For the last few months, everything obscure that has popped into my mind has found its way into reality.A conversation about an old neighbor from twenty five years ago led to an unsolicited email in my Inbox from that neighbor’s son a few days later.When I couldn’t remember my third grade teacher’s name, I asked my Mom, who promptly ran into her in a mall parking lot a week after our conversation.I think of things, and they happen.

Before I got on the plane for the Middle East this past week, Joe Daly sent me a playlist for my iPod – a playlist that included Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules (my absolute favorite track from the Dio-era Sabbath).In the spirit of the song I started a Facebook conversation taking pot shots at the singer on another friend’s page.I’ve never disliked Dio, but it is hard to deny that he is easy to make fun of.And so we did.As a few of us took turns skewing his lyrics, I had to listen to more and more of his music for research, and as I did so, I found myself singing it in my head.Holy Diver, Man on the Silver Mountain, Rainbow in the Dark… it was the soundtrack as I trekked through the desert all week.

And then he died.I didn’t even know he was sick.

Then the realization sunk in.I killed Ronnie James Dio.I did.Just by thinking about him.And now, on top of taking responsibility for his passing, I am forced to admit that despite years of arguing to the contrary, I was a fan.I really was.A latecomer – a convert literally the day before he died – but a fan nonetheless.My only real Dio story comes from years ago when I went to see him with Black Sabbath in concert.I went with my friends Jerome and Frankie, along with five other guys whose names escape me, though they’re not important.

What is important is Jerome.Jerome belonged at this concert, more than anyone possibly could.I showed up in jeans and a black t-shirt, the same way I show up to most places.Jerome, on the other hand, came to rock.He was a magician by trade, and dressed the part.The long hair, the flashy shirt, the rings on every finger and the bracelets – no, let’s call them bangles – and the twelve necklaces, and the yellow sunglasses at night… He looked like Lorenzo Lamas on a shooting range.

His hair did not escape our group’s alcohol induced desire to pick on something.He ceased to be named Jerome almost the minute we pulled onto the freeway.He became Rapunzel, Mandy, My Little Pony, Chewie, a Highlander, the worst episode of Renegade ever.We couldn’t stop.Then came the Jesus jokes and the Bon Jovi references, and then the ridiculous:

Jerome’s hair is better than Winger. Jerome’s hair hit .350 for the Astros last year. Jerome’s hair beat Jif in a taste test 5-1. There were more Chewbacca noises and cracks about those godforsaken yellow glasses and side bets on how long he was going to wear them. Someone said something about Blu-Blockers and Bono and there was the obligatory Corey Hart reference.”Good thing he has them on,” someone said, “in case we need to locate DNA or find a lost golf ball.”

Eventually, we made it to the concert venue, where I fell out of the car in a fit of laughter, my side hurting as I fired off another crack about how cool it must have been to live with The Addam’s Family.I learned something that night as we snagged a few lawn seats and $9.00 beers and caught the end of Megadeth’s opening set.It wasn’t just Jerome.It was everyone there.  Those people you made fun of in high school?Once a year, they all get together and go to a Dio concert.All of them.

Though I’ve always prided myself on the database of music trivia stored in my brain, my knowledge of Ronnie James Dio has never strayed too far from the classics.That night I was going to be treated to the rest.Seventeen songs, and every one had something to do with either mountains, or demons, or the sea, or more demons, or devils, wizards, or dragons, or a castle, or a castle on a mountain by the sea where there are demons and wizards.

There were lots and lots of skulls and everything was off of the Heaven and Hell album.

“We’re Heaven & Hell, and this next song is about Heaven & Hell and it’s called… Heaven & Hell. We’ll do some more songs you don’t know after that from our Heaven & Hell album and then we’ll do a cover of a song that we didn’t write, but if we had we probably would have called it Heaven & Hell.”

At some point Frankie and I wandered off, the two of us the only ones in the entire venue not mesmerized by the lyrical game of Dungeons and Dragons being played out on stage. We tried to find Jerome again, but looking for a long haired guy in a black shirt at a Dio concert is somewhat like that scene in The Thomas Crown Affair where all the duplicates were walking around with the briefcases. Eventually we gave up.

We spent the last half hour laughing like children at the show and texting Jerome with messages like “I’m going to lower the drawbridge. BrB.” and “Slade just got eaten by a dragon”. Then we laughed at the lighting, and how the lighting director just had three buttons to control the on screen video. On, Off, and Skulls and Flames. We also learned that you can sing Billy Joel’s Piano Man to every Dio song.

When we were out of things to make fun of, we wrote our own Dio songs and when we had hit our threshold for that we renamed the band.The InDio Girls.Bel Biv Dio.Celine Dio.Riamond Dio.Dio Suave.

