joined the band after they fired Ozzy Osbourne. Guitarist and co-founder of Anthrax Scott Ian marvels at the greatness of Black Sabbath’s comeback album Heaven and Hell. Dio drummer Vinny Appice remembers a set malfunction during a Dio concert and shares his experience at Ronnie James Dio’s funeral. Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Wendy Dio address Ronnie’s battle with cancer and candidly address how he bravely fought the disease and details about the last three weeks of his life.

Backstaged: The Devil in Metal is a production of Diversion Podcasts in association with iHeartRadio. Written and hosted by Jon Wiederhorn. Produced and directed by Mark Francis and Scott Waxman. Consulting Producer: Andrew Kalb. Production Assistant: Anita Okoye. Social Media Manager: Stephen Tompkins. Instrumental guitar music by Scott Waxman. Editing by Chris Schreiner. Technical Producer: Clem Fandango. Director of Marketing and Business Development: Jacob Bronstein. Executive Producers: Scott Waxman and Mark Francis. Special thanks to Oren Rosenbaum at UTA.

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