Ruben Mosqueda of KNAC.com spoke with Dio Disciples’ Tim “Ripper” Owens about the, Dio Returns Tour, featuring the new and improved Ronnie James Dio hologram  Excerpts from the interview appear, below.

KNAC.com: Dio Returns will make its American debut in less than four weeks. Are you nervous, at all?

Owens: [laughs] No, I’m more excited, as a fan of Ronnie’s]. I’d be excited if I were someone that had bought a ticket to see this. That really excites me and that I’m a part of something new.

KNAC.com: I was speaking with Jeff [Pezzutti, CEO of Eyellusion, creators of the hologram] earlier and he was really excited because of the improvements that have been made to the hologram.

Owens: I agree, we have had to rehearse a lot and the band needs to practice alongside the hologram to get the timing right. They haven’t just refined the hologram but the entire show…you have to see it to believe it. It’s amazing, The sky is the limit with this after seeing what Eyellusion have done, I just see this getting better and better. I’ve seen the Frank Zappa one that has been touring across America and sounds like it will be heading to Europe shortly. That’s been a success. I liken this to any other piece of technology, the next is always better than the first, like with cell phones, remember the old cell phones? Compare those to what we have now.

KNAC.com: So to be clear, this isn’t just the hologram on stage, it’s a huge production.

Owens: That’s right, people need to know that this IS an entire show, it’s a huge production that features his former bandmates and his close friends performing Ronnie’s catalog. Oni [Logan] and I do some songs then here comes the hologram and does a performance! [laughs] It’s kind of crazy, man, [laughs].

KNAC.com: There’s been talk about the Dio hologram being a “cash grab” and that it’s done for the wrong reasons, but I think you’d have to see this once or even twice before you can bash it.

Owens: [laughs] I know I have heard that too. Listen, if Wendy Dio wants to do a “cash grab” she would just sit at home because she owns the rights to the music, she can just wait for it to rain money. She’s spending a lot of money to make this happen and why is she doing this? She’s doing this to make the fans happy.

Listen, I don’t think anyone is saying that Freddie Mercury’s estate is doing a “cash grab” since the movie was released [Bohemian Rhapsody]. This is much less of a “cash grab” than someone forming a Queen tribute band, because that’s people doing it just for the money [laughs]. If someone is dressing up as Freddie Mercury, I’m not saying it’s wrong or something, I’m all for entertainment, but that is for money. What really gets me is when people say stuff like, “Well, Ronnie wouldn’t like that”. Listen, just because you bought the records, and you sang Holy Diver in your bedroom as a kid, doesn’t mean that you knew Ronnie Dio.

We are the friends and the family of Ronnie, we feel that Ronnie would have loved this because it is about the fans. Ronnie was always about trying to make the fans happy and I don’t know how people are missing that point. The point being, that we’re doing just what Ronnie would have done and that is making the fans happy. I understand people may not initially “like” the idea, I don’t like something, but I will give things a try before I pan it. I personally would love to see a David Bowie hologram show, I never got a chance to see a Bowie show and to me that would be exciting. I would love the chance to see a him do Ziggy Stardust and all the various phases of his career. I don’t use a flip phone, I don’t listen to cassettes, I move with the times and this is moving with the times.

Read more at KNAC.com.

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  • Dana on

    This is much less of a “cash grab” than someone forming a Queen tribute band, because that’s people doing it just for the money [laughs].

    Umm, Mr. Owens did you forget that you got your start in a Judas Priest tribute band. Then, ended up fronting said band you imitated. So, was that a “cash grab,” too? Oh, the irony…LOL!

    • Ray Gillen on

      Lol, I was thinking the same thing Dana.

    • Dana on

      Great minds, Ray 🙂

  • Doug R. on

    Really, Tripper? Well, if this is the future, I don’t want any part of it! I’d rather watch a Dio DVD on a big screen TV than a hologram!

    • MikeyMan on

      Totally agree with you Doug!

  • Rattlehead on

    Of course Ripper would defend Wendy’s decision to take the Dio hologram out on tour….she’s the manager of Ripper’s band, Dio’s Disciples, and she’s “bankrolling” Ripper’s career. He’s smart enough to know not to bite the hand that feeds, as well as drink the kool aid to help promote this charade.

    I read somewhere that some hologram shows were recently cancelled…..if low attendance was the reason for the cancellations, Wendy should have “cooked up” a hologram audience for Ripper’s band.

    • Dana on


  • Michael Monet on

    This is more of a Vegas type thing than something that should tour. Part of the live show is the audience interaction. That’s what it’s all about. The performer feeding off the energy of the crowd. What’s next? Babe Ruth batting third for the YANKEES? New artists can’t make CDs, iTunes is shutting down and no more cover bands. All of the charm is vanished.

  • robert davenport on

    People will decide with their wallets – it’s weird , and creepy , and of course not real – why not just get a look alike and have him lip sync ….. much less expensive – Wendy wants to keep Ronnie alive in her heart , I’m sure this is a big part of why she’s doing this – sorry Wendy it’s not for me-

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