I know I left that night having had an incredible time.I’ve long since fallen out of touch with the guys I went with and I’ve rarely thought of Dio over the last few years.Then this week happened.I unintentionally stumbled headlong into the man’s music during the last week of his life.

Now I’m sure he’s riding his tiger to Heaven or Hell, or wherever metal goes when it dies, but he did manage to capture one final fan on his way out the door.

I’m sorry I killed you, Dio.


TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , ,

SLADE HAM is a stand up comedian. He has performed in 52 countries on six continents, a journey that can be followed in his book, Until All the Dragons Are Dead. One day he hopes to host a travel show and continue to trick the world into paying him to do the things he loves to do. Slade is also an Editor for The Nervous Breakdown's Arts and Culture section. He keeps a very expensive storage unit in Houston, TX.

209 responses to “When There’s Lightning”

  1. Zara Potts says:

    This is so weird. I had the exact same experience with Ricky the Brain Damaged Monkey.
    I posted a picture of the funny little monkey on my FB page and the very same day he died. DIED! I Killed Ricky the Brain Damaged Monkey.
    And yes, Slade. You definitely killed Ronnie James Dio.

    • Slade Ham says:

      I must admit, I had to Google “Ricky the Brain Damaged Monkey”. You are a bad person, Z! That poor defenseless monkey, killed by your perfectly functional brain…

      On a different note, Dio and Ricky kind of look alike.

    • Becky says:


      Oh man.

      I share some of the blame on that.

      • Slade Ham says:

        Umm.. you both killed a retarded monkey? I am a bit confused.

      • Tawni says:

        I feel guilty for mocking Ricky too. If you girls pulled the trigger, then I was at least the owner of the pawn shop that sold you the gun.

        • Slade Ham says:

          This sounds like a bad joke. How many TNB folks does it take to kill a brain damaged monkey?

          Someone fill me in. Otherwise I have to dig through all of Facebook to catch up.

        • Becky says:

          Zara posted a picture of Ricky celebrating his birthday at some zoo. With a little cake and everything. And his little face was so dopey…we were all laughing hysterically at Ricky, whose asshole brother Dennis had beat the piss out of him when they were little monkeys, messing up his little brain.

          And then a couple of hours later, she broke the news that Ricky had passed.

          And then we were assholes.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Dear God… I just went and found that discussion. You guys are going to Hell on a scholarship.

          Derrrrp! I like pudding!

          That could only have been worse if they’d name that monkey “Buddy”.

        • Becky says:

          I KNOW.

          But you remind me. My husband shares at least some of the blame in this.

          He was totally egging me on.

          Did you see the video? The song for Ricky?

        • Slade Ham says:

          Oh no.

          There’s a song? As if I could possibly laugh harder than I am now… I’m off to find it.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          The convergence here is awesome, because, seriously, there’s a photo of Ricky where he looks like a guy I went to high school with.

          The same guy who once licked a bus stop window.

          I hasten to add, he wasn’t suffering a cognitive impairment or a learning disability, or anything like that.

          He was just gross.

        • Slade Ham says:

          A window-licker that wasn’t a window-licker?

          AND he looked like a monkey? Poor kid. That’s five of us on the bus for Hell now. I’ll drive.

        • Slade Ham says:

          This is 5000 different kinds of wrong. Hahahahahahaha.

          Why am I laughing so hard? Bad Slade.

        • Becky says:

          “If I had some motor skills, I’d throw it in your face.”

        • Zara Potts says:

          I wake up this morning to find that the memory of Ricky is alive and well and burning bright here on TNB. My heart is happy!

        • Slade Ham says:


          Poor retard monkey.

        • Zara Potts says:

          I’m glad you liked the song. It’s gold.

          Oh and Slade – I think we should harness our powers. I remembered that the same thing happened with Michael Jackson. I posted something about him on my FB page and two days later he was dead.

        • Slade Ham says:

          We should indeed. We can go on a spree in June. I’ve started a list below, in response to Rich’s comment. Pick one.

        • Zara Potts says:

          Sorry.. just saw Simon’s comment…
          Who the fuck LICKS a bus stop window??????

        • Slade Ham says:

          Apparently high school kids that look like monkeys… It’s just a thing retards do sometimes. Bus stop windows or just the windows of the bus themselves. I don’t understand it because MY BRAIN WORKS 🙂

        • Erika Rae says:

          I am crying I am laughing so hard. I am laughing at a retarded monkey and I can’t stop. There are tears streaming out of my eyes and nose. Rest in peace, Ricky. No. I can’t stop.

