Dio Memorial Service: Exclusive First-Hand Report
On Sunday, May 30 a public memorial service was held in memory of Ronnie James Dio. Among those present and participating was his cousin and former Elf bandmate David ‘Rock’ Feinstein. In an exclusive report for Classic Rock, Feinstein gives us an insight into the special occasion.
I first want to say thank you to everyone who sent condolences to me. It was very much appreciated. It just goes to show you what great people Dio fans really are.
Ronnie was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. He had an incredible mind, a vivid imagination, and he certainly had a way with words. One thing I will personally miss about him was his great sense of humour. He was one of the only people that could actually make me laugh so hard that I would cry. What a great feeling that was.
Ronnie and I had a lot in common, apart from being related and the fact that we looked like a pair of bookends when we were together. But one thing we didn’t have in common was his amazing voice. He could literally sing anything, in his own style, and with his own identity. It was always perfection.
Elf were just the first step for Ronnie on his long and astonishing journey to stardom. On his way, he touched all of us with his music, his message, and his magic. I personally know that Ronnie loved all of his fans, and that he had great appreciation for their loyalty. His fans and followers were one of the most important things in the world to him.
After attending two private memorial ceremonies on Friday and Saturday (May 28/29) it was amazing for me to be a part of the public memorial on Sunday, May 30, and to see how the fans showed their respect for the man that they loved.
The ceremony lasted about three-and-a-half hours, including live performances by Oni Logan, Claude Schnell, Scott Warren, Rudy Sarzo, Joe Retta, John Payne, Joey Belladonna, Paul Shortino, Geoff Tate, and Glenn Hughes, just to mention a few.
There was live video footage, and still photos on huge video screens of Elf, Rainbow, Dio, Black Sabbath and Heaven & Hell, along with miscellaneous photos of crew, and family members.
New York radio DJ Ed Trunk co-ordinated, and MC’d the whole presentation, and did an excellent job. There were many speakers including myself, Ronnie’s son Dan Padavona, Harold Hyde and ‘Nest’ ( Ronnie’s childhood friends), booking agent Neil Warnock, Craig Goldy, Simon Wright, Scott Warren, Lois Lee (Children Of The Night Foundation), Dr Kapoor, who treated Ronnie for cancer, and Adam Scott. There were also video tributes from Motorhead, The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan and others.
There were segments on Hear ’N Aid, and the introduction of the new cancer fund that is being started in Ronnie’s name called Stand Up And Shout.
The memorial took place at the 1,200-seat Federal Auditorium at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, California. The auditorium was filled to capacity with family, and close friends. Outside, there were an estimated 5000 additional fans from all parts of the globe, who were able to watch the whole ceremony on massive video screens outside.
When the ceremony ended, Wendy Dio took the stage, and thanked everyone for touching Ronnie’s life, and everyone inside was able to make their way to Ronnie’s casket to say their last good-byes. After that, all the fans that were outside were allowed to enter the auditorium forming a line so that each and every person was able to go to the casket and pay their respects. It was truly an emotional memorial to the real Man On The Silver Mountain.
So now even though we can’t see him, or touch him anymore, his vision will remain in our hearts and in our minds, and he will continue to inspire us all.
Ronnie has left us with a wealth of his music and his words. Listen to his music, listen to his words, and feel the magic. This was his life.
It has been an honour, and a privilege for me to have been able to be a part of it.
– David ‘Rock’ Feinstein
* You can now make a donation of $35 to the Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund. In exchange you’ll get a package that includes a special memorial T-shirt, booklet and badge.
You can pay via Paypal at www.ronniejamesdio.com, or send a money order to: The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund, 12400 Ventura Blbd. #837, Studio City, CA 91604 USA. You should also include the shipping cost, which is $10.50 for the USA, Canada and Mexico and $15 for the rest of the world. Also state what size T-shirt you want. They’re available in medium, large, extra large, 2XL and 3XL.
Tags: Billy Corgan, Black Sabbath, Claude Schnell, Craig Goldy, Dan Padavona, David 'Rock' Feinstein, Dio, Ed Trunk, Geoff Tate, Glenn Hughes, Heaven & Hell, Joe Retta, Joey belladonna, John Payne, Motorhead, Oni Logan, Paul Shortino, Rainbow, Ronnie James Dio, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren, Simon Wright, Stand Up And Shout, Wendy Dio