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DailyBoom Your Old School Music Authority

Friday, May 15, 2020

Exclusive Interview: Vinny Appice on The Appice Brothers Releasing Tribute Video on the Tenth Anniversary of Ronnie James Dio's Death

(Promo Shot from Vinny Appice's Official Site)

Saturday, May 16th, 2020 marks the tenth anniversary of Ronnie James Dio's death and it's a day that will not go unnoticed by the rock community. Stomach cancer may have shortened his life but Dio's vocals on tracks by Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and of course, Dio are never forgotten.  In fact, he remains in permanent heavy rotation in both the rock world and on MTV Classic's Metal Mayhem.

While Covid-19 has grounded a lot of touring musicians that extra time off has paved the way for a lot of creative projects to be brought to fruition, including one by Vinny and Carmine Appice. The brothers, plus Jim Crean (vocals), James Caputo (bass), and Artie Dillon (guitar) are releasing a video for the song "Monsters & Heroes" as a tribute not only to their former bandmate but also to the man that they'll always consider a brother.

I stole a few minutes of Vinny's time ahead of the video release and he was happy to share the details on how this touching tribute came to be. Check it out.

Vinny Appice on how the idea for the tribute video came about:

"It wasn't something that we had planned for a long time, because if things were normal (before Covid-19) then I would have been out of town. I had dates scheduled with Last In Line for March and April, then I was supposed to go to Europe and South America with another project. So the idea hit about two weeks ago when I was seeing all of the virus videos that everyone was making, with all of the windows looking kind of like the Brady Bunch (laughing).  I thought it was cool and the best part is that you're seeing stuff you've never seen before, like performers playing in their own living room.

I thought it would be cool to do one of these videos and when I called my brother Carmine (Appice) he thought it was a cool idea. There was a song we did a few years ago, written by Paul Shortino,  called "Monsters & Heroes" that was originally on our Sinister album, and it felt like a real single. It was the best song from the album to release as a single and since Ronnie's anniversary was coming up and we actually had the time to do something special it really worked out perfectly."

Vinny on how the video was filmed during the Covid-19 quarantine:

"Luckily our guitar player, Artie Dillon, knows how to do all of the video stuff and so we started putting it together. I played first and then I'd stop so Carmine could play. We've done this song live many times so we can choreograph it pretty well. Everyone was in separate locations filming their parts and so it took about two weeks to actually piece the footage together and sync everything up. When we finally saw the finished version we really thought it came out even better than we had expected.

Paul Shortino sang this song on the album but in this video, it's Jim Crean on the vocals. We have played hundreds of shows with him over the years and then Carmine and I have both played on a few of his records, so Jim is like family. It's the same with James Caputo on bass and Artie Dillon on guitar, they're our band so we've done many shows with them live, making them also like family."

Vinny on how Ronnie James Dio is always with him:

"When I go out and play with Last In Line, we play five or six Dio songs and when I go and do my own show then it's a night of Black Sabbath music, so most of the music that I play is tied to Ronnie. He's always there with me. When I'm writing music I remember how much he taught me about creating songs that aren't so predictable and that it's good to mess with the formula a little. The music keeps him with me and we got along so well that we were like brothers. I'm lucky the music has continued and I've gotten to play with legendary musicians that created rock classics. We didn't know at the time how things would end up we just knew that we thought the music sounded good. Who knew "Holy Diver" would become such a staple (laughing), it was just a lot of fun to do. Here we are ten years after he passed and we're still tied together which is so good, it's a nice feeling."

Vinny on remembering Ronnie today:

"The video is really special and it feels good to do something for the tenth anniversary of his passing. If you listen to the lyrics it tells a great story about Ronnie and mentions a lot of the song titles that he was known for.  I think seeing his silhouette and the cancer fund link at the very end is really touching. That picture blew me away when I first saw it, what a great guy Ronnie was. He really loved his fans. He would stop and get out of the limo while trying to leave a venue because there were fans in the cold waiting at the gates. He would get out and sign autographs and take pictures because he really loved his fans.  We all miss him and so it's a good day to remember Ronnie. This song and video will help to bring him into people's thoughts and that's just such a good thing for this great guy."

Check out the video for "Monsters & Heroes"!