        • Zara Potts says:

          You are so coming to monkey hell with the rest of us, Erika…

        • Slade Ham says:

          I’m with ya Erika. I feel like a very, very bad person for laughing so hard at this.

          Wait… I’m over it.

          Hahahahaha. Poor fucking monkey.

  2. Ben Loory says:

    the day robert mitchum died i said well at least jimmy stewart’s still alive! and so jimmy stewart died the next day. you gotta be careful what you do and say. people’s lives are on the line.

    although, of course, dio will be back. like gandalf after the balrog.

    • Ben Loory says:

      i used to be able to format properly! i swear to god i did! how sad, old age and laziness.

    • Slade Ham says:

      Aren’t we the murderous bunch? I’m a bit mad at you for the Jimmy Stewart thing. I was wondering who to blame. It does seem like they’re setting us up with the Dio death. He must have a new album coming out soon.

      And hobbits to save, of course.

  3. Dio has rocked for a long, long time,
    Now it’s time for him to pass the torch.
    He has songs of wildebeests and angels,
    He has soared on the wings of a demon.

    Tenacious D actually killed him about nine years ago. Sorry to disappoint you.

    And yes, I was also a closet fan. It seems so harsh to say… but loving Dio is something you really only admit after he’s dead.

    • Slade Ham says:

      Maybe if I think long and hard about Tenacious D then…

      I just don’t want to be the way with Dio that so many people were about Michael Jackson. I honestly and sincerely really started liking Dio exactly two days before I found out he was sick. I’m glad we’re all out in the open now though.

      • I was never a Michael Jackson fan – not even a closet one. Didn’t really feel anything when he died.

        It is weird when stuff like this happens. You think of something and then it jumps out into reality. Odd.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Oh, I was a huuuuuge MJ fan. Too many memories growing up surrounding his music. I have openly admitted to playing certain songs on road trips… just me, my iPod, and open car windows. It made me mad when everyone suddenly was a fan the day he died. I don’t want to be that guy with Dio.

          I like how we keep these things quiet. I don’t blame us 🙂

          I am completely intrigued by the coincidence of his death happening in snych with my sudden interest. I am only writing it off because I can think of lots of other people that I HAVE brought up who didn’t die.

          It’s still weird though. Very much so.

    • Irene Zion says:

      I like your new gravitar.
      I used to think that you were either 4 people, or had 4 personalities.

  4. Becky says:

    My history with Dio goes all the way back to the first time I ever saw the Tenacious D movie.

    No shit.

    I had maybe, once or twice, heard his name or saw his face, but I never, EVER, knew what he did (or even that he was a musician, maybe) or that anyone besides Ozzy had ever fronted Sabbath. I have and have had SCADS of metal head friends ever since middle school–never managed to hear a word about him.

    I have never intentionally listened to Pantera, but I can pick Phil Anselmo and Dimebag Darrell out of a photo lineup. I managed to pick up a lot of metal-type stuff just through osmosis.

    Not Dio.

    Poor Dio.

    • Slade Ham says:

      I have never seen the Tenacious D movie, but I’m assuming from comments that Dio was somewhat involved? I’ve always known who he was, I just never was a big fan. Pantera on the other hand… how can you possibly avoid them?

      Quick piece of Pantera related trivia… on my second CD you can clearly hear a voice yell “Slade Ham” on the first track. It was either Vinnie Paul or Dimebag. I never asked which one it was, but it came from their table.

      I kinda hope it was Dimebag.

      • Becky says:

        I really, really, really like metalheads, I guess, but I don’t like metal all that much.

        At least nothing as heavy as Pantera.

        This means that my life has been a series of thrash/death metal concerts I never wanted to see, except that my friend/s was/were in the band, and I was trying to be supportive.

        One of my closest friends is a singer of that stuff…or growler or screamer as the case may be…and he’s always talking about Phil’s kick-ass lyrics, but I can’t figure out how he even knows what the lyrics are, because I can’t understand shit the man says. Liner notes, maybe?

        Yeah, Dio figures in to the Tenacious D movie as a major inspiration for the young Jack Black character.

        • Slade Ham says:

          If you listen to anything Pantera at all, listen to the guitar solo in Floods. It’s amaaaaazing.

          And there’s 80’s metal and there’s death metal. I generally draw the line long before death. I don’t do too much of the growly stuff, though Pantera is PANTERA.

          That’s the second time I’ve used the word “growly” this week.

        • I fucking love Pantera… I’m glad that they gave a shoutout to you. What album did they yell your name on? I have them all… You should rip it from the CD and use it as an introduction… “As recommended by PANTERA… Slade Ham!”

        • I think I stopped listening to Pantera after Vulgar Display of Power. I should that pull out.

