Archive for Heaven & Hell

RJD Cancer Fund & Elephant Art Project

Stand Up & Shout Cancer Fund

RONNIE JAMES DIO STAND UP & SHOUT CANCER FUND TEAMS WITH
ASIAN ELEPHANT ART PROJECT TO RAISE FUNDS AND AWARENESS


The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up & Shout Cancer Fund has teamed with The Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project (AEACP) to create one-of-a-kind guitars painted by the project’s elephants in Thailand to raise money and awareness for both organizations. Wendy Dio, president and founder of Stand Up & Shout, board chair Gloria Butler and medical director Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, along with legendary Black Sabbath/Heaven and Hell bassist Geezer Butler and world-renowned photographer Mark Weiss, are currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand, home to the AEACP, where the guitars are being painted.

The talented elephants of the Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project, whose paintings are now exhibited and sold in museums and galleries around the world and have been featured in National Geographic, are painting guitars graciously donated by The ESP Guitar Company. These painted guitars will be auctioned off with half of the proceeds going to AEACP and the other half going to SUAS.

The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund is a privately funded nonprofit organization dedicated to cancer prevention, research and education. It was founded in memory of the late singer who died in 2010. The organization is collecting additional guitars donated by celebrated musicians for a larger fund-raising auction later this year.

The AEACP is dedicated to saving the diminishing number of Asian Elephants and to raise public awareness of the plight of Asian Elephants. National Thai Elephant Day annually celebrates the importance of elephants a part of Thai culture and as part of their environment. Currently, there are between 3,000 and 4,000 elephants living in Thailand, half of which are domesticated.


From left: Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, Geezer Butler, Wendy Dio, and Gloria Butler
of the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up & Shout Cancer Fund in Chiang Mai, Thailand (Photo by Mark Weiss)

For additional information on the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, please visit: http://www.ronniejamesdio.com/

For more information on the Elephant Art & Conservation Project, please visit: http://www.elephantart.com

Noisecreep Interview

December 14, 2010 7 Comments » Heaven & Hell

Geezer Butler Recounts Final Days with Ronnie James Dio


The last official video release from Heaven & Hell to feature the late legendary vocalist Ronnie James Dio — ‘Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell Live in Europe’ — debuted at number six on the Billboard Top Music Videos chart Nov. 23. Not bad for a recording that was never intended for worldwide release. “We didn’t go in there filming it as an idea to put it out as a DVD,” bassist Geezer Butler told Noisecreep. “It was just an afterthought when Ronnie got ill. It was the last thing ever filmed of us together.”

The disc, which is also available on CD, was recorded at the Wacken Open Air festival on July 30, 2009. The DVD features 13 songs from the four studio albums Dio recorded with guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Butler — Black Sabbath‘s 1980 album ‘Heaven and Hell,’ 1981’s ‘Mob Rules,’ 1992’s ‘Dehumanizer’ and 2009’s Heaven & Hell album ‘The Devil You Know.’

The DVD also includes bonus video interviews with all four members of Heaven & Hell, filmed before Dio’s condition became critical. He died of stomach cancer May 16, less than six months after announcing he had been diagnosed with the ailment.

During our interview, Butler talked about the new DVD, his final days with Dio and the tribute show Heaven & Hell performed with guest vocalists to benefit cancer research and treatment. He also discussed how surprised he was by Dio’s death, how he’s only just gotten the motivation to start making music again and the probability of another Black Sabbath tour and album with Ozzy Osbourne.

Geezer, what do you remember from the show you filmed for the ‘Neon Nights’ DVD?

The show was filmed in Germany at the Wacken Festival. It’s the biggest metal festival in Europe. I remember how cold and rainy it was and that’s why I’m wearing an overcoat. The show wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. We didn’t come out of it going, “Wow, fantastic show that was.” It was just a normal night to us. But I think we were probably more relaxed during it because we didn’t know it was ever going to come out as a film since we didn’t actually film it. Every year the promoter that runs the Wacken Festival films the whole thing anyway, and they make a compilation DVD because it’s so big in Europe. So they had the footage.

Who decided that it would be a fitting tribute to Ronnie?

Wendy Dio decided to put it out as a DVD, and that was around this time last year, right before Christmas. We were going to do a tour in Europe, so at first the plan was to get it ready for a European-only release to promote the tour we were going to do this past summer in Europe, which of course was canceled because of Ronnie. Then, of course, Ronnie passed away and it ended up being the last thing we’ll ever put out with him.

