Jeff Pilson says that he is “all for” the idea of a Ronnie James Dio hologram touring the world, explaining that it exposes the legendary heavy metal singer’s music to more people.
Dio died in 2010 at the age of 67 from stomach cancer. His hologram was created by a company called Eyeillusion and made its debut at the Wacken Open Air festival in August 2016 in front of more than 75,000 fans.
Asked by “The Blairing Out With Eric Blair Show” for his opinion on the Dio hologram, Pilson — who was a member of DIO from 1993 to 1997 and again from 2004 to 2005 — said (see video below): “I’ve only seen photographs, and from the photographs, it looks really cool. So I can’t tell you from a having-seen-it-in-person feeling. But I’m one of those people that, any chance people get to hear that music and see that music and hear that voice, I’m all for. So, I say more power to ’em.”
Pilson also talked about his time playing in DIO, saying that touring with Ronnie and the rest of the group was “great, because we were an amazing band. And when you’re a great, great, great band, you have a lot of fun up there.” As for Ronnie as a person, Pilson said: “He was just… Man, there’s rarely a day that goes by that I don’t think about him to some extent, ’cause he was not only an amazing singer, an amazing musician, but he was an amazing human being — just a really good person with a good heart. I mean, he’d give you the shirt off his back — he was that kind of guy. He was engaged in your life. There wasn’t anything superficial about him; he was very, very real.”
He added: “So being in a band was great, because we were a great band. And then the other side was the camaraderie, ’cause Vinny Appice [drums] is a very dear friend of mine. Tracy G [guitar] was a great friend. Scott Warren was a good friend, who was playing keys at the time, and Ronnie was a dear friend. So there was a lot of camaraderie, and we were a great band. It doesn’t get better than that.”
Pilson told the “Music Mania” podcast last year that he thought Ronnie would have been thrilled with the idea of a hologram in his likeness. “Ronnie loved technology, and I think, deep down, he would have loved the thought that that could have happened,” Jeff said. “And knowing him, ’cause he was quite an imaginative guy, he probably did imagine that something like that could happen. And honestly, I think Ronnie would have approved.”
The “Dio Returns: The World Tour” production uses audio of Ronnie‘s live performances from throughout his career, with the DIO band playing live, consisting of Craig Goldy on guitar, Simon Wright on drums and Scott Warren on keyboards, along with Bjorn Englen on bass. Also appearing with them are former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim “Ripper” Owens and LYNCH MOB‘s Oni Logan.
Based on video footage of the first leg of the tour, Dio fans had mixed reactions to the apparition of their favorite singer, with some loving it and others thinking the performance didn’t live up to the real thing or that it was just plain creepy.