Heaven and Hell’s Vinny Appice has paid tribute to his 30-year career with singer Ronnie James Dio, who died of cancer earlier this year.
Appice replaced Bill Ward in Black Sabbath in 1980 and recorded three albums with Dio, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler. The band split until reforming in 2007 under the title Heaven and Hell.
And as the band’s final filmed concert is released on DVD the drummer reveals Neon Nights was the first song he ever played with Dio – and also the last.
Appice tells SWtimes.com: “When we first played together it just felt so right. We became so tight, especially as Heaven and Hell.”
No one knew how ill the singer was when he first began complaining of pains which turned out to be early signs of stomach cancer.
The drummer says: “Ronnie told us it was just gas. We didn’t know he was ill. When we filmed the show at the Wacken festival in Germany Ronnie didn’t know he was that ill. We said, ‘Well, if he can still sing like that he must be okay.’ We didn’t know.
“Neon Nights was the very first song I played with Ronnie, way back in my beginning with Black Sabbath, and it was also the very last song I played with him in Heaven and Hell.
“That was the full journey with Ronnie, right there. It was great.”
Iommi and Butler have confirmed they’re working on new material while Appice has joined Arms of the Sun with Rex Brown of Pantera and Down. Rumours of a potential Black Sabbath reunion starring Ozzy Osbourne and original drummer Bill Ward have been circulating since soon after Dio’s passing, with all parties having said they’d consider the possibility.
Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven and Hell is available on DVD and CD, including Children of the Sea, below: