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Massive heavy metal murals of Lemmy, Dio, Alice Cooper and more on buildings in Bulgaria

A huge mural of Motörhead vocalist, Lemmy Kilmister on the side of an apartment building in Kavarna, Bulgaria. Photo by Bob Ramsak.
Fittingly adjacent to the very metal-sounding Black Sea several apartment buildings in the town of Kavarna, Bulgaria have been adorned with the images of heavy metal heroes like Alice Cooper, Ronnie James Dio, Lemmy Kilmister and Joey DeMaio—the bassist for the only band metal enough to pull off full-body waxing, loincloths and manly jams all at the same time, Manowar.

According to Bob Ramsak, the proprietor of the blog Prian Café the idea of dressing up the sides of apartment buildings in Kavarna was spearheaded by the town’s mayor, Tsonko Tsonev. A major heavy metal fan, during his time as mayor of Kavarna from 2003 to 2015 Tsonev was instrumental in helping Kavarna become the “rock capitol of Bulgaria” by luring bands to play gigs in his hometown. In 2006 Tsonev started the Kaliakra Rock Fest which attracted the likes of Motörhead, Manowar, The Scorpions, UFO and Heaven and Hell. When it comes to the murals themselves, I wasn’t kidding when I said they were massive as many of them are at least two and a half stories tall. If that’s not metal enough for you, Kavarna is also home to Ronnie James Dio’s memorial statue. Like many of his headbanging peers, Dio himself was no stranger to Kavarna and he performed there on several occasions including while he was the front man for Heaven and Hell back in 2007. However, Dio was also a favorite son of Bulgaria for other reasons—specifically by playing an instrumental role in helping bring about the release of a group of Bulgarian nurses in 2006 who were imprisoned by the Libyan government for nearly a decade.

You can check out the murals below.


More metal murals after the jump…

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Elf: Early recordings of Dio covering Led Zeppelin, Chuck Berry & Black Sabbath in 1972

Like many of our DM readers I’m a huge fan of everything that the late Ronnie James Dio did during his time walking among us mere mortals. Dio’s love of music started early and by the late 50’s at the age of fifteen he was already gigging regularly with a band. When it came time for Dio to graduate high school he apparently turned down a scholarship (which he earned for playing the trumpet, a discipline that Dio credited his powerful vocal range to) at the plush and prestigious Juilliard School to pursue a career in rock and roll. The band that Dio started out with, The Vegas Kings went through several name/lineup changes until they ended up settling on the proggy sounding The Electric Elves that in turn evolved into the more metal-edged sounding moniker Elf sometime in the early part of 1970s.

Once the 70s rolled around Dio (and most of the rest of Elf) ended up hooking up with one of the guitar gods Dio would perform with during his career Ritchie Blackmore, and that relationship produced three Rainbow albums including one of my favorite records of all time 1978’s Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll. The reason I’m giving you my take on what the heavy metal history books refer to as Ronnie James Dio 101 is because when I mentioned in the title of this post that Dio was “covering” Black Sabbath I thought it might cause a few of our readers to throw a massive lump of “duh” in my general direction. But this is RJD circa 1972—a full seven years before he would front the sludgy outfit after Sabbath fired Ozzy who had become so “undependable” in 1979 that he stopped showing up to most of the band’s rehearsals. So to hear Elf along with Dio slaying one of Sabbath’s most epic jams, 1970’s “War Pigs” for a full nine-minutes in 1972 is rather surreal to say the least.

Ronnie James Dio, Ritchie Blackmore and Mr. Blackmore’s very metal Pilgrim hat.
The other notable covers that Elf performed live and recorded as demos back in 1972 (that became the bootleg known as Elf: War Pigs ‘72) are a mish-mash of hits from bands like The Who, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin and even the odd Rod Stewart song. As a forever fan of all things Black Sabbath it’s nothing short of thrilling to listen to Dio take on Chuck Berry’s 1959 classic “Little Queenie” and win. I’m not going to go so far as to tell you that the all of the recordings are good, because they aren’t. But I did post a few of my favorite tracks from War Pigs ‘72 and feel like it’s an interesting snapshot into where Dio was headed and something that any hardcore fan of RJD would brag about owning just for its high (and slightly odd) nostalgia factor. I also included an original Elf track called “Driftin” which is a dreamy track reminiscent of Queen that really showcases Dio’s remarkable vocal range. Devil horns OUT!
Listen to early Ronnie James Dio after the jump…