The show was filmed on July 30. How long after that did Ronnie become ill?

He started really going downhill in September, towards the end of the US part of the tour. The US tour was supposed to have two parts. We did the first four weeks, then Tony had something happen to his hand and he had to have an operation immediately. So we had to postpone the second part of the tour so Tony could have his hand looked at. And Ronnie’s stomach problems got worse and worse. He was going to do a Dio tour in Europe and he was rehearsing for that, but his stomach kept getting worse. Then he went to the doctor and the doctor didn’t say anything about it at first. He just gave him some constipation medicine and said he was severely constipated. And then he went to a specialist and they told him it was stomach cancer.

Had Ronnie been exhibiting signs of stomach cancer?

He’d been having stomach aches, but everyone gets flu or food poisoning when you’re on tour. You’re in front of 10,000 people, and 2,000 might have the flu. There are all these germs around, so you always get something when you’re on tour. And Ronnie was getting these stomach pains. One night he’d be alright and the next night he’d be doubled up in pain. The last week of the American tour he was in agony. I’ll always remember he came out for the very last gig and we said, “Look Ronnie, if you’re that ill we’ll just blow the gig.” And he said, “No, I’m not gonna blow the gig.” And he was literally doubled up in pain.

And he just made himself go on. He totally refused to cancel the show. So he went on and we thought, “Oh, God, what’s gonna happen?” None of us ever thought cancer, we just thought it was a severe stomach bug. And then at this time last year, just after Halloween he went in and got the report it was cancer. It was just one of those things you don’t expect to happen.

In August you played a final Heaven & Hell show as a benefit for Ronnie with vocalists Glenn Hughes and Jorn Lande. Was that a bittersweet experience?

It was really weird doing Heaven & Hell stuff without Ronnie being there. It was really strange. It was sort of great in one way and then really sad in another way. So yeah, it really was bittersweet. It was supposed to be an original Heaven & Hell gig. And the promoter said, “If you do it as a tribute to Ronnie, I’ll pay the same amount of money into the Dio charity.” That made sense to us. And if it makes [people] more aware of cancer and encourages them to get checked out and stuff, it was for a good cause. It’s one of those things you feel strange talking about.

After Ronnie died, did it take away some of your zeal for music. Did everything remind you of him?

You just realize that if it can happen to him it can happen to you any day. It hasn’t really changed me. It can’t change you because you still have to live your own life and carry on as before as much as you can. But it did take a while to get back into the music again. I didn’t even go into [my] home studio. I started writing again about three months ago. I didn’t want to hear anything before that. I didn’t even really want to watch this DVD. It was just too close. I’m just gradually getting back into it and hope something will come out of it.

There have been reports about another Black Sabbath tour with Ozzy Osbourne. Is that going to happen in 2011?

I have no idea what’s happening with that. It’s not going to happen next year. Ozzy’s on tour with his own band for the next year or whatever. The idea of doing another Sabbath tour always comes up. It’s just something that’s always talked about and there if we want to do it. It’s sort of really early days, though. I’m sure Ozzy will say yes and no every week for the next year while he’s on tour. It’s one thing to want to do something like that just before you go out to tour a record. You say, “Oh yeah, I’m gonna tour for the next five years.” And then six weeks into it, you can’t wait to get home. So we’ll just see how he feels when he finishes his Ozzy Osbourne tour.

You said you’ve started writing. Is that for a solo album?

I’ve been slowly writing stuff that could be the next GZR album. I’ll just see how it turns out. I have about 20 ideas down at the moment. So I’m looking at probably starting recording it seriously in January or February.

How do you think the album will differ from ‘Ohmwork,’ which you put out in 2005?

It’s hard to say. It started off really bluesy and now it’s lost the bluesiness and gone ultra heavy and very dark again.

Who will you be playing with?

It’ll probably be guitarist Pedro House and drummer Chad Smith from St. Louis and probably Clark Brown singing again. But I’ll probably have some guest vocals on there as well. I don’t know who they’re gonna be yet, though.

Will there be any posthumous Heaven & Hell releases featuring Ronnie?

No. There is no more stuff. That’s it. We’ve never had leftover material ever. That’s how we got back together when they wanted to put out [a greatest hits record of Black Sabbath’s] Dio years. They wanted some extra tracks to put on it, and we didn’t have any because whatever we do we put out. That’s why we got together to do the three extra tracks on the compilation. And it went so well, we went from there and toured and did another album. We were having a great time. We never imagined that we wouldn’t have the chance to do more.

