New Music, Memoirs Planned for Ronnie James Dio

The late metal singer's wife to launch a new Dio-centered label in November

September 8, 2010 3:16 PM ET

When Ronnie James Dio  passed away from stomach cancer in May, he was in the midst of launching a record label with his wife and manager, Wendy Dio. The future of the company — which they planned to call Niji Entertainment Group, and would use to release recordings by Dio and other artists — was thrown into doubt. But Wendy Dio now tells Rolling Stone that she will launch the label herself, with several releases scheduled for November. Meanwhile, she has been shopping Ronnie's memoirs with an agent.

The Devil You Know: See Ronnie James Dio's life in photos

Niji will get rolling on November 9th, when they release the double-disc set Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 and 1987, which collects two vintage performances by Dio's solo group. The '83 performance, Wendy explains, "was the first appearance in the UK of the Dio band — it's very energetic." Four years later, the band came with a different lineup and "a lot more songs under their belt." The first disc represents "a new, young band coming out of the box," says Wendy, "and then the [second disc] is a more seasoned band."

As for the memoirs, Dio completed most of the book before he died. "I'm just going to finish the end parts of it," Wendy explains. "It's actually [intended as] a three-book deal — the memoirs of Ronnie, a book of illustrated lyrics, and a photo book."

Niji plans two other releases this year, both on November 23rd: A reissue of Holy Diver , Dio's 1983 solo debut, on 180 gram vinyl; and Bitten by the Beast, an album by Ronnie's cousin, David "Rock" Feinstein. Feinstein played with Dio in Elf, and also in a band called the Rods. "Ronnie recorded two songs with him last year," Wendy says. "One of the songs is called 'Metal Will Never Die,' and will be featured on that CD."

Wendy also turned up a few more tracks recorded after "Metal Will Never Die." These were intended for parts two and three of the Magica series, which Dio launched in 2000. " He wrote one song, called 'Electra,' which we put on the Tournado box set, which was just 1,500 copies," Wendy says. "Then he'd written two or three more songs. They will be released."

In 2011 the label will release a mammoth 16-album vinyl-or-CD box set, For the Record: The Complete Dio Vinyl Collection, plus The Complete Bootleg Box . ("There are a lot of [performances] from strange places," Wendy says of the Bootleg Box . "It will span over all the years that we have"). Also forthcoming: Elf vinyl reissues, and a DVD release of the import VHS video, Super Rock Japan 1985.

Tracklist for Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 and 1987

CD 1: 1983

1. Stand Up and Shout

2. Straight Through the Heart

3. Children of the Sea

4. Rainbow in the Dark

5. Holy Diver

6. Drum Solo

7. Stargazer

8. Guitar Solo

9.  Heaven and Hell

10. Man on the Silver Mountain

11. Starstruck

12. Man on the Silver Mountain (Reprise)

CD 2: 1987

1. Dream Evil

2. Neon Knights

3. Naked in the Rain

4. Rock and Roll Children

5. Long Live Rock n’ Roll

6. The Last in Line

7. Children of the Sea

8. Holy Diver

9. Heaven and Hell

10. Man on the Silver Mountain

11. All the Fools Sailed Away

12. The Last in Line (Reprise)

13. Rainbow in the Dark

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