          I agree with David, you totally should.

        • I’m fucking dyslexic… You know what I mean though.

        • Slade Ham says:

          @ David – It’s actually on the first track of MY CD. Vinnie and Dimebag used to come to the shows when I used to play these certain clubs in Ft. Worth and Arlington. They were there the night I did the recording. I got to hang with them quite a bit back then. It was pretty cool.

          Here’s a Pic of DB

    • reno says:

      all the way back? dio played in elf in the early 70s. and rainbow (long live rock and roll). sabbath? go back further, becky. please.

      • Becky says:

        I was being sarcastic.

        Indeed, 5 years is not too far. Far enough to suit me, but…

        Anyway, there are limits. I can only go back so far. I wasn’t even alive in the early 70s, you know.

        You and the dinosaurs and those rowdy neanderthals might’ve listened to Elf all day long, but what would I know about it?

        Jack Black Rulz.

  5. Tawni says:

    Oh my god. The hair jokes. The song jokes. The texting jokes. The band name jokes. I found this so funny that I’ve actually re-read it a few times this morning. You are fucking hilarious, Slade. Thanks for the happy. (:

    • Slade Ham says:

      Thanks, Tawni. I wish words did justice to how hard I laughed that night. Jerome made himself an exceptionally easy target that night. You are more than welcome. I am happy to share those laughs.

  6. Lorna says:

    You’re gonna need to learn how to control that mind of yours. You can’t just go around randomly killing off rockstars. Do me a favor and erase Creed from you iPod……or not, it’ll save me from wasting $10 on the next album sale.

  7. Slade Ham says:

    Oh, there was never any danger of Creed being on my iPod… believe me 🙂

    • Slade Ham says:

      And I can save you the ten dollars right now. It’s CREED!

      It is so much fun to make fun of Scott.

      • Lorna says:

        I totally blame you for ruining Creed for me. It’s all your fault.

        RJD, on the other hand, sounds like a TNB conspiracy.

        • Slade Ham says:

          I have, in no shape form or fashion, made Creed’s music any shittier. I might have opened your ears… but I didn’t ruin them.

          And it’s really just Scott that I don’t like. I think Mark Tremonti is quite talented actually.

  8. Tina says:

    I think it’s awesome that you unintentionally stumbled into the man’s music during the last week of his life. No killing here..he just extended his reach to touch one more person before going..which is a good thing 🙂

    • Slade Ham says:

      Ya know, I’ve never been unfamiliar with him… I’ve just never listened to him the way I have this past week. It’s spooky and prophetic. I’m glad I did though.

      I take it you were/are a big fan?

  9. Cynthia Hawkins says:

    Ah, this started my day with much laughter. Thanks! Love this: “Those people you made fun of in high school? Once a year, they all get together and go to a Dio concert. All of them.”

    • Slade Ham says:

      I forgot there were funny parts in this actually, hahaha. All my focus was on killing him.

      That is exactly what it felt like though… the brooding kids that no one sat with at lunch – they were there by the car load. Not that I was anywhere close to a popular kid in school, but these were the kids that the kids who got made fun of made fun of.

      If that makes any sense… that was a lot like that Buffalo buffalo sentence.

  10. Irene Zion says:


    Now that I understand that you are a hit man, I was wondering if I could hire you for certain personal jobs?
    How much do you charge, per hit?
    Please get back to me post haste.
    I have work for you.

    • Slade Ham says:

      Just give me a list. It’s much easier to off a celebrity with my mind than a civilian… not that I won’t try.

      I think we’re supposed to meet in an alley now to discuss the terms.

      • Irene Zion says:

        Any alley, any time.
        I got my reasons.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Deal. It has to be somewhere in a warehouse district with wet concrete at night. You bring the money and a picture of them, and then somewhere in there I will have to make you use the word “kill.” I’ve seen a lot of Law & Order. Those are the rules.

          I’ll bring my brain.

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          Tsk, tsk, tsk. A mind is a terrible thing to waste someone with, Slade.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Damn, Anon.
          That was downright witty!
          I like you even better every day.

          Oh. Slade?
          Dark alley, warehouse district, wet concrete.
          Got it.
          Got it.
          I have no problem using the word “KILL!”

        • Slade Ham says:

          @ Irene – That last part is the important part.

          @ Anon – That was witty indeed. Bravo, my friend.

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          Thank you kindly. Now please don’t give me another second’s thought. Seriously, dude.

        • Slade Ham says:

          I have to. Now that I’m back in the States I have to go catch up on my reading, and you sir, are in that pile.

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:


        • Slade Ham says:

          Fine, then. Hahaha. I’ll read it after I take a nap.

