Wendy Dio and Eyellusion CEO Jeff Pezzuti Talk about Ronnie James Dio Hologram Tour

For the higher a part of a 12 months beginning in 2015, Wendy Dio, the widow of legendary rock singer Ronnie James Dio and the keeper of his legacy, and Jeff Pezzuti of know-how firm Eyellusion had been working with their respective groups to deliver the late vocalist again to life within the type of a hologram.

By every step of the method, they had been capable of view it as merely a job. They may focus on the little particulars of attempting to recreate the stage presence of Dio in an animated type and fear over their self-imposed deadlines.

However as soon as they debuted the hologram, onstage on the Wacken Open Air Pageant in northern Germany in 2016 and backed up by a dwell band that includes longtime members of Dio, their pure feelings took over.

“I cried and the report label and everyone I used to be with cried,” Wendy Dio remembers. “It was so actual. But it surely was actually a cheerful emotion as a result of it’s like Ronnie’s again once more.”

That feeling didn’t dissipate by way of the “Dio Returns” tour that ran by way of Europe in 2017, and sure will solely get stirred up once more when a brand new model of the stage present makes its U.S. debut tonight (Could 31st) in Ft. Meyers, Florida, kicking off a month of dates that wrap up in late June in Las Vegas.

The present is a stroll by way of Ronnie James Dio’s lengthy profession, pertaining to tracks from his stints fronting Rainbow and Black Sabbath, in addition to loads of materials from his band Dio. Performing alongside the hologram are three members of Dio’s band (guitarist Craig Goldy, drummer Simon Wright, and keyboardist Scott Warren) with Bjorn Englen of tribute act Dio Disciples on bass. Along with Ronnie James Dio’s recorded vocals, the live shows can even embrace dwell singing by onetime Judas Priest member Tim “Ripper” Owens and Lynch Mob singer Oni Logan.

To get a greater understanding of how this hologram undertaking got here collectively, we not too long ago spoke with Wendy Dio and Jeff Pezzuti. They advised us in regards to the hours of labor concerned in making this a actuality and the way they felt in regards to the unfavorable reactions that they obtained when this tour was introduced.


Wendy Dio: About 5 years in the past, Jeff got here to me with the concept of doing a hologram of Ronnie.

Jeff Pezzuti: It was Wendy’s workplace, 2015. I got here with this concept that I’d like to deliver Ronnie again to the stage with a dwell band. Initially, like with any loopy request, she wished to take a step again, however I confirmed her how we might do it and we began speaking an increasing number of. Earlier than we knew it, we had been engaged on our first undertaking collectively and debuting it at one of many greatest steel festivals on the earth in Germany, the Wacken [Open Air] Music Pageant, in entrance of 75,000 followers. We took it from idea to execution in below a 12 months.

WD: We took that very same one over to Europe and did a couple of reveals with that, with nice response. However, in fact, know-how has come a good distance since we began. So, this model new one, which nobody has ever seen earlier than… it’s wonderful. We’ve been capable of do an increasing number of issues. It’s a completely spectacular present.

JP: No person within the U.S. has seen any model of it, so that is the primary time that anybody within the U.S. goes to see this. So, that’s actually thrilling.


WD: The hologram present is Ronnie’s vocal taken from a number of dwell reveals that he did, collectively together with his dwell band, that are onstage taking part in dwell to his recorded tracks. It’s the Dio band that he performed with for the final 17 years of his life. We even have two visitor vocalists that come out and in with Ronnie: Tim “Ripper” Owens and Oni Logan. They’re nice. They sing along with Ronnie or they sing by themselves. It’s an incredible present with plenty of results happening. It’s one thing that I believe Ronnie can be pleased with.


WD: I used to be very, very vital. Even down to creating certain they had been getting Ronnie’s eyebrows proper. We labored on it and labored on it and labored on it. Clearly, I acquired known as all types of names from the followers. The purpose is that everybody has a proper to their very own opinion and I believe they need to see it earlier than they criticize it. The an increasing number of we developed it, the extra I believed that Ronnie would approve of this. Anybody who noticed the present in 1996 on the Sacred Coronary heart tour… we tried to create a hologram then. We did it with rear projection. We had Ronnie’s head in a crystal ball. Ronnie was actually occupied with holograms. We’d go to Disneyland and he’d love to look at the holograms and see if we might truly make one. I believe that Ronnie was an innovator in music, so why not an innovator in know-how.

JP: In the event you take a look at the historical past of music, no one has ever finished this. So, Ronnie’s formally the primary hologram performer for a dwell band. That’s nothing they might ever take away. First one ever to tour it with a dwell band. He’s all the time been on the revolutionary facet of the music world. That is simply taking it to the subsequent degree. It truly is a celebration of who he was. The present celebrates him all through his total profession and your complete catalog. Capturing each essence of who he was as a performer. Clearly, listening to that vocal, which is what all of us love, loud and clear by way of the PA with the band taking part in alongside it, it’s magical by itself. Then add within the visuals and all the pieces else… it truly is one thing. One factor we’ve come to appreciate is the Ronnie’s voice can’t be duplicated. No person appears like him.

