RUDY SARZO Talks DIO - "If Ronnie Was Still Alive, That’s What I Would Be Doing... I Was His Last Bass Player"

April 2, 2024, 3 weeks ago

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RUDY SARZO Talks DIO - "If Ronnie Was Still Alive, That’s What I Would Be Doing... I Was His Last Bass Player"

Bassist Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Dio) is featured in a new interview with Metal-Rules' Marko Syrjala, in which he discusses his amazing career and future plans. In the following excerpt, Sarzo talks about his time with late metal legend, Ronnie James Dio.

Metal-Rules: One period in your career that cannot be overlooked is, of course, your time with Ronnie James Dio. How would you briefly describe that period in your life?

Rudy Sarzo: "You know, if Ronnie was still alive, I would be - that’s what I would be doing. I was his last bass player, and when I played with Ronnie, of course, I did not know that he was going to pass away. Nobody had any idea. Just one day, he and Wendy Dio walked in, and Wendy was saying that Ronnie was ill. As a matter of fact, we were rehearsing on November 16th; that’s when he did not show up to the rehearsal. He went over to the doctor, and they told him that he must see an oncologist right away. We were supposed - we were leaving the following day to come to the UK and start the tour and do the usual Christmas tour in Scandinavia. And it did not happen. Then, six months later, he passed away on May 16th."

Metal-Rules: You spent like five years with the band, right?

Sarzo: "I was there from 2004 until he passed away. We last played together in 2009."

Metal-Rules: You were in the band for a long time, but you never got to play on any Dio studio album because Ronnie was so busy with Heaven & Hell at the time. It must have been a bit frustrating for you.

Sarzo: "Yeah. We only did one song ‘Electra’, but we were working on Magica II & III. As a matter of fact, we were working on Magica II & III before he joined Heaven and Hell. And then the music that Ronnie had written for Dio, he showed it to Tony Iommi, and then they used it."

Metal-Rules: It must have been interesting for you to play in Ronnie’s band, considering your extensive history of playing with Ozzy Osbourne as well. At one point, the two of them were each other’s biggest adversaries due to the old Black Sabbath stuff; at least, that’s how the matter was often portrayed in the media. Did Ronnie ever talk with you about Black Sabbath or Ozzy?

Sarzo: "Yes. I once asked Ronnie, ‘Who’s the King of Rock and Roll? Look, who did you write that song for?’ He said, “Well, it’s Ozzy.” So that’s the ultimate compliment. I mean, for your rival [laughter], no, Ronnie, he never saw Ozzy as a rival. He’s so unique in what he does. There are two Black Sabbaths, the Ozzy version and the Ronnie version of the band. I enjoyed them both. But the only records I bought were the Ronnie versions of the band because there were more interesting songs."


The Lou Bredlow Pavilion at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills, CA is the new site of this year’s Rock For Ronnie Concert in the Park fund-raising event, benefiting the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund. Set for Sunday afternoon, May 19, 11AM to 6PM, the cancer charity is designating this year’s event as a “Year of the Dragon” Celebration, a symbol closely associated with the late singer who succumbed to gastric cancer in 2010.

Although the concert will be open to the public, a limited number of VIP seats in front of the stage are on sale now for $60 each here, and will only be available in advance. The advance VIP tickets will also include access to the VIP bar for attendees who are over 21.

To make full use of the abundant space afforded by this new location, the family-oriented event will be open to all, with on site donations to the 501c3 charity welcomed. To RSVP and make a donation, visit

Radio and television personality Eddie Trunk, who is heard on SiriusXM’s 103 Faction Talk channel, will once again host. Headlining the Rock For Ronnie event will be heavy metal veterans Quiet Riot. Also on the bill will be rocker Lita Ford, Dio Disciples, southern rock band Jason Charles Miller and a surprise-filled jam by Eddie Trunk’s All-Star Band, which in the past has included noted musicians such as Doug Aldrich, Steven Adler, Chris Broderick, Phil Demmel, Dave Grohl, Adrian Vandenberg, Ricky Warwick, Jesse Hughes and Brian Tichy, among many others.

“This is the ‘Year of the Dragon,’ which only comes around every 12 years, and anyone who knew Ronnie knows how much he loved dragons,” explains Dio Cancer Fund founder Wendy Dio. “Because of our wonderful sponsors and supporters, we are able to open up this year’s event at this wonderful, new event location to everyone who wants to attend, while also offering a limited number of VIP seats for purchase in advance. It is our hope that this ‘Year of the Dragon’ special event will be supported by donations that will further our charity’s initiatives in cancer education and research for a cure for this terrible disease that has taken so many of our loved ones.” 

There will be ample opportunities to support to the Dio Cancer Fund at the Rock For Ronnie via a silent auction and raffle, beverage, food and merchandise sales, artist meet and greets, a specially-created Garden of Hope and, of course, direct contributions on site. There will also be food trucks and assorted vendor booths selling unusual crafts and other items to round out an afternoon of live music and fun for the entire family and open to everyone.

Ronnie James Dio, who lost his life to gastric cancer in 2010, is the subject of the acclaimed documentary film Dio: Dreamers Never Die, which is streaming on Showtime and on the Showtime app here. It is also available on DVD and Blu-Ray+4K and can be ordered here.

The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund was founded in memory of the late singer. A privately funded 501(c)(3) public charity, the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund has already raised over $2 million since its inception. Monies raised have been committed to the cancer research work of the T. J. Martell Foundation for Cancer, AIDS and Leukemia Research, the gastric cancer research unit of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where Ronnie was treated for gastric cancer during the last six months of his life, and other cancer research projects. Since 2016, the Dio Cancer Fund has committed funds to support the research of Dr. David Wong and his team at the UCLA School of Dentistry in developing a simple, non-invasive saliva test for the early detection of cancer.  

100% of the net proceeds from the Rock For Ronnie will go to the Dio Cancer Fund, which is now in its 14th year of raising awareness and much-needed funding for cancer prevention, education and research for a cure. The organization also hosts the annual Bowl for Ronnie Celebrity Bowling Party, which will be held on November 14.

(Rudy Sarzo photo - Julie Bergonz)

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