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          Wait – will the rest recharge your killin’ juice or strengthen your control over it? Whichever is safer for me, do that one.

        • Slade Ham says:

          I’m not sure. This exchange has you fresh on my mind. I’m hoping you don’t surface in a dream, and that you are in fact still around when I wake up.

          Just to be safe, I wouldn’t play with any power tools for the next few hours.

    • Matt says:

      Ah. Bumping off the last few associates of your past who survived your previous culls, are you now?

      • Irene Zion says:

        Shut up!
        (I thought you were good at keeping secrets!)

        • Slade Ham says:

          You can always just add Matt to the list I suppose, hahahaha.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Naa, I could never hurt Matt.
          He’s a sweetie pie.
          Besides, I’m going to try to figure out how he can teach me martial arts even though I’m on the opposite coast and I have arthritis.
          Can you learn martial arts if your hands hurt all the time, Matt?

  11. Simon Smithson says:

    In reference to Irene’s comment, Slade – if I send you a list and some photos….?

    • Slade Ham says:

      This is almost tempting. I would suggest some sort of social experiment here, but I am honestly scared that I really do have the power to off people by thinking about them.

      Holy shit… I mean, what if I can?

      • Simon Smithson says:

        We may have spoken about this before, but every now and then I’ll see if I can move something with my mind – because what if I’ve developed telekinesis and I haven’t realised? What a waste!

        • Slade Ham says:

          We must have had this conversation before. It sounds too familiar. I do the exact same thing. The harder I try though, the less likely it seems that I will.

          So I just go about my day, randomly dropping lead singers on accident.

          I must harness this power and use it for good somehow.

        • Judy Prince says:

          OK, Slade, you can harness your power for the good by thinking about the adverts at the top of TNB’s home page. [whispers “kill adverts, kill adverts”]

          Absolutely loved this re jazzed-up Jerome: “He looked like Lorenzo Lamas on a shooting range.”

          And this: “Those people you made fun of in high school? Once a year, they all get together and go to a Dio concert.”

          And this: “Seventeen songs, and every one had something to do with either mountains, or demons, or the sea, or more demons, or devils, wizards, or dragons, or a castle, or a castle on a mountain by the sea where there are demons and wizards.”

          And this: “We tried to find Jerome again, but looking for a long haired guy in a black shirt at a Dio concert is somewhat like that scene in The Thomas Crown Affair where all the duplicates were walking around with the briefcases.”

          And this was my Matt Tea-Spit moment, Slade: “We also learned that you can sing Billy Joel’s Piano Man to every Dio song.” HOOOOT!!!

          Stay goofy!

        • Slade Ham says:

          I had pictures of Jerome from that night at one point, though they’ve long since been lost on some hard drive or another. I’m so glad so many of those lines connected. It was truly a childishly fun night.

          And the Billy Joel thing? Totally true.

          I’d work on those ads if I didn’t think Listi had absolutely thought it 100% through before he did it. Still, I’m with ya. Yuck.

        • Judy Prince says:

          Exactly what made this piece a howl, Slade—-you into the guy-childish night of mockery. I could read a whole bookful of this stuff! Duh. You’ve prolly already written one—–but you forgot to advert it on the top of TNB’s main page.

          BTW, “admin” and Brad Listi are two different entities. Brad doesn’t make decisions; he just posts funny stuff from time to time here and he teaches people how to write. Admin does all the decision-making, and he’s a robot with lotsa teeth and big eyes, so no big deal. You can go ahead and think killing thoughts about the adverts. I expect to see them wither within the week (an alliterative riff, Justin Case you didn’t notice).

        • Dana says:

          sidenote: I hadn’t noticed the advertising until you mentioned it. Happily oblivious. 🙂

        • Slade Ham says:

          @ Dana – Can you have a sidenote without a main note?

          @ Judy – One of these days I’m going to get all of these stories on paper. I certainly haven’t written it yet. It probably wouldn’t be the most boring book out there.

        • Judy Prince says:

          Everything Dana says is noteworthy, Slade—-even if she can’t see the stuff that’s at the top of the main page. She’s just too happy to pay attention to that stuff. I heart Dana!

      • Mind-killing people is all well and good, but let me know when you discover how to make Sweet, Sweet Mind Love.

        I’m thinking first stop is Pat Benatar’s house?

        And anyway, I keep hearing Dio is alive and it’s all a hoax. Did you mind-hoax him? That’s a skill I want to acquire. Make Joe Lieberman hear a 24-hour loop of the Jerky Boys in his head until Christmas.

