TOBIAS SAMMET Says RONNIE JAMES DIO's Singing Was 'Out Of This World'

October 24, 2022

In a new interview with Rocksverige, AVANTASIA leader and EDGUY frontman Tobias Sammet was asked which singer, alive or dead, is his absolute favorite. He responded: "That's a very difficult question. It depends on the phases I go through, but it's probably be Ronnie James Dio [BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW, DIO]. But if you ask me again in on hour, I would probably say Lou Gramm [FOREIGNER] and tomorrow morning I would say Steve Perry [JOURNEY]. It's one of those three probably, but Ronnie James Dio is out of this world."

Pressed about what it was that Ronnie had that other singers didn't, Tobias said: "Magic! Fire! [Laughs] The way he spat out those lyrics. The whole thing, the whole approach. He had a such a gritty voice with a midrange. He was singing extremely high, but it never felt like it hurt and never really sounded harsh. He had a huge range and he felt those words he was singing.

"Everybody can become a trained singer and you can see it when you see those talent shows. You see all these singers who sound like Mariah Carey in her prime and it's always amazing and they have great technique, but filling a song with character and life, that's a different thing. That's where the true quality comes out. You tell that story to the listener.

"Everybody can sound perfect these days," Sammet continued. "Especially in the studio with the technology. But doing something like Lou Gramm or Steve Perry or David Coverdale [WHITESNAKE] or Geoff Tate [QUEENSRŸCHE]… I think everybody in AVANTASIA have that quality. They don't just sing perfectly; they put soul into it. They make it three-dimensional and they make those words come alive. That's the greatest skill of a singer — to move you, to touch you and I think that is way more important than sounding like Mariah Carey with perfect pitch."

When the interviewer noted that so many of the great rock and heavy metal singers would never make it to the finals in shows like "American Idol" or "America's Got Talent", Sammet said: "Absolutely, and I agree 100%. I don't consider myself the best singer in the world, but I would never get past second round because people would say I sound weird and I have strange frequencies. Many of those singers we love, they are not those million-dollar singers. They have a story to tell and their whole life is a story.

"I was just arguing with somebody about the situation of Paul Stanley's [KISS] voice. I say that Paul Stanley's been in the trenches for 50 years and he's Paul Stanley because there's no other Paul Stanley. He's the best Paul Stanley there is and he's the only Paul Stanley there is.

"I will always prefer to hear Paul struggling with a note than having a pitch-perfect replacement without a story, without the character, without the patina of Paul Stanley. That goes for all my favorite singers. I'd rather hear Rob Halford [JUDAS PRIEST] struggle a bit and suffer a bit when singing 'Painkiller'. Halford will always be Halford. There is only one, and it's the whole appearance. The story, the magic. And the same with Ronnie James Dio. I saw him during the HEAVEN & HELL tour and you could tell that Ronnie's voice had dropped and everything was a couple of notes lower than the studio versions, but still it was Ronnie James Dio. Fucking Ronnie James Dio!

"There's a profound magic listening to the originals, and that's what I want from music. I want authenticity, I want the soul and the life and the scars and the damage and the road wear. The whole package that makes those legends who they are and that makes them come up with their interesting stories that enchant me."

Read the entire interview at Rocksverige.

AVANTASIA released its ninth album, "A Paranormal Evening With The Moonflower Society", on October 21 via Nuclear Blast. The disc is the follow-up to "Moonglow", which came out in 2019.

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