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JUNKMAN Recaps The 2024 'ROCK FOR RONNIE - Year Of The Dragon' Benefit Concert

By Junkman, On-Air Personality
Monday, May 27, 2024 @ 8:09 AM

On May 19th For The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund

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All Photos By Junkman

On Sunday, May 19th, a mass of rock and rollers gathered at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills California for an afternoon of music, and to honor the late singer Ronnie James Dio. Organized by Ronnie's wife Wendy Dio, it was a benefit for the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund (www.diocancerfund.org) and featured a live auction of various collectibles, as well as RJD merchandise and a lot more, all benefitting the fund.

The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund was founded in memory of the late singer. A privately funded 501(c)(3) public charity, the RJDSUASCF has already raised over 2 million dollars since its inception. Monies raised have been committed to the cancer research work of the T.J. Martell foundation for cancer, AIDS, and Leukemia research, the gastric cancer research unit of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston TX, where Ronnie was treated for gastric cancer during the last six months of his life, and other cancer research projects. Since 2016, the Dio Cancer Fund, has committed funds to support the research of Dr David Wong and his team at the UCLA School of Dentistry in developing a simple, non-evasive saliva test for the early detection of cancer.

Sponsors included The Rainbow Bar and Grill, The Ivy in Ojai, Christine Cardoso-Moore Realty, McBride Wealth management, Danny Wimmer Presents, Liquid Death, HOP WTR, Marquis Sugar Free Mate beverages, Austin Eastciders Cider beverages, Lattini Sunflower Milk, Smart & Final, Delorio Foods, Big Noise Beer, and BevNomad beverage product distributers. Ronnie James Dio's love of dragons and their association with his on stage persona was also reflected in the event's "Year of the Dragon" designation, a nod to this year on the Chinese calendar.

The parks lovely setting included plenty of shade trees, surrounded the area where the concert would be held, was the perfect place to hold an event. There were food trucks, various merchandise and craft booths, a beer and wine garden, an abundance of porto-potties, and lots of room to move about. The area directly in front of the Lou Bedrow Pavillion, where the concert would take place, had a huge VIP seating area, and was slightly banked behind it, which made for easy viewing of the onstage action.

Best of all, it was a FREE event, although donations to the fund were suggested, and many of us were happy to generously oblige. People gathered around the auction items booth which featured many items such as a METALLICA tour jacket, signed pictures of various rockers, a pair of passes to the upcoming Aftershock Rock Festival in Sacramento, as well as quite a few DIO collectibles, naturally, and a lot more, that would all be bid on with the proceeds again going to the fund.

As for the music, it was quite a Sunday in the park for rock n roll. Things got started with a brief performance by X-COMM, a band comprised of young rockers that featured drummer Revel Ian, son of ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian and his wife, singer Pearl Aday. They rocked the still arriving crowd with an aggressive, loud, fast-paced set that even featured a BAD BRAINS classic. Definitely a wake-up call and it's always great to see young teens get to play on a big stage.

SiriusXM radio personality Eddie Trunk acted as MC for the event, and he and Wendy Dio welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending. They then introduced the next act, Los Angeles-based drummer/vocalist Billy McNicol and his trio. They performed a funky, upbeat set that was both powerful and fun. A true "Power trio" that's for sure!

Wendy Dio and Eddie Trunk then appeared onstage along with Dr. David Wong and Ronnie's physician Dr. Sandeep Kapoor as they presented a large check made out to Dr. Wong's research team at UCLA in the amount of $25,000. Wendy Dio also surprised Trunk with the presentation of the "King of Rock" award in honor of his long-time participation in the event over the years. Eddie Trunk was truly moved by the honor, and he thanked Wendy and all involved.

Jason Charles Miller and his band of outlaw Southern rockers then lit up the stage with a smokin' set of tunes that brought the crowd to its feet with songs that are a charged up blend of riff-heavy, charged up classic rock with a bit of an outlaw country feel that is just the hybrid for these times. His well-crafted songs from his vast catalogue of music from over the years were the perfect way to get the still-arriving rock crowd in to it. He will be hitting the road soon, so catch Jason and his band when they open for STEEL PANTHER across the US.