        • Slade Ham says:

          I haven’t perfected the art of Sweet Mind Love yet, but if we’re headed to Pat Benetar’s house I’m going to need not only that, but the gift of time travel as well. We’re going to need to get back to the late 70’s. I have rules against sixty year old women.

        • According to the rules of SML, at least as I understand them, you can pick your Moment In Time, like “Pat Benatar, 1984, in the talent trailer, five minutes after the last take of the Love Is A Battlefield” video….”…Leering pimp not included.


        • Slade Ham says:

          As long as it’s that moment, I’m in. She would be perfectly sweaty and not too old yet. That video always reminds me of Thriller for some reason.

          And I think SML needs a Wiki page.

    • Irene Zion says:


      Na uh! You have to do the same shit I do.
      dark alley, wet concrete, photo, KILL! etc.

  12. Amanda says:

    Hang on…I think a big BIG issue is being overlooked here!

    Months ago, wasn’t Simon Smithson writing about precisely this phenomenon? Thinking things into existence (although in his case, it was framed more like freaky coincidence)?

    Slade–have you been thinking things about Simon? Perhaps there’s some long-distance supernatural-ishness going on! You think it. Simon experiences it. And so on. This has the potential for entering the territory of either evil (a la voodoo) or good (like the Wonder Twins).

    What happens next all depends on how you harness this power!

    • Slade Ham says:

      Greeeeat. The SSSHE.

      I don’t recall where all of this began, probably because I drink a bit. Maybe there is some cross-hemisphere mindfuck going on. Simon and I, slowly changing the world.

      How shall we use it?

      • Amanda says:

        Well, if it were me…first, I’d ask for a pony and then a cheap flight to New York City. Then I’d probably turn my attention toward cleaning up the waterfront and the streets at night, gangster-style. Not to mention, if either of you needs a date, you can probably swing some pretty good wingman action with your newly articulated super powers.

        Just some ideas to get you started…

        • Slade Ham says:

          Super powered wingmen? Danger, danger. I may never get around to the waterfront now.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          With great power comes great responsiblity… unless you’d rather spend the day wishing bottles of Laphroaig into existence and making slurring calls to TV stations.

          ‘Hey! Hey NBC! If you don’t put I Dream of Jeannie on right now then I’m going to give you what I gave Ronnie James…’

        • Slade Ham says:

          Somehow manifesting Scotch doesn’t seem like a totally wasted endeavor. I would do the Jeannie thing with my nose too, right as I killed the network execs. Ding-a-ding-a-ding!

          I have no idea how to type that noise actually.

      • Judy Prince says:

        I think your magic thinking’s infectious, Slade. It prolly travels as is usual with magic stuff, on thoughtwaves. I’m also part of it now, having been thoughtwaved by your post and your comments.

        To wit: A nour ago, a funny (as in humorous) guy named Jeff Hecker whom I’ve been trying to get hold of for 5 years leaves a message for me on my Frisky Moll Press site! Five years I’d been trying to find him! I usually use his one-liners under my sig on emails. Here’s the one I’m using this week, followed by some of his others:

        “Ostriches can’t be beheaded.”

        “The gun under my pillow is aimed away from my wife’s head, away.”

        “Nobody smart would invade Wisconsin.”

        “Books printed in German take longer to burn.”

        “At this moment, a woman is excreting diamonds.”

        “Southern hospitality has ten years left.”

        “I can’t read my library card.”

        “Trash is tumbleweed in the city.”

        “Billie Jean is not my lover.”

        “Loincloth attracts wolves.”

        “I would break-dance for a Ho-Ho.”

        “Barbed wire just ain’t working.”

        “I get jittery in grocery lines.”

        “People in Oregon used TNT to explode a whale carcass, and blubber hit those running a quarter-mile away.”

        “I would pay to see juggling added to Spelling Bees.”

        “I so rarely fuck up Jell-O.”

        All of the preceding one-liners are from Jeff Hecker, Norfolk VA

        • Slade Ham says:

          “Ostriches can’t be beheaded.”


        • Judy Prince says:

          Yeah, nice clean quick kill!

          I gave him the URL for your TNB archived biog and pieces.

          Another from Jeff Hecker:

          “No porno features director’s commentary.”

        • Slade Ham says:

          A fellow comic used to do a joke about porn stars doing interviews. I can’t remember the exact joke, but I know it featured the question, “So… In Crocodile Blondie, when you were being double penetrated by both a white and black man, was that your way of speaking of the duality of mankind?”

        • Judy Prince says:

          A very sudden Matt Tea-Spit moment, Slade!!! Hahahahahaha!

          Now *that* interviewer is worthy of (venereal) veneration.

