February 16, 2004

In a members-only Q&A with the DIO fan message board, bassist Jeff Pilson talked about his experience with the leadership dynamic in DOKKEN and DIO, two bands he was a part of for several years, "Well, DOKKEN is (at least when I was in the band) a leaderless democracy, which can be good and can be bad," he said. "The major trouble I tended to have with [singer] Don [Dokken] was when he tried to take control in situations he wasn't always that well equipped for. He often tried to make it FEEL like he was the leader, when in fact he really wasn't — and things would get very scattered. Now that's not saying Don doesn't have wonderful qualities, but the best work we did was usually when there wasn't the ego drama and people created and contributed in a freer way. With Ronnie [James Dio], it's quite the opposite. No doubt he's the leader, but he never forced that feeling unless he had to. He maintains control while still allowing the individual to flourish. Sure he has his moments, like anyone, but I think he really enjoyed when the band would jam and it really felt like a band. Ronnie is absolutely the best band leader I've ever seen or been around..."

In the same chat, Pilson — who has denied having been asked to rejoin DIO following Jimmy Bain's recent departure from the group — discussed the songwriting process in DIO and Ronnie James Dio's contributions to the song ideas conceived by the other members of the band.

"[Ronnie] usually listens to all the jamming that the band does (sometimes on a riff or idea someone brings in),and he instinctively knows when it's getting 'there'," Pilson explained. "We then usually make an arrangement which he takes home to write melodies and lyrics to. Then the next day (or days) are spent molding it to finish it. That's usually a band effort — but it revolves around where Ronnie has taken the song. He's also particularly keen at putting ideas into the music which push everyone a bit. He never likes to settle. Then that usually kicks everyone into bringing a little more out of themselves. Ronnie is a great musician in most all capacities, and he respects and encourages musicality in those around him."

(Thanks: Electric Basement)

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