Next up onstage were the DIO DISCIPLES featuring long time DIO band members - drummer Simon Wright and keyboardist Scott Warren. They were joined onstage by bassist Sean McNabb and guitarist Ira Black, as well as former XYZ and GREAT WHITE vocalist Terry Ilous, with powerhouse vocalist Dyna Shirasaki, and they rocked a pumped-up set of DIO classics to an adoring audience that by now were filling up the park. There is just something about hearing DIO music in a live setting that gets your blood pressure racing as well as your adrenaline. Ronnie's spirit was everywhere.

Eddie Trunk then brought out a custom QUIET RIOT autographed guitar that was auctioned off, and then introduced the various members of the EDDIE TRUNK ALL-STAR BAND. Those members included plenty of Los Angeles based rockers such as guitarists Tracii Guns, Doug Aldrich, Brett Scallions, Marc Ferrari, Patrick Kennison, Robert Sarzo and more. Also bassists Martin Anderson, Julia Lage, Marty O'Brian and Sean McNabb, along with drummers Glen Sobel, Brian Tichy, Ronnie Ciago, and Daniel Bermudez.

A host of vocalists joined in during a 14 song set, which included a variety of rock classics. Some of the highlights included vocalist Neil Turbin singing the JUDAS PRIEST number "Breaking The Law" accompanied by Robert Sarzo on guitar and uber-drummer Brian Tichy on GUITAR as well. Singer Dewey Bragg of the band KILL DEVIL HILL rocked the DIO classic "Holy Diver" with a version that would have made Ronnie proud! Adding to that, he was backed by guitarist Doug Aldrich, who is a member of the DIO band alumni, as well as bassist Marty O'Brian (currently on the road with DAUGHTRY) and Alice Cooper's incredible drummer Glen Sobel. Horns were thrown in the air, that's for sure.

PINK FLOYD saxophonist Scott Page led the band through a fun version of the FLOYD classic "Money" and few songs later Greek vocalist Andry Lagiou wowed the crowd with not only her shiny silver outfit, but her powerful vocals on the DEEP PURPLE classic "Burn" and "Highway Star" really brought things up a notch or two. Singer/guitarist Lita Ford then appeared onstage and, sporting a custom DIO guitar that was handmade by master luthier Jim Cara (www.caraguitars.com) which was later auctioned off, rocked two of her most popular songs, THE RUNAWAYS' classic "Cherry Bomb" and her 1988 hit "Kiss Me Deadly". Naturally, the crowd went wild.

Closing out the event was none other than hard rock veterans QUIET RIOT, who have been a busy band on the road and constantly selling out auditoriums everywhere. Singer Jizzy Pearl was in fine form, and his powerful vocal takes on classic QR songs such as "Slick Black Cadillac" and their cover of the SLADE classic "Cum On Feel The Noize" were right in step with QR's late singer/founder Kevin DuBrow. The band, guitarist Alex Grossi, drummer Johnny Kelly, and bassist Rudy Sarzo are great entertainers, and they even threw in a rocking cover of "Black Out In The Red Room", originally done by Jizzy Pearl's former band LOVE/HATE midway through the 11 song set. Naturally, QUIET RIOT ended their show with their anthem "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)" and all in attendance were loving it, pumping their fists and throwing their horns in the air, as any fan of the genre, as well as Ronnie James Dio would do.

It was, again, a fun, sunny, Sunday in the park, reminding many of us what a good old-fashioned rock show can be. It was an outstanding gathering of like-minded rock fans, great music, a wide-open comfortable space, and of course, raising money for a great cause. The spirit of the late Ronnie James Dio was indeed felt everywhere. Many thanks to the lovely Wendy Dio for carrying on Ronnie's legacy, and for organizing the event, which raised quite a bit for the Stand Up and Shout Fund. For further information about the organization, please visit www.diocancerfund.org and please feel free to donate to such a worthy cause.

Check out some more photos from the event!
All Photos By Junkman

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