  13. Andrew Nonadetti says:

    Slade, it’s ridiculous to blame yourself for such a natural occurrence. A natural… untraceable… occurrence. However, if you’re up for a little experiment, I have a short list of names I’m going to email you. Details and payment to follow.

    • Slade Ham says:

      Yes. Natural. That will sound just fine in court. It was “cancer”.

      Like I told Simon, I’m a bit scared to try, though it feels like I’m cheating myself if I don’t. Perhaps one victi-, er, subject?

  14. Art Edwards says:

    Dude, all those devil signs? It was bound to catch up with him.

  15. ChrisNeri says:

    My first Sabbath album was ‘Heaven & Hell’ which is weird to think about. It’s like getting into the Hagar years before the Roth years of Van Halen (although Sabbath’s Dio years were better then the Hagar VH years but that goes without saying)

    Dio had some good stuff. I’ve been getting into them in recent years. You’re right, though. VERY goofy D&D lyrics. Which is half the fun!

    • Slade Ham says:

      That’s unbelievable to me, discovering Sabbath without Ozzy. I could argue with you on a few Hagar VH songs. I’m going to have to dig in and go back through the Dio/Sabbath stuff.

      I blame Joe Daly and Mob Rules for this. I really, really do.

      • ChrisNeri says:

        Well, to be fair I was, like, 14 when I discovered Sabbath with Dio. I didn’t know better! 😉

        I’m listening to ‘Heaven & Hell’ for the first time in years actually. It’s not bad…Sabbath were a VERY different kind of band with Dio.

        • Slade Ham says:

          I agree completely. I’m mad that I don’t have the album with me – it’s at home on my external drive.

          In two days, I’m going on a Dio/Sabbath/H&H spree. I feel bad for my neighbors, but I’m going to give it a fair chance.

  16. reno dio says:


    say, man. don’t feel bad for killing dio. he had to die sometime. and you’re right: he is easy to make fun of. i understand that, i personally think that he had a great voice and recorded some classic metal tracks.

    but since you have a thing for killing rock and rollers can you PLEASE kill paul stanley? really, slade. he’s an utter bore and his death is long overdue. keep me posted on your voodoo and i’ll keep an eye on the ticker-tape for the glorious news.

    btw: cool story. i’ve always liked your style.

    i speed at night,

    • Slade Ham says:

      Ooooh… kill the Starchild? I suppose I could add him to my list, though he did pen Detroit Rock City, one of the only forgivable KISS offenses.

      And thanks, for the compliment , Reno.

      I only know in my world, I hate the light.

  17. Slade,

    You have an uncanny gift for storytelling. Not only are you hilarious but you always manage to make me feel like I missed out on one of the funnest events ever.

    Here’s to Ronnie James Dio, the tiniest man in the history of metal, though Alice Cooper is a close second. Here’s to Jerome for finding DNA with those glasses, and here’s to you for suffering from SSE.

    • Slade Ham says:

      Oh, but you did miss out on a glorious night. I don’t think I came close to describing it as it really was. But cheers, to Dio. With his furry boots and all.

      And to the SSE, or the SSSHE in this case.

    • ChrisNeri says:

      In terms of tiniest men in metal I have to nominate Glenn Danzig. I met him in person and he was very short. I’m about 5’7″ myself, kind of short for a dude. He was easily a foot shorter than me.

      • Slade Ham says:

        Not only is Danzig short, he is an asshole. I was at the House of Blues a year or so ago and ran into him in the Foundation Room after his show. I didn’t know he was even playing. Total dick. That’s why I don’t like meeting people I like musically. Not his solo stuff, but the Misfits.

        But I think Dio is shorter.

      • Glen Danzig is as tall as his neck is wide. Isn’t Henry Rollins really short, too? But burly. Dio was just itty bitty.

        • Slade Ham says:

          ‘I’m pretty sure Rollins has a few inches on both of them. He’s like 5’7″ or so. Maybe 5’8″… not to mention he is a fucking badass.

          Danzig is just an angry midget.

          Or, as my buddy Johnny calls them, a Shetland Person.

        • Matt says:

          I ran into them both when I was working at the HOB in New Orleans. Rollins is a bit taller than Danzig for sure, and much, much cooler. As Slade says, Danzig was a just a big asshole.

        • Art Edwards says:

          But the Shortest Ever Rock Singer Award goes to:

          Udo Dirkschneider of Accept.

          YouTube him and tell me I’m wrong.

        • Slade Ham says:

          5’1″. That’s impressive. And there’s always MiniKiss, too 🙂

        • What’s wrong with being 5’1″?

          MiniKiss manages to entertain me to no end.

        • Slade Ham says:

          MiniKiss is hilarious. Most midgets are. We’ve talked about this, hahahaha.

