To celebrate one of rock’s most powerful voices the “Ronnie James Dio: This is Your Life” tribute album is being released and garners an all-star group of Ronnie’s friends and fans performing 13 of their favorite tracks from various era’s of Ronnie’s career. Slipknot/Stone Sour vocalist Corey Taylor is one of those friends/fans who appear on the record and Media Mikes was fortunate enough to talk with Corey recently about his involvement in the project and about some of his fondest Dio memories.
Adam Lawton: What was your first exposure to Dio?
Corey Taylor: I got in to Dio when I was still quite young. I remember seeing the video for “Rainbow in the Dark” on MTV. That was my first taste of Dio. It wasn’t until years later that I realized he had this whole career with Rainbow and Black Sabbath and even going back to Elf. When I saw that video it instantly became one of my favorite songs. There was just so much power and clarity in Ronnie’s voice. It was like he could sing anything. When I went back years later and really explored his catalog I found his voice to be just so vibrant and he really became one of my favorite singers.
AL: Did yours and Ronnie’s paths ever cross?
CT: They did. I actually met and got to spend time with him shortly before he passed away. We met at the Golden God Awards as we were both up for best vocalist. I never really root for myself at these things so I was rooting for Ronnie like crazy. I wanted to him to win really badly and he did. I was back stage doing an interview and Ronnie walked up so we in a sense hijacked him in to this interview. Ronnie was everything I wanted him to be. He was just so cool and gracious. Even at the end he was fighting. It was really awesome to feel that from him. There was a mutual respect that he didn’t have to put out there. I told him I was a big fan and he replied “Like Wise”. That lit me up like the fourth of July. It was very cool. I had seen him perform live a handful of times but to get to meet him like that meant the world to me. I was just crushed when he passed.
AL: How did you get involved with being a part of the tribute album?
CT: I was asked though Jay Ruston who was the overall project director on this album. He and I have worked together in the past and are good friends. I was actually at his place writing when he mentioned his involvement with the project and that Ronnie’s wife Wendy wanted me to be involved. I was instantly in! I didn’t really want to go through the channels of selling either band on it so I decided I would put together a band full of my friends. Once I got the ok to do that I made sure I had enough time to work on the project and that we were doing this in the right spirit. Being a huge fan of Ronnie and of his music I wanted to make sure I paid proper tribute to him.
AL: How did the song selection for the album play out?
CT: That was all my call basically. (Laughs) I looked on the call sheet to see if it was still available and it was. From then on it was mine and I had a real vision for the song. The guys I chose to play with were all obviously my friends but they are great players as well. I had to step up my game vocally.
AL: After the initial recording of the track were you involved in any of the post production?
CT: Really just for balance. Jay has such a great ear especially when it comes to rock and metal music. That’s the reason I used him on “House of Gold and Bones”. Whether he’s working with Steel Panther or Anthrax his stuff is always great. I knew with Jay I was in good hands and that he would do his thing. When I mentioned trying something he knew right away what I was talking about. Jay works with bands he is a fan of so when that happens a natural energy happens and that really shows in the finished product. We were very lucky to have Jay involved.
AL: What do you feel is the biggest factor in Ronnie’s ongoing appeal?
CT: I think it’s a lot of different things. He was so good at fitting in with ever who he was playing with. He had his own style but I think he was able to elevate the music to another level. Ronnie’s material has a natural life to it which is something a lot of music from that same time period is missing. Not to say that some of those bands aren’t great but Ronnie had this consistency to take things to that next level and put it over. I think that’s why people keep coming back and rediscovering Ronnie’s work. I don’t think we will ever see an end to his legacy.
AL: Can you give us any updates related to the new Slipknot album?
CT: All I can say is that Slipknot is working on an album. I will be doing a couple one off shows with Stone Sour this summer but after those are done it will be pretty much all go and no quite with Slipknot.