WENDY DIO Is In Talks With Producers To Remix DIO's 'The Last In Line'
August 12, 2022
DIO's classic debut album, 1983's "Holy Diver", was reissued last month as "Holy Diver: Super Deluxe Edition" via Rhino. The four-CD boxed set comes with two versions of "Holy Diver". The first is a new mix of the album made by Joe Barresi (TOOL, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, SLIPKNOT). He used the original analog tapes to remix all nine tracks on the album. The second is a newly remastered version of the original 1983 mix. The Super Deluxe Edition also features unreleased live performances and outtakes, along with a selection of rarities from the era.
In a recent interview with 98.9 WMMO's Joe Rock, Ronnie's wife and longtime manager Wendy Dio said that there are plans for DIO's second album, 1984's "The Last In Line" to be given the same kind of "Super Deluxe" treatment at some point in the not-too-distant future.
"Rhino has more plans to do the same thing with 'The Last In Line' — somewhere down the line; not right away, obviously," she said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "But somewhere down the line, they wanna do 'The Last In Line'. And I'm talking to other producers to do a remix of that. So we'll see what happens.
"I wanna keep things fresh and going," she explained. "And my [goal] in life is to keep Ronnie's music and his legend alive, and that's what I try to do. There's things in the vault that have been sitting there just getting dusty, and I'm thinking, 'The fans should be able to hear this stuff.' Before, I was a bit closed about it: 'Would Ronnie want this out? Would Ronnie want that out?' But I think he would."
Following the well-deserved success of "Holy Diver", Ronnie James Dio did not mess with that winning formula when he released the follow-up effort, "The Last In Line". The album is full of heavy and hard rocking songs that draw upon the fantasy lyrics for which the band is known, lots of guitar solos and, of course, Ronnie James Dio's distinctive and unique voice. The 1984 release was the first DIO album to be certified platinum. The lineup on the album is the same as that on "Holy Diver" — Dio, Vivian Campbell, Jimmy Bain, Vinny Appice, plus the addition of keyboard player Claude Schnell.
Campbell discussed the decision to remix "Holy Diver" during an appearance on the August 3 episode of SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". Asked if he has heard the new version of "Holy Diver" and what he thought about it, Vivian said: "I have not. And I find it a little bit unsettling that I ended up being talked into doing an interview a couple of months ago about it, not having heard the record. And I've gotta say I haven't heard good reports. [Laughs] That was a little weird. I just spoke to some journalist at length about this, but I haven't actually even heard the product."
He added: "I've heard that they've put out outtakes of tracks from 'Holy Diver' and solos that didn't make the cut. And I'm wondering why… There's a reason why stuff didn't make a record in the first place. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me to be putting it out there."
Appice admitted to "The Rock Is George" podcast that it was "risky" remixing "Holy Diver" nearly 40 years after the LP's original release. "When you mess with something that is a classic, you're taking a chance that, is this gonna be better or is this gonna be different?" he said. "The remastered [version of the album], I heard some of that, and that sounds pretty good. I heard a little bit of the remix… I'm almost afraid to listen to it because the sounds on there sound great — the drums sound great. And I think it might sound a little bit drier, maybe a slightly different sound to the album.
"You're used to hearing an album like 'Led Zeppelin I'," he continued. "There's a sound to that record. And the drums are recorded great on that; [Jimmy] Page's guitars and the mix — fantastic. The mix is incredible on those albums — all the ZEPPELIN albums. So when you're gonna take up that task of trying to remix something like that, that's risky. I think even Joe was nervous with touching this classic thing. And the problem with the remix, too, is when we mixed that album, there were not really any computers in the studio. There was outboard gear brought in. There was some red thing we had — I forgot what it was called — we put on the drums, an EMT thing. And that was on, and it gave the drums some ambience. And so everything was live. So when we mixed it, it was Ronnie [James Dio, vocals], Angelo [Arcuri, engineer], me or Viv [guitarist Vivian Campbell] or whoever was in the studio. We went over how we're mixing this. 'Okay, you pull those faders down a little bit when this part comes up.' 'Angelo, you put the guitar solo up.' 'Ronnie, you do the keyboard' — whatever was in there. So we mixed it like that. We didn't put it on an auto-mix and the computer remembered the mix and then you can just keep mix to that. That was the way we mixed it. So even Joe mentioned that he couldn't really get some of the… Like that EMT, they don't use it anymore. [They have] plug-ins now, but it still sounds different. So that's the way we mixed it, and now you bring it up to the new technology and things are done differently. So he had quite a task ahead of him. I mean, it sounds good, but if you're used to the other sound, it sounds a little different."
Two months ago, Wendy told Rob Rush Radio about the reasoning behind "Holy Diver: Super Deluxe Edition": "We were just — Rhino and myself — were thinking that it would be nice to re-release it with a newly remixed version. And I went through lots of different producers and thinking who would make a good job of it for Ronnie and bring it a bit more modern. So we picked Joe Barresi, who's done lots of stuff with TOOL and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE and so on. And he was quite reluctant in the beginning to do it because he said, 'Oh, I can't improve on what Ronnie did.' And I said, 'Well, it's not really to improve on it. It's just to make it a little bit different and to bring it up to today's standards.' And so he did it, and I'm very pleased. I think he did an absolutely amazing job with it. And [next month] being Ronnie's 80th birthday, we wanted to bring something out to celebrate it. So it's a two-LP set and there's a vinyl with it and lots of outtakes that nobody's ever heard of before. We went into the vault and found lots of outtakes, and Joe said, 'What about these?' And I said, 'Fine. Let's do that too.' And there's also, on the deluxe version, a show that Wyn Davis, a longtime engineer and friend of Ronnie's, he remastered that one. And so that one's coming out as well on there. It was done in 1983 on the 'Holy Diver' tour at the Selland Arena in Fresno. So he mixed it — it was a concert, a live recording, so he mixed it. And that's on there as well. It's gonna be a wonderful deluxe version and a super celebration of Ronnie's life."
Barresi's new mix of "Holy Diver" was released the same day as a two-LP set on 180-gram vinyl ($34.98). It includes the original nine tracks, plus the 1983 B-side version of "Evil Eyes" as a bonus track. Side four is decorated with an etching of the legendary demon Murry that graces the album's iconic cover. The vinyl is kept in a gatefold sleeve that shows off newly commissioned artwork by longtime DIO artist Marc Sasso. The same artwork is also used for the four-CD Super Deluxe Edition.