In a new interview with Metal Mayhem ROC, Ronnie James Dios widow and longtime manager Wendy Dio spoke about the status of the officially sanctioned Dio tribute band DIO DISCIPLES. She said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We're working on coming out for next year. We're working on some stuff. We're not doing the hologram again. We're finding lots of footage of Ronnie in the RAINBOW and ELF and SABBATH and DIO era, and there will be video screens with Ronnie in there and the band playing. And we're working on some special effects. And that'll go out next year."
As for which singers might be involved with DIO DISCIPLES when the band returns to the road, Wendy said: "Ripper [Tim Owens] has been working with K.K. [Downing in KK'S PRIEST] right now, so he's gone. But Oni Logan [formerly of LYNCH MOB] will be there, and hopefully Ripper or somebody. We'll get it happening and we'll have a good show. And that's another thing that's keeping Ronnie's memory alive.
"Those guys love Ronnie so much," Wendy added. "And we wanna keep that music out there. But there's a lot of young new bands playing Ronnie's music. I'm very happy about that. There's a lot of tribute bands out there. I'm real pleased about that. 'Cause they all do it for the love of Ronnie. And I'm so happy — I'm so happy that the young kids get a chance to listen to the music. I think this is the first time ever that the kids listen to their parents' music."
When DIO DISCIPLES performed at the "Rock For Ronnie" event this past May at Los Encinos Historic Park in Encino, California, former DIO members Scott Warren (keyboards) and Simon Wright (drums) were joined for the performance by singers Terry Ilous (XYZ, GREAT WHITE) and Dyna Shirasaki (THUNDHERSTRUCK),guitarist Ira Black (BULLETBOYS, VIO-LENCE),and bassist Bjorn Englen (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN).
DIO DISCIPLES is made up of former members of DIO, along with a rotating lineup of vocalists, including Owens and Logan.
Billed as a "celebration of the music and legacy of the greatest singer in the world, Ronnie James Dio," DIO DISCIPLES have been playing Ronnie's music on tour in a bid to keep their old bandmate's memory alive.
Three years ago, Wright told The Metal Voice that the proposed DIO DISCIPLES debut album had been put "on hold" so that he and his bandmates could focus on the "Dio Returns" tour. At the time, Simon said that "about four or five demos" had been laid down of "different songs" that he and former DIO guitarist Craig Goldy had been working on. As for the material's musical direction, Wright said: "It's difficult to pin it down, because some of [the tracks] are a little different. Still a little bit of [the] DIO [sound], the way Ronnie would write, obviously, 'cause that's rubbed off on Craig, and I hear things too. But at the moment, it's a little bit eclectic. So that was gonna be one thing we were gonna approach. We need to consolidate it and make it into a DIO DISCIPLES sound. So that was a conversation we were having: 'We need to figure out where we're going with this.' At the moment, it's a bit all over the place. But they sound good. They're great ideas."
Several years ago, Goldy revealed DIO DISCIPLES were planning to start work on a project of original material, and they debuted three of the new songs during their May 2016 appearance at the "Ride For Ronnie" motorcycle rally and concert in Encino.
Craig previously told "Talking Metal" that he has been collaborating with fellow former DIO member Jeff Pilson on the material for the debut DIO DISCIPLES album.
Goldy joined DIO during the "Sacred Heart" tour in 1986 after original guitarist Vivian Campbell was fired from the band following a contentious business disagreement with the singer and Ronnie's management.
Pilson is best known for playing bass with DOKKEN and FOREIGNER, but he also toured with DIO in the 1990s and performed on three of the group's albums — "Strange Highways" (1993),"Angry Machines" (1996) and the group's tenth and final studio release, "Master Of The Moon" (2004).
Owens told Canada's The Metal Voice about DIO DISCIPLES' forthcoming LP: "We're not making a DIO record. We couldn't do that. The best thing is, we've all done different types of records, but there's always some similarity to the classic metal and classic rock format, because we have this in us. But we still always move forward a little bit. But that's what it's gonna be. JUDAS PRIEST, DIO, AC/DC — all these influences are in us, and they're not gonna leave us. It's just us writing songs. It's not us writing songs to sound like something; it's us going in and writing songs."
In 2018, Wendy said that DIO DISCIPLES' debut album would be released via BMG.
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