Manowar co-founder Ross ‘The Boss’ Friedman spoke to Rat Salad Review and told the story of the late Black Sabbath singer Ronnie James Dio helping them form the band on tour.
Black Sabbath released their ninth studio album entitled ‘Heaven and Hell’ on April 25, 1980. It was Dio’s first album with the band after they recruited him to replace Ozzy Osbourne. To promote their record, the band started their Heaven and Hell Tour in April 1980, which ended in February 1981.
Along with his extraordinary performance as a singer, Dio encouraged young artists like Joey DeMaio and Ross Friedman as a mentor. DeMaio was Black Sabbath’s bass tech and fireworks manager, while Friedman played with Fabienne Shine’s band Shakin’ Street supporting the band during the tour.
Friedman recalled when Dio asked him to meet DeMaio with whom he would form Manowar together. They started to talk and then jam together in the band’s dressing room. They were so loud that the Black Sabbath members came to look at what was happening there, and Dio always supported them.
Friedman said in his interview that:
“Well, I had no idea I was going to meet somebody that I would form a band with. The fact that we were in England, playing these famous odeons with Black Sabbath and Ronnie James Dio. This was just a tremendous honor. Shakin’ Street Black Sabbath, it was an unbelievable honor to be playing those shows. I mean, wow. You know, going up and shaking Tony’s hand. What do you say? What do you say to Tony? ‘What do I say to him!?’
Those guys were great and very friendly to us. They all had the hots for Fabienne; that helped. So, that one time when we were playing. I think it was Manchester and Newcastle, and we did our soundcheck.
I put my guitar down, Ronnie Dio is standing on the side of the stage, and I talked to him; I go, ‘Hey Ronnie, what’s up, man?’ He goes, ‘Ross, you’re a great guitar player. I’ve got a guy on my crew, his name is Joey, and he plays bass like you wouldn’t believe. You should meet him…’ I go, ‘Okay. Yes, sir.'”
“We started talking, and as the tour went on, we started to jam in Black Sabbath’s dressing room. He would play Geezer’s spare bass, and I had my guitar, and we would be in there. We used the practice amps, and we’d be blasting away while Sabbath was on stage. When Sabbath would cut off, we’d be still blasting, and they’d look up, go, ‘What the is up there!’ Then Ronnie goes, ‘Ahh, that’s Ross and Joey.’ They go, ‘Oh, okay.'”
You can check out the interview below.