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This Bud’s for you, headbangers: Ronnie James Dio’s 1983 Budweiser ad
10:20 am


Ronnie James Dio
Vintage ads

Ronnie James Dio
I don’t like beer. It’s not that I didn’t like it “back in the day.” Budweiser was truly the king of all party beverages when I was in high school. Which is also probably the reason I don’t drink beer anymore. Nostalgic thoughts only meaningful to me aside, after I heard this audio clip from a vintage 1983 radio ad that Ronnie James Dio did for Budweiser, I immediately felt the need to raise a tall boy to my lips in honor of the late, great king of metal. When toothing through the comments on YouTube (generally an ill-advised practice at best) someone actually made the observation that there was seemingly nothing Ronnie James Dio could do wrong. Not even when he’s shilling for a beer that tastes like someone took a warm fizzy piss in a can.
Usually when an artist you admire “sells-out,” it’s an utter disappointment. An exception to that rule (and there are a few) would be the super-snappy jingle written by Brian Jones that the Rolling Stones recorded for a 1964 Rice Krispies television commercial. Here’s a line: “You wake up in the morning and there’s a crackle in your face.” Brilliant. The jingle matches the perky cereal’s personality perfectly. As with the Stones, hearing Dio singing the praises of Budweiser to the tune of one of his best-known anthems, “Rainbow in the Dark” is absolutely one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard. The trademark slogan “this Bud’s for you” even gets the heavy metal treatment at the end. Will it make me drink Budweiser again? No. It did however bring me back to days, now long past, when listening to Dio and drinking beer out of cans on a Friday night was all you needed.

Via Metal Injection

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The Devil’s Doo-Wop: Ronnie James Dio, teenybopper crooner
10:51 am


Black Sabbath
Heavy Metal
Ronnie James Dio

Ronnie James Dio
Even a heavy metal tourist such as myself holds the late Ronnie James Dio in reverence. He was an early pioneer of the genre, with bands Elf and Rainbow. He sang for Black Sabbath for a while, and he managed a 30-year career with his own band, Dio. He’s even widely credited with the creation of the infamous “devil horns,” though he insists he merely cultivated the gesture from his Italian grandmother’s attempts to ward off the “evil eye.”

But like I said, I’m merely a casual observer of the genre. I am however, pretty well-versed in early rock ‘n’ roll teeny-bopper fodder—at least, enough so to say that Ronnie James Dio’s early pop crooner career is totally worthy of cranking up on the AM radio when you’re making-out at “Make-Out Point.” He started making music in 1957—it only makes sense that Ronald James Padavona had a few family-friendly incarnations before finding his place in the black hearts of a million Satan-loving heshers. And honestly? The dude was just really talented, with incredible musical instincts and an all-around great voice.
Ronnie Dio and The Prophets
Ronnie Dio and The Prophets, looking wholesome
Below is just a smattering of teen dream Dio’s early recordings. The first (my favorite) is Ronnie Dio and The Red Caps’ 1960 gem,  “An Angel is Missing”—very Ricky Nelson. The second one is Ronnie Dio and The Prophets’ rendition of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” probably from 1962. This is literally one of my favorite songs of all time—I am ruthlessly protective of it, and I approve. The third is Ronnie Dio and The Prophets again, doing “I Told You So.” I saved this one for last, because it’s the darkest one, and its ominous sound may have predicted what was to come!!!!

“An Angel is Missing”

“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”

“I Told You So”

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In ‘The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast’ cartoon, that singing frog is Ronnie James Dio!

You learn something new every damned day. My TIL? Remember “The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast,” that great cartoon many of you reading this—perhaps the majority, even, since it’s had such a very long shelf-life—will recall from when you were a kid? Why that’s Mister Ronnie James Dio hisself who was doing the frog’s singing.

