The Joup Friday Album: Dio – Holy Diver

Dio-Holy-Diver1Filling in for Katie J. VanWormer until next Friday, when KJ will return to douse this place with sonic gasoline and write an article about Deicide’s greatest album… no, no, I can’t keep a straight face there. You can tell I’m lying because, well, Deicide doesn’t have a ‘greatest album’, they don’t even have a great or a good one. But then I suppose I should watch whose house I throw stones at today, as I might find myself a guest there later. Like the topic of today’s Fill-In Joup Friday Album.

Dio is new to me. Well, listening to Dio is new to me. You see, I’ve spent most of my life making fun of this man. Joup’s Sonny Vitkauskas had a great bit back in the day (~96) where he would cut out this B&W, quarter page add from the Illinois Entertainer, an add that featured an scowl-for-the-camera Ronnie James, and he’d tape it to his forearm to model a tatoo and then walk around saying – in a GLORIOUS South Side of Chicago accent – “Yeah, I don’t know. They didn’t say why they wouldn’t hire me.” It was amazing. Still is. Anyway, that set the tone. Before that I swore my allegiance to Ozzy-era Sabbath and always turned up my nose at any other iteration. Some folks didn’t understand, you know, why there couldn’t be room for both. I don’t have a good answer to that question; Ozzy v. Dio was always kind of a Sox v. Cubs thing with me; I’m not sure why I had to chose a side, but I did. One reason is Ozzy-era Sabbath is Aaaa-mazing. I tried Heaven and Hell once and I think I fell asleep.

But I digress.

Increasingly, I’ve been trying to use the distance we’ve achieved as a culture and I’ve achieved as a person to recontextualize a lot of the art, music, and movies from the 80s that I didn’t get or couldn’t stand back then. I’ve found a bit of a spot for stupid R&B pop like New Edition, I’ve returned to thinking Kelly Labrock is super hot and, well, I’ve been stomping around in a lot of the metal pits that I used to laugh at, trying to appreciate it all for the big hair and dramatics it all was. I guess with that kind of an agenda, it was only a matter of time until I got around to RJD.

My good friend Keller came over last Friday and, after we listened to Tommy‘s pick for last week’s Album, we ended up heading down a drunken night of 80s Metal One-Up-Manship. Keller’s a little older, so he had a head start on some bands that I jettisoned quicker thanks to the rise of the Thrash Gods and soon after that Grunge. Between Keller and I there is a good skew, so we traded denim punches for a few hours: I played Skid Row, he played Dokken. You get the picture. I recorded a lot of this on my blog the next day, where I’m running an ongoing journal of everything I listen to every day, so it’s all there for posterity’s sake. Point here is, he had me listen to some Dio and it wasn’t terrible. I mean, Holy Diver is no Sabotage, or Reign in Blood, not even a No More Tears, but its merit is in the almost theatrical bent the band approach it with and, well, I couldn’t listen to it everyday, but I could definitely listen to it on a Friday night, or apparently a Monday morning, where I jammed the full album for the first time on my iPod while I worked. That was research and not likely to happen again. But Holy Diver (and I’m thinking Dio in general) works better on a loud, let-loose weekend, so what better way to bring in Friday Night than with a demon dog-thing watching a priest drown in chains?

Yeah, I’ll probably still poke fun at RDJ, but hey, the guy knew how to ROCK \^^/

Back to you KJ!!!

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

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