Jimmy Kay from Canada’s The Metal Voice spoke to The Rods guitarist vocalist David ‘Rock’ Feinstein who is also the cousin of Ronnie James Dio and former band member with Ronnie in Elf.
In part two of the interview, David Feinstein tells stories about Ronnie in his musical journey in the early years, his voice and writing lyrics. Watch the interview as we commemorate 10 years of Ronnie James Dio’s passing.
Watch here Part 2
When asked if he or others were a part of Ronnie lyrics over the years
“When I hear Ronnie’s lyrics I hear things that really relate to his life and experiences that I know about. Almost every lyric and every song is that way. Ronnie was a genius when it came to words, he had an incredible mind he had a way of saying things that was totally different. Off the subject, I would go visit him and we would watch TV and we would watch reruns of family feud. I would be bored out of my mind but Ronnie loved it because the show was asking questions. It would challenge Ronnie to see if he knew the answers to these questions. I know when one of the contestants would get it wrong he would start swearing at them. Another thing was with his vocabulary, when I would go visit him, he would do crossword puzzles everyday. Ronnie would get the newspaper and it was a ritual and we didn’t do anything until the crossword puzzles were done. As the week went on the crossword puzzles got harder and harder and bigger and bigger. It was a challenge so that’s why I think his vocabulary and his way with words he was such a genius, so interested and so smart about things. ”
When asked about Ronnie’s voice, if he was a trained singer
“In recording sessions when singers are told to do it again multiple times, it wasn’t that way with Ronnie. Ronnie would go in and sing perfectly the first time. The only time he would do it another take is if he wanted to do another take and try something different. The engineer didn’t tell Ronnie when they were going to do another one, Ronnie told the Engineer. Ronnie could have been another Tom Jones or Engelbert Humperdinck, his voice was capable of singing those songs. Ronnie could have gone the crooner route, could have been a solo singer and he chose to go the Rock and Roll way. His voice was so versatile he could have gone any route he wanted.”
When asked about how the Album artwork was created on the first Elf album
“Ronnie and I did all the photographs for that album and I said one of us has to dress like an Elf. At the time photography was my hobby, so I said I am going to take the pictures and you are going to dress you up like an Elf. So we went to Syracuse Stage and bought face putty and make-up. Then we came back and made cardboard ears, a pointed nose and sprayed Ronnie’s hair with white stuff. It was a hot summer day and we went out to the country and I just took a ton of pictures. The picture for the cover was going to be there but we had another one, where we took some in the woods and I had Ronnie take all his clothes off and he was in the shadows of the woods, those were great photographs but the label never used them.
Watch here Part 1
When asked about how he was related to Ronnie James Dio
“We’re cousins, our Grandparents were sister and brother, we’re like second or third cousins.”
When asked about his relationship growing up with Ronnie and over the years
“Ronnie was five years older than me and he hung around with a different crowd of people but I looked up to him. Ronnie played trumpet when he was younger and when I turned seven years old I wanted to play trumpet too. Ronnie started a band and you know of course I wanted to start a band. I always looked up to him he was kind of like an older brother, that was what the relationship was like and for awhile, I actually Ronnie lived next to him – you know – with my parents. It’s like that in the Italian world every body’s related to everybody. ”
“Now in the last 10 years of his life Ronnie and I became very close again with him because during the days of Rainbow and and Sabbath Ronnie was on the road and constantly lived in LA. and I was living on the East coast. We might talk on the phone or something like that but there wasn’t a lot going on in terms of visiting. Now in the last 10 years of his life he would visit his parents in Cortland and I would see him. Also started to go to LA and visit him at his house. I would stay out there for a week and we talked about doing an Elf reunion album and how great it would be. We even worked on some material while I was there. Ronnie was looking forward to even playing bass on the Elf album because he was originally was the bass player and singer in the band and he thought it would be cool. We were making plans for the future while he was doing the Heaven and Hell thing. So our relationship was really close in the last 10 years and when he died it really, affected me heavily. I really felt the loss.”
When asked about him opinion on performing the Dio Hologram on stage recently
“The hologram performance was such a such a great idea because it’s kind of technology thing and Ronnie was always into .Ronnie had a brilliant mind and I think that he would have really dug the idea of this whole hologram thing.”