Sharing the stage and performing with legendary frontman Ronnie James Dio was truly one of the high points of my career in Rock. Having already been a member of the "Niji Family" for a short while as a member of BURN, who were under their management roster, and then, directly afterward, in the studio recording an album and performing with Arizona’s Surgical Steel, saw me as one of the last rock musicians in Hollywood who was unavailable for the Hear ‘n Aid recording sessions. When Dio took the stage at Irvine Meadows, CA during their Sacred Heart Tour, I was one of several other local rock musicians hanging out backstage, who were asked to come onstage for an impromptu rendition of ‘We’re Stars’, the theme song of the Hear ‘n Aid sessions. Wendy Dio and members of the road crew were scurrying around grabbing anyone who was in a band from the backstage area and herded us all through the backstage labyrinth of the ‘castle’ stage set. I was led around through and came out of the castle doorway on Jimmy Bain’s side just under keyboardist and friend Claude Schnell, who shouted down to me and waved. I found myself grouped with several members of Poison and London sharing Jimmy Bain’s mike. The crowd went wild. As we shuffled around the mike to sing our parts, Ronnie, renowned for his kindness to others, was kind enough to have gathered up close to me and shared his microphone- the one with the best mix on it- and he thrust his mike in my face and shouted ‘SING!” I could hear my voice loud and clear on the chorus and shocked, in the cacophony of sound that I was dead-on in key! It was a magic moment I will never forget. 

The very next weekend, Ronnie showed up at the Rough Cutt show at the Reseda CA venue The Country Club, and again, NIJI Management repeated the same opportunity, and having found myself at that show as well, was asked again to join Ronnie onstage and we again were herded from the VIP guest area backstage and repeated the performance of ‘We’re Stars’, finding Ronnie again, making eye contact with me and once again pulling me closer to him and he, pushing his mike to me and encouraging me to ‘SING!”. It was a genuine privilege and an honor to have Ronnie think so kindly enough of me, to have me participate with him and all the others there, during these rare moments in Rock History and my life, I will never forget it. Although I never had the opportunity to just sit down with the man and chat about our common interests, we were kindred spirits in our taste for all things medieval. And as a kindred soul, my only regret is never having had the opportunity to actually be a member of Ronnie’s band. I have tried my best to follow in Ronnie’s footsteps and have been complimented by many as a Graduate of the ‘Ronnie James Dio School of how to treat your fans.’ Shocked at Ronnie’s passing, and not wanting to miss his Memorial Service for all the world, again, I (and my wife) found ourselves saying farewell with our common friends of Ronnie’s life, to one of the most important souls in Rock History. 

Thank you for this opportunity to share my memory of Ronnie with the world. Rest in Peace my Mentor.

--Rik Fox, Bassist of WASP, Steeler, SIN, BURN, Surgical Steel

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