Dio, a heavy metal singer with an unbelievably powerful voice, died May 16 of stomach cancer. He was 67. In tours with Black Sabbath and Rainbow (his first band, Elf, may have done more to blacken the public image of elves than “Bad Santa” did), as well as his solo career, Dio was a very earnest performer who took his lyrics seriously without being a jerk about it.
This combination of pure motives and graciousness made Dio a beloved performer.
Taking things seriously in the face of such overwhelming silliness is difficult, or recognizing that something is both funny and significant simultaneously is a great skill. That is the way I feel about porn, and why Dio, who uttered lines like
No sign of the morning coming!
You’ve been left on your own
Like a rainbow in the dark!
Rock ‘n’ Roll Children
Without a friend
(But they’ve got Rock ‘n’ Roll!)
with such authority, while flashing the devil horns that he made iconic, is so special to me.
Appreciating the work of Ronnie James Dio helps effect the mind-splitting required to talk about something as an art form at the same time you are aware that the art form sometimes involves sharing semen from a champagne glass.
Dio, of course, was a goblet man.
People talk about guilty pleasures, but I don’t think any pleasure (save for kitten-tossing) should be so qualified. Loving Dio, like loving porn or Civil War reenactments or “Glee” or ham radio or fat girls, is a special kind of affection that is always aware of itself.
Farewell, Ronnie James Dio! You leave us just a little lost and never found.
(And my new real name is Joe Lynn Turner.)