Drummer Simon Wright spoke to the "Talking Metal" podcast about the status of the debut album from DIO DISCIPLES, which pays tribute to Ronnie James Dio and is fully supported by Dio's widow/manager Wendy.
DIO DISCIPLES is made up of former members of DIO, along with a rotating lineup of vocalists, including ex-JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens and LYNCH MOB frontman Oni 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.
Asked by "Talking Metal" if it's true that the DIO DISCIPLES are planning to work on an album of original material, Wright said (see video below): "We'd done five or six good demos. They need figuring out, the songs. Me and Craig [Goldy, guitar] wrote some stuff; Bjorn [Englen, bass] brought in some stuff too. But we kind of took a right turn to deal with the hologram, so DIO DISCIPLES is kind of [on hold] at the moment. And also, if you're talking about a DIO DISCIPLES album, the way the demos are and the songs, they're kind of different to each other — they're different kind of styles. And it was a conversation that we were having with ourselves about which direction we should go in. So I think when we resume back to DIO DISCIPLES, we have to figure out the direction that we're going in, to create a DIO DISCIPLES sound. And there are a lot of touches of DIO in it, obviously, 'cause of the way that Craig spent so much time with Ronnie, and me as well — I've had my days as well. But we wanna try and create its own sound."
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. Fan-filmed video footage of one of the tracks, which is apparently called "Till The End Of Time", can be seen below.
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."
Two years ago, Wendy said that DIO DISCIPLES' debut album would be released via BMG.
DIO DISCIPLES is:
* Tim "Ripper" Owens (JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH) - Vocals
* Oni Logan (LYNCH MOB) - Vocals
* Craig Goldy (DIO) - Guitar
* Bjorn Englen (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) - Bass
* Scott Warren (DIO, HEAVEN & HELL) - Keyboards
* Simon Wright (AC/DC, DIO, OPERATION: MINDCRIME) - Drums