Thursday, October 1, 2009

Flying A Rainbow Demon with Lady Evil Across Heaven & Hell

Ronnie James Dio rocks.

I mean, for a lot o folks this is old news, but I just keep having my eyes opened wider and wider as I hear more of his music.

For whatever reason, I just never got into Dio that much as a youth. I mean, I'm an elitist snob anyway, and I got brought into the Sabbath fold through Ozzy and why would I ever give a rip about who came after the Great Beast went solo? And Holy Diver? The only song I was ever exposed to was the title track and it just never did anything for me.

But man, I am quickly seeing the error of my ways. Sure, Tenacious D sang about Dio's glory and there was the Ronnie James Dio for President campaign...but can you really take that kind of thing seriously? Can you listen with a non-judgmental ear to a guy singing about Rainbows in the Dark? What the hell does that mean anyway?

Turns out, it doesn't really have to mean anything to be great music. This is something I should have already known (there are plenty o great songs out there with lyrics that are more than a little obscure). But there is artistry in the way words are woven together anyway. Hell, I think those of us who appreciate Gygax's prose can all agree to that!

So when you give Mr. Dio a listen and just let the wall of sound kick your's pretty close to a transcendental experience. And word on the street is the guy's even better live. Not bad for guy that's over 60 years old and nicknamed "The Troll."

I know I've been converted...I've been listening to Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell, nearly non-stop the last two-three days, and it hasn't got old yet. Heck, it's pretty damn inspiring and NOT just from a musical point o view.

The other day, I wrote that there are some bands out there weird enough or conceptual enough that could be singing about RPGs or could be the inspiration for 'em (perhaps I didn't say that outright, but that's what I was thinking). Dio has got be chalked up in that category, and not just because his original band was called Elf or because he has a penchant for singing of "Dragons and Kings" (hell, I could rip off half the lines from H&H and convert them to titles of new Magic the Gathering it the Heaven & Hell deck..."whoop! Here comes my 5/5 Neon Knights!"). The music itself is just so damn menacing, while still being lyrical, rhythmic, and catchy...I don't know what it is, but it feels like old school AD&D to me. It conjures feelings (not's more tactile, less intellectual than that) that are very similar to the ones I get from my reminiscences about the"good ol' days." And I have no idea why...certainly I wasn't listening to Sabbath back then.

Though now I wish I had been!

Anyway, Kris and I were talking (we are totally on the same page with regard to Dio, though he's been a fan since the 80's, dammit!) and the Doc and I have decided we need to write a module that draws its theme and inspiration from Dio's lyrics. Right now, I'm leaning towards a B/X Companion-level module straight called Neon Knights, but maybe it will be more akin to the Children of the Sea track from the H&H album. Either way, I'm pretty excited.

Oh...and the Doc is currently drawing up the maps for our other adventure, so hopefully things will be coming together soon.
: )

Peace, folks...I'll try to write more tomorrow but the week has been crazy-busy!


  1. prepare yourself:

  2. Welcome to the fold - better late than never!

    As for Dio-based campaign settings, my WIP Dark World setting for S&W draws more than a little inspiration from "Sign of the Southern Cross" - "On a small world west of wonder..."

    Great - guess I know what CD I'm listening to on the commute home. :P

  3. I saw the title of the post at LotFP and thought "That sounds like rock-related post." I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I saw the first pic. Your post is exactly what I thought it was from the title. Nice.

  4. Heh...that's cool. Rainbow was my very first concert experience. I was 16 and had just got my driver's license. Unfortunately I had to take my 13 year old sister as well. :p Still, the concert was amazing.

    This module you speak of sounds excellent.

  5. I saw the title on my blog roll and knew exactly what the was.

    ... but Rainbow Demon is a Uriah Heep song, not Dio. :D

    And Dio songs are usually about something other than what they seem to be about.

  6. I'm always surprised at which posts get the most responses...I guess I'm not the only one for whom Dio's struck a chord.

    @ Jim...maybe they are, maybe they aren't. All I know, is I need more music like this in my life.

    @ Ragnorakk: simply awesome. Thanks!