DOUG ALDRICH Confirms His Unreleased Song Collaboration With RONNIE JAMES DIO Will Finally See Light Of Day
August 9, 2023
A previously unreleased Ronnie James Dio song which guitarist Doug Aldrich was working on with the legendary heavy metal singer before his 2010 death will be included on an upcoming Dio collection of never-before-heard and obscure recordings. The track in question was written during the sessions for DIO's "Magica II", a sequel to 2000's "Magica" that was left unfinished when Ronnie died in 2010. Another "Magica II" track titled "Electra" made it on to 2012's "The Very Best of Dio Vol 2".
Aldrich discussed the unreleased music he worked on with Dio in a new interview with Canada's The Metal Voice. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, first of all, 'Electra' was part of what was gonna be a next album for Ronnie. He basically came up with 'Electra' to promote the tour that he wanted to do at the end of 2009. He was gonna re-release 'Killing The Dragon' and a live show that we did from that tour, and that song was gonna promote the album and the tour and it was gonna be this whole thing And then he got sick; he found out he had cancer. So it all went away. But the song 'Electra' did come out and it was pretty cool man. But prior to 'Electra', he had another song that — and I'm sure he had lots of bits of songs and maybe a few that were completed — but he did give me a completed song prior to 'Electra' that he wanted to be the promotional track. And then he basically moved away from that and we went with 'Electra' instead. But I had that [other] track, and I put a solo on it. It didn't have a title, but I had it, and I talked to Wendy [Dio, Ronnie's widow and longtime manager] about it, and we never, she never… To be fair, I didn't go over and play it for her, but I did talk to her about it on the phone. And then she kind of wasn't ready to listen to anything like that at that point. Years went on. And then I ended up doing a renovation at my house and I took those hard drives and I put them in storage. So at the moment, there's talk that Wendy wants to put out some stuff, some unreleased stuff next year, in '24, with Ronnie, including a remake of the track that he sent me, which I'm still in the process of finding it. And Wendy texted me last week and said, 'Any luck?' And I said, 'I'll get it, Wendy.' I just have dozens of hard drives I need to go through to find it. And once I do, I'll give her the track and I'll either record it with her and them or somebody else will. But it was haunting, because it was Ronnie playing bass and playing rhythm guitar with a drum machine and singing, and the vocal was just — it was haunting, man; really crazy."
Elaborating on how his unreleased song with Ronnie ended up getting lost among his personal household items, Doug said: "I did a renovation during 2020 when everything was shut down. I wanted to expand my house a little bit and clean it up and get new stuff. And so I wanted to pack everything up nice and neat and get it out of here. 'Cause when there's construction, hard drives would get dusty and all that. So I [packed everything up], including that computer was all backed up on a hard drive. So I'll find it. And I hope Wendy has some other kickass stuff. I really do. 'Cause that would be pretty cool to hear an album of unreleased stuff that was original music and/or some really cool versions [of previously released songs]. I can only imagine there's gotta some cool stuff that they did that maybe they didn't use with Viv [Vivian Campbell]."
Aldrich, who was a member of DIO for a short period between 2002 and 2006, previously spoke about his unreleased collaboration with Ronnie in a 2017 interview with Roppongi Rocks. He stated at the time: "I have a demo of Ronnie, an unreleased song nobody's ever heard. I offered it to Wendy and, I don't know, maybe she forgot about it, but I said 'I have this song. It's really haunting.' It was during [the] time he wrote 'Electra'. I just played on it. We were kind of bouncing around some of his ideas and working on some of them. Before we did 'Electra', he had this other one that he said, 'Can you put a solo on this?' and he gave me the track. I had put a solo on it and then, when I brought it to his house, he goes, 'No, no, no. I've got this new idea called 'Electra'.' We didn't even listen to it. I don't even think he ever heard the solo because we were so focused on trying to get one song done to promote the tour that we were gonna do. I was still a member of WHITESNAKE [at the time], but I said to him, 'If you work it out with David [Coverdale, WHITESNAKE frontman], I would love to go out on the road with you.' Because he had asked me to go. He worked it out and then he got sick. But there is this one track that is haunting, because the lyrics are… And he doubled his voice, it's just really trippy. At some point, it will have to come out. I got it. I got the mix. I actually have the recording session, which has got Ronnie playing bass, Ronnie playing rhythm guitar and vocals. And then a drum machine. One day."
In a 2015 interview with CrypticRock.com, Aldrich said that he was "only really in [DIO] for about a year, but in that year, we did do the 'Killing The Dragon'  record. I got to contribute to that record with a couple of songs also, which was nice," he said. "We did a lot in that first year. We did that record, a bunch of touring, and a live DVD called 'Evil Or Divine - Live In New York City' . Then I joined WHITESNAKE, but I kept coming back to DIO. There was a couple of tours in 2005. Ronnie said, 'Would you come on tour with me?' I said, 'Absolutely, I just have to speak to David about it.' David said, 'Cool, just make sure you come back,' because we had talked about some new music and he did not want me to split."
Having also played with LION, HOUSE OF LORDS, BAD MOON RISING, HURRICANE and Glenn Hughes, Aldrich joined THE DEAD DAISIES in 2016 and can be heard on that band's last four albums, 2016's "Make Some Noise", 2018's "Burn It Down", 2021's "Holy Ground" and 2022's "Radiance".
Ronnie James Dio, best known for his work with BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW and DIO, died of stomach cancer in May 2010 at the age of 67.
Back in July 2021, Wendy confirmed that there were "about three songs" from Ronnie that may eventually see the light of day. She told LiveSigning: "Actually, there are about three songs that Ronnie was… Ronnie was working on a song with [former DIO and RAINBOW bassist] Jimmy Bain before Jimmy passed away. That was one. Craig [Goldy, former DIO guitarist] were working together on a song; they were working on some material and stuff, and it got pushed to the side. And I think the last thing Ronnie was working on was with Doug Aldrich, and they were working on a song.
"All things are in a vault," she explained. "I have to go into the vault… We are taking the necessary steps — we are having it all itemized and categorized. And Wyn Davis, who was Ronnie's engineer, who loved Ronnie to death and Ronnie loved working with him. He's the only person I really trust to do that. So he's going there, going through the stuff, and he will listen to those songs and tell me if those are what Ronnie would approve. Because Ronnie was a perfectionist, so it has to be something that Ronnie would put out. We're not gonna shove something out because it's got Ronnie's name on it; that's not what Ronnie would want, and I would never do that to Ronnie. But if the lyrics are there and Ronnie sang the parts, we can always have the band go in and play the music. But we have to make sure that it's sung properly."
Ronnie was renowned throughout the world as one of the greatest and most influential vocalists in heavy metal history. The singer was diagnosed with cancer in late 2009. He underwent chemotherapy and made what is now his final public appearance in April 2010 at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in Los Angeles.
Ronnie's memoir, "Rainbow In The Dark: The Autobiography", was released in July 2021 via Permuted Press. It was written with longtime friend of 30 years and esteemed music writer Mick Wall, who took up the mantle after Ronnie's passing.
"Dio: Dreamers Never Die", the first-ever career-spanning documentary on the life and times of Ronnie James Dio, will get a DVD and Blu-Ray release in September.
"Dio: Dreamers Never Die" had its television premiere last December on Showtime. It is also available to stream via the Showtime app.
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