Syracuse.com have reported that the legendary vocalist Ronnie James Dio is to receive a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award tonight, Thursday March 6th, from the Syracuse Area Music Hall of Fame. The award comes nearly four years after his death from stomach cancer.
Dio‘s son, Dan Padavona, will be on hand to accept the award for his late father. “I was a rock fan and a huge fan of his music, especially Elf and Rainbow,” Padavona said, referring to several of his father’s early groups. “But most of what I knew was from reading in magazines. It was very surreal.”
Dio and Padavona‘s mother split when Padavona was four years old. He is candid about his somewhat distant relationship with his father growing up. But he’s nonetheless proud of the accomplishments of his father — one of the most influential artists to ever come from Upstate New York.
“I hope it’s a way to get closer to my father in his death than I did in his life,” he said of the award. “I’m sure he’d be very happy that I’m up there with Rock (David Feinstein) and a few of his closest friends.”
Today in Cortland, there’s a street named after Dio (Dio Way). The town holds “Dio Days” concerts in his honor. A banner flies downtown with his face on it. In 2004 the rocker was inducted into the Cortland High School Hall of Fame.
But much of this recognition was long overdue, says Dio‘s son, Dan Padavona.
“When he was alive, beyond his faithful friends, not a lot of people knew much about him other than there was this guy who went off and joined Black Sabbath,” Padavona said. “If you open the Cortland Standard all they talked about was who bowled a 300 the other night. Which was very true. I never once saw a mention in the paper of the fact that an album had gone platinum or anything like that. And he was as accomplished a person to come out of Cortland artistically as anyone else.”
From a young age, Dio cultivated a reputation as a gracious, amiable man. Despite the controlled furor that fueled his driving rock, he’s often remembered as a humble, quiet guy. He was class president in high school. He always made time for his fans.
“I once watched him stand in the rain for an hour greeting fans until he’d spoken with every one,” Maryjo Spillane (Tour Manager) said. “He truly cared about them.”
In 2008, Ronnie James Dio recorded a track called “Metal Will Never Die.” Ironically, it would be his last.
Dio has passed on, but the metal lives on, thanks, in large part, to his influence. Heads continue to bang. Guitars continue to shred. Ears drums continue to throb. And wherever there’s an angry young kid looking for an escape, Dio will be there with sound advice:
“Go, my son, and rock.”