Good god! (or “Hail Satan!” if you prefer) Imagine if the Christian Right would had known this at the time: The evil genius heavy metal master many say was personally responsible for introducing the “devil horns” salute into the culture was worming his evil way into the ears of millions upon millions of kids from 1976 onwards! What kind of backwards-masked Satanic subliminal messages were inserted into this childhood classic?

What will Alex Jones say when he hears about this???

Yesterday when I was posting about the CIA-funded animated Animal Farm, I did a search on the couple, John Halas and Joy Batchelor (”Halas and Batchelor” was the name of their revered production company) who made it, to see what else they had produced (short answer = tons of stuff) and I took particular note of one of them: The almost psychedelic animated short they made to accompany “Love is All,” a track from The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast, an ambitious rock opera by Deep Purple’s Roger Glover and some of his famous friends. (When the show was staged—and filmed—for a one-off 1975 performance, the cast included members of Deep Purple, Twiggy, the guy who later played “Sgt. Apone” in Aliens and it was narrated by Vincent Price.)

The short film, part of what was intended to be a full-length project, was widely seen on television the world over for over fifteen years. In America, we saw it on The Electric Company and Nickelodeon from the 1970s well into the 1990s, and it was frequently seen in France, Australia, New Zealand, and especially in the Netherlands, where the song went to #1 and evokes such strong childhood associations that the Christian Democrats used the cheerful ditty for their 2006 general campaign ads.

It was directed by Lee Mishkin and based on the work of famed illustrator Alan Aldridge, who had previously put out his own 1973 book (based on the famous poem by William Roscoe, one of history’s first abolitionists) that served as the inspiration for Glover’s project.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
God Hates Ronnie James Dio: Westboro Baptist Church to picket memorial in Los Angeles this weekend
11:20 pm


Westboro Baptist Church
Ronnie James Dio

Attention, Los Angeles prankster community: If you haven’t heard, the hateful Westboro Baptist Church will be in town this weekend, picketing the memorial for the late heavy metal warbler, Ronnie James Dio. Considering the idea of who will be at the service (metal heads) and how many video cameras there are in this town, I fully expect to see YouTube clips next week which will rival the immortal Heavy Metal Parking Lot! This is truth-is-funnier-than-fiction style comedy in the making, folks. Could be historically funny.

The memorial will be held at The Hall of Liberty, Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles; May 30, 2 p.m. and is free to the heavy metal-loving public.

Here’s an excerpt from the confused ramblings about the protest from the God Hates Fags website the Church operates:

WBC to picket this public memorial to remind you who worship that old Serpent, Satan, that your time is very short. You know 67 year old, Satan-worshiping (or at least one of their enablers) Ronnie James Dio (of showing his devil horns to the world each time he goes in public) Black Sabbath fame is dead, right? We’ll be there! Just because the chances of any of God’s elect being amongst this group of heavy metal sycophants is slim to none does not mean they should not get some good words. Yes, it is true that Ozzy Osbourne did “accidentally” bite off the head of a bat, but THAT is the least of their sins (little nasties!), they currently do not do that, but they throw raw meat to the audience and encourage violence of EVERY FORM! Here you have the list of admitted sins of this now dead and in hell pervert: 1) He hates his neighbor(s) starting with Ozzy Osbourne 2) He hates God. Pay especial attention to the fact that he changed his original sir name from Padanova to Dio, which means “God” in Italian. 3)Ronnie the simpleton enabled, and encouraged Sorceries: everything he was about including the little finger horn thing (he got this from his mother which is an incantation to ward off the “evil eye”) to the drugs, bloody raw meat and his fellowship with those pentagram necklace wearing freakish band members. Yes, Ronnie James Padanova (NOT DIO) is currently residing in hell. When all those who worship him and his false gods meet him in hell it will be just like this: Isaiah 2:12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: Isaiah 14:11 Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. Praise God all ye, His people. The Great Day of the Lord draws nigh. AMEN


Did you get that?

Thank you Julien Nitzberg!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment