Paul Gilbert Recalls Ronnie James Dio’s ‘Weird’ Deep Purple Performance

Following Paul Gilbert‘s release of ‘The Dio Album‘ – a full Ronnie James Dio tribute album, the guitarist delved deeper into his connection with the late rocker in a recently surfaced exclusive interview he gave to Ultimate Guitar’s Justin Beckner earlier this year. Gilbert’s encounter with Dio during a ‘weird’ Deep Purple performance in Japan took center stage.

When asked if he’d ever met Dio, the musician responded:

“I did, but only one time. It was in Japan. I went to go see Deep Purple, and it was the tour where they played with an orchestra, and Dio came out as a surprise guest, or at least it was a surprise to me because I was there to see Deep Purple, and all of a sudden, Dio is on stage.

He did ‘Love Is All,’ which I had never heard before. I didn’t know anything about that song at the time. It was like a dream – all of a sudden, Dio was up there, and he was singing this ’60s pop ‘Penny Lane’ kind of song with Deep Purple and an orchestra…”

Referring to his astonishment, Gilbert added:

“The whole time, I was thinking, ‘Any minute, I’m going to wake up and tell everybody about this weird dream I had!’ But it was real, and it was great. I’m a Beatles fan and a Dio fan, so it was really cool to see those two styles put together. After the show, I went backstage, and he came up, and he was the nicest person in the world. That was the only time I really met him.”

Apparently, just meeting the late rocker wasn’t enough for Paul. In another interview last month, the guitarist had expressed his regret at missing the opportunity to collaborate with the vocalist before his passing. He said:

“In fact, I remember when he passed away that was, besides just missing him, I remember feeling a little a little regret like, ‘Man, I never got a chance to play with him.’ That would have been so cool. So, you know, maybe doing this album is a chance to get a little bit close to that dream.”

‘The Dio Album,’ released on April 7, features ten tracks that span Dio’s time with Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and his solo work. You can listen to the whole album below.