WD: This was one thing that will likely be for the followers. We did this for the followers that by no means acquired to see Ronnie that may like to have seen him, and the followers that may like to see him again onstage once more. It’s not about cash as a result of it break the bank to do that.

JP: It’s hundreds of hours of labor to get it proper. It’s actually animators ensuring that each side of his essence and presence and stage efficiency is captured. Individuals who suppose that is a simple course of, the rationale it isn’t and the rationale that what Eyellusion is doing is so completely different than everyone else is that we take the time to do it. We do it as a result of we’re music followers first and we care in regards to the artists. We care in regards to the legacy. And we try to have fun the artists as if they might probably be again. On the finish of the day, it’s leisure in its easiest type. However on the identical time, it’s such a large present with all of the lighting and visible results. It’s all the pieces you need in a rock present.


WD: The drummer has to play with a click on monitor, and so they should be precisely on time with each bit that they play. However in fact this a really skilled band that performed with Ronnie for 17 years. They’re actually on prime of it and so they cherished Ronnie a lot. All people desires it to be an incredible present so all of them give their coronary heart into all the pieces.

JP: Because the first day, when Wendy launched them to me… it’s thrilling to know that they’ve remained engaged and excited. We’re actually anxious to debut and get this going.

WD: The 2 singers aren’t simply two singers. Ripper was Ronnie’s protégé and Ronnie wished me to handle him as a result of, as he advised me, “He can do something I can do with the best coaching.” He doesn’t sound like Ronnie and doesn’t wish to sound like Ronnie. Oni Logan is household. Ronnie’s identified him since he was a younger child. And he’s acquired a special voice than Ripper, extra of a bluesy type of voice. They mix their voices very effectively, both along with Ronnie or collectively simply the 2 of them. It’s a enjoyable, enjoyable present of celebrating Ronnie’s life and music.


WD: In no way as a result of it’s one thing new and I knew that may include lots of negativity. There’s all the time negativity. It’s all the time the identical when there’s one thing new. When the CD got here out, individuals had been, like, “I don’t find out about that.” Or when the cassette got here out. But it surely turns into the norm. The innovators of rock music are all dying off or getting older. What do we’ve to exchange it? We’d like to see all these individuals again once more. As a result of, fairly truthfully, after Metallica or Instrument, there actually isn’t any band I can consider whose music will likely be remembered and performed in 30 years.

JP: It’s true due to all the enduring artists that we’ve grown up with, it doesn’t have the identical impression with newer artists now. It’s a disgrace but it surely’s true. I believe to have the ability to cross the baton for the artists which might be retiring or now not with us is a huge impact for why we’re we even doing this. Ronnie being the enduring vocalist that may by no means get replaced. While you hear it, it makes lots of sense for why we’re even doing it, on the whole.

WD: Ronnie’s been gone 9 years and he nonetheless has 2.5 million followers on his Fb. We wish to hold his music and his legend alive. And I believe that is the way in which to proceed his legacy.


WD: If it’s what the followers need, then we’ll proceed with it. In the event that they proceed to assist it, then we we will certainly do it.


WD: I’ve truly began a documentary. I’ve been interviewing lots of completely different producers and administrators, and we’re going to get that began within the subsequent few weeks. I’ve began with BMG, who will likely be releasing lots of remastered albums of Ronnie’s with bonus tracks on every album. When Ronnie handed, I promised him that I’d hold his music alive and I’ll do all the pieces I probably can to make that occur whereas I’m alive.

Our due to Wendy Dio and Jeff Pezzuti for taking the time to talk with us. Tickets of the “Dio Returns” tour can be found right here, with dates listed beneath.

“Dio Returns” 2019 US Tour Dates:
05/31 – Ft. Myers, FL @ Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Corridor
06/01 – Orlando, FL @ The Plaza Stay
06/02 – St. Petersburg, FL @ Palladium Theatre
06/03 – Atlanta, GA @ Vinyl at Middle Stage
06/06 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
06/07 – Glenside, PA @ Keswick Theatre
06/08 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Paramount Theatre
06/09 – Huntington, NY @ The Paramount
06/11 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
06/12 – Grand Rapids, MI @ 20 Monroe Stay
06/14 – St. Charles, IL @ The Arcada Theatre
06/15 – St. Paul, MN @ Fantasy
06/16 – Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater
06/19 – Kansas Metropolis, MO @ Uptown Theater
06/20 – Oklahoma Metropolis, OK @ The Criterion
06/21 – Dallas, TX @ Bomb Manufacturing facility
06/28 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
06/29 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl

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