Live from Radio City Music Hall Sale

December 3, 2010 No Comments » Heaven & Hell

On Saturday only, you can buy the deluxe edition of the Heaven & Hell 2007 release, “Live at Radio City Music Hall”.  This is the big box release, not just the CD or DVD.   The one with additional goodies, such as more than booklet, some special photographs, a replica ticket, and a replica back stage pass.  If you’d like to read a full review of the package, you can do so over at Black Sabbath Online here.

Anyway, for Saturday only, there’s a special price.  The regular price of the box is $66.66, but for Saturday Decemer 4th only, you can buy it for $39.99 (40% off).   If you’ve never picked this package up before, now is the time.

You can order it here – the price will drop automatically after midnight (Pacific Time) on Friday night.  Don’t miss this sale.

Vote for Heaven & Hell

November 16, 2010 1 Comment » Heaven & Hell

The Heaven & Hell ‘Neon Nights’ DVD has been nominated in the Best Rock DVD category.  If you want to help Geezer and the lads out, head over here and vote.

Order Heaven & Hell Neon Nights

November 6, 2010 No Comments » Heaven & Hell

November 16th brings the release of “Neon Nights: 30 years of Heaven & Hell”, a CD & DVD recording of Heaven & Hell’s July 30th 2009 appearance in the Wacken festival in Germany.  It was the final tour that Ronnie James Dio ever did with anyone, so you won’t want to miss this.  Below are some pre-order links for you to buy the album from.

USA/North America:

DVD: Amazon.com
CD: Amazon.com

UK/Europe:

DVD:  Play.com or hmv
CD: Play.com or hmv

There are further details on what specifically is on the CD and DVD’s on this link here on Geezer’s site.

If that’s not enough, check out the Eagle Rock E-Card for the release.  It includes sound sound samples, and has a really nice presentation.  Check it out here:  http://www.eaglerockent.com/ecards/HeavenAndHell/index.htm!

Finally, check out this video clip from “Children of the Sea” from the concert DVD:

Geezer on Metal Show Tomorrow

October 15, 2010 2 Comments » Heaven & Hell

Don’t forget, in the US tomorrow night, Saturday the 16th Geezer Butler makes an appearance on VH1 Classic’s show, “That Metal Show”.

Also appearing with Geezer is Vinny Appice of Black Sabbath/Heaven and Hell, and many other guests for their “Dio Tribute” show.

It airs at 11PM Eastern Time in the states.  It reruns frequently, so if you can’t catch the first showing, check your local listings for repeats.

That Metal Show Pictures

October 8, 2010 3 Comments » Heaven & Hell

Geezer was recently at VH1 headquarters to record a special episode of “That Metal Show” with Vinny Appice (and others).  It is a special episode of the series that is dedicated to the memory of Geezer’s friend, Ronald.  Tune in for the special Dio tribute episode on VH1 Classic on Saturday, October 16th.   Here’s a couple of pictures from that day.  For more GZR pictures (including larger versions), visit our pictures area.

Heaven & Hell Nomiated for UK Festival Award

October 5, 2010 1 Comment » Heaven & Hell

Heaven and Hell have been nominated for the Critics Choice Award for their High Voltage Tribute show for Ronnie James Dio in July this year. The UK Festival Award winners are decided purely by the public, final nominations are announced on October 6th and voting will continue until October 27th.

To place your vote, please visit: http://uk.festivalawards.com

Heaven & Hell 30th Anniv CD/DVD

September 29, 2010 No Comments » Heaven & Hell

On Thursday July 30th 2009 Heaven & Hell took to the stage at the famous Wacken Festival in Germany as part of the tour in support of their album “The Devil You Know”, released earlier in the year. Although nobody knew at the time, it was to be Ronnie James Dio’s last professionally filmed concert appearance before his death in May 2010 from stomach cancer. Heaven & Hell were on fantastic form and played a set blending tracks from the newly released album with classics from their Black Sabbath days. This is a truly fitting tribute to one of the legendary voices of rock.

HEAVEN & HELL IS: Ronnie James Dio: Vocals • Tony Iommi: Guitar • Geezer Butler: Bass • Vinny Appice: Drums

Heaven & Hell, the Ronnie James Dio-led version of Black Sabbath, made a triumphant return to the stage 2007, which garnered them the Reunion of the Year Award from Classic Rock magazine. In 2009, Heaven & Hell hit the stage at the internationally acclaimed Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany and ripped through a set of classics including “Mob Rules”, “Heaven and Hell”, “Die Young” and “Neon Nights”. A DVD of this show will be released on November 16, 2010.

DVD BONUS FEATURES:
30th Anniversary Interviews: Interviews with all four band members reflecting on 30 years from the release of Black Sabbath’s “Heaven And Hell” album. Ronnie James Dio
Tributes: Newly recorded personal tributes from Tony Iommi, Vinnie Appice and Geezer Butler in memory of their friend and colleague.

CD/DVD Track Listing:

  • E5150 (DVD only)
  • Mob Rules
  • Children of the Sea
  • I
  • Bible Black
  • Time Machine
  • Fear
  • Falling Off the Edge of the World
  • Follow the Tears
  • Die Young
  • Heaven & Hell
  • Country Girl (DVD only)
  • Neon Knights

The packages can be pre-ordered now via the following links: [ Amazon.com CD | Amazon.com DVD ]

Geezer speaks on Dio Tribute

This is an interview with Geezer for noisecreep regarding the Dio tribute concert that just happened on July 24th.  It originally appeared online here.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Heaven & Hell bassist Geezer Butler has mixed feelings about the band’s July 24 performance at the High Voltage Festival. On the one hand, he looked forward to paying a proper tribute to band’s late vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who died from stomach cancer on May 16. However, he’s aware that performing the songs while other vocalists are behind the microphone re-emphasizes the singer’s absence.

“I think it will be exciting and a bit sad at the same time,” Butler told Noisecreep. “He was a one-off great person — utterly irreplaceable. He was a great guy to know, a great friend to me and it was just fantastic working with him.”

For the High Voltage Festival concert in London’s Victoria Park, Heaven & Hell were joined by ex-Black Sabbath vocalist Glenn Hughes (ex-Deep Purple) and Masterplan vocalist Jorn Lande, who released released a tribute to Dio, which features songs by Rainbow, Dio and Black Sabbath.

Before Dio became critically ill with stomach cancer, Heaven & Hell had booked shows in Europe with Metallica throughout August. “Six weeks before we were supposed to start rehearsals, Ronnie got really, really bad and we had to cancel the tour,” Butler said. “The medical treatment seemed to be working and we all thought he was getting better. It was totally unexpected [when his health failed].”

After Dio died on May 16, the band’s European promoter suggested Heaven & Hell play the High Voltage festival show as a tribute to their fallen frontman. “He’s going to donate all the money to Ronnie’s cancer fund, [Stand Up and Shout],” Butler said. “So we said, “Yeah, as long as all the money goes to Ronnie’s charity we’ll do it.”

Butler performed on and off with Dio since the 1980 Black Sabbath comeback album ‘Heaven and Hell,’ the group’s first recording after Ozzy Osbourne was fired from the band. While Sabbath’s career with Dio started and ended with a band, the singer and his bandmates also experienced some major turbulence. While 1980’s ‘Heaven and Hell’ album was a big success, tensions developed during the making of the follow-up, 1981’s ‘Mob Rules,’ and after the December 1982 release of the concert album ‘Live Evil,’ Dio left Black Sabbath and formed his own band, Dio.

He returned to Black Sabbath a decade later to write and record the 1992 album ‘Dehumanizer,’ but at the end of a tour for the record, Black Sabbath agreed to open for Ozzy Osbourne in Costa Mesa, Calif. during what they thought would be Osbourne’s farewell tour, and have Ozzy join Black Sabbath on stage. Dio, who strongly disapproved of the idea, quit the band and returned to his solo career.

Then, in 2006, Rhino Records asked Butler, Dio and Iommi if there were any outtakes they could use for a compilation album ‘Black Sabbath: The Dio Years.’ Since there was nothing in storage, the members decided to get back together to write three new songs on the album. The sessions went so well that the members decided to tour as Heaven & Hell and play material from their three albums along with the new songs.

They released the live CD and DVD ‘Live From Radio City’ in 2007, then toured with Judas Priest, Motörhead and Testament on the Metal Masters Tour. Other tours followed before the members of Heaven & Hell decided to return to the studio and record their third full album together, ‘The Devil You Know,’ which came out in 2009. The album and the tour that followed were tremendously successful, which, in retrospect, provided closure to the band, which went out on one of Dio’s legendary high notes.

“It was almost as if fate had a hand in it,” Butler told Noisecreep. He sniffed and paused to recompose himself then concluded, “Well, he’s at peace now, anyway.”