          They just played here and I skipped it because of my foot. Stupid, stupid me.

  18. Matt says:

    Like Becky, I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard a Dio song, though I did know a bit about the man. Didn’t know he was sick, though, and I have thrown a few devil horns myself as a sign of support for my mourning metalhead friends.

    Now, since you seem to have become Mentok the Mindtaker, do me a small favor: think very hard about the Jonas Brothers, Glenn Beck, Michael Bay, and whoever this Justin Bieber twerp is.

    • Slade Ham says:

      Rainbow in the Dark? Holy Diver? Man on the Silver Mountain? Those three are almost rock standards. And he invented the devil horns. I had no idea he was sick either. I started a thread on Facebook to torment my friend – I die hard worshiper of Dio. Two days after I started it, a hoax story ran saying that he had died, and then a day after that, he actually did.

      As for your list, consider it done.Michael Bay may get a pass just for the first Transformers movie, but the other three are being thought about as I type.

      My list is growing…

      • Matt says:

        No, no, and no, alas. And my last girlfriend was a pretty major metalhead. I did know about the devil horns–though that gesture originates in an old folk custom for warding off the evil eye.

        I would say Transformers 2 would commute any pass Michael Bay might have otherwise earned.

  19. jmblaine says:

    Serendipity that I stand here next to Reno
    There were probably dudes
    at your concert that looked like
    me and Reno
    lots of them.

    I’m a big Dio mark
    and big mark for the Heaven and Hell record.

    You got to bleed
    for the dancer.

    • Slade Ham says:

      I have no doubt that some of the finest men I’ve passed illegal substances back and forth with at those concerts were men like you and Reno.

      Rest easy… there’s a new convert in the fold. The Heaven & Hell record is going to get lots of play when I get back in the States.

      Here’s a big LOOOoookOOWWWwwwwT!!! in tribute.


      • jmblaine says:

        Dio got the Devil Horns
        from his Italian grandmother
        who I think
        was Sophia
        on the Golden Girls.
        It’s a way of giving the evil eye
        a hex of sorts.

        Go on You Tube
        and listen to Ronnie James’
        Doo Wop records.
        from the 60s.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Was his grandmother really Estelle Getty?

          Dio doing doo wop? That’s not only alliterative, but incredibly intriguing. To YouTube I go…

        • J.M. Blaine says:

          It wasn’t really doo-wop I guess – more like
          Frankie Lymon or something.

          There’s some links at the bottom
          and one to him singing gospel
          from his record with the Kansas dude.

          And a clip here that I thought was especially sweet.
          I loved this stuff when I was a little kid
          but evangelists were always telling us how evil
          they were. We knew better though.

          Ozzy Osbourne called Dio one of metal’s “greatest voices”.

          Dio replaced Osbourne as the Black Sabbath singer in 1980. In a statement, Osbourne said: “My heart goes out to his family and to his many fans. … Love and respect.”

          Sabbath bassist Terry ‘Geezer’ Butler visited Dio in hospital and said of the day: “In the evening, the chaplain came, and we all gathered around Ronnie’s bed and prayed. At 11pm, most of us left, leaving Wendy [Ronnie’s wife] her privacy to say her last farewell. The devastation was palpable.”

          In another statement, rock legends Kiss said: “In addition to his powerhouse vocal ability, Ronnie was a true gentleman who always emanated great warmth and friendship to us and everyone around him.”

          I don’t think there is a last farewell.
          I hope Dio is on the silver mountains
          of Heaven
          And I hope he’s 12 foot tall.




        • Slade Ham says:

          Oh, JM. This stuff is amazing. I had no idea.

          Ozzy Osbourne called Dio one of metal’s “greatest voices”.

          That will get Dio to the top of any mountain he wants, silver or not.

          I’m very glad I caught him live when I could. So funny how someone that no one really seemed to think about that much could prompt such a lively and heartfelt discussion.

          Evangelists are seldom right about those kinds of things.

        • J.M. Blaine says:

          Dio took Ozzy’s job in Black Sabbath and initially
          said some very unnice things about him.

          I think it’s a beautiful thing
          to see these old princes of darkness
          speaking gracefully and saying prayers at bedsides
          and being kind to one another.

          I had initially thought about
          writing a little ode post to Dio
          but I’m glad you did
          because you inspire heartfelt discussions.

          Dio, number one of TNB for what – a week now?
          you did a good thing, sir.

          Now, don’t kill Paul Stanley.
          I love him too.

          And if you have any powers
          use them to
          save Bret.

        • Slade Ham says:

          I hope the post did do him justice. I do. I think I would rather have read yours than written mine though.

          As for Bret, I can only do so much. I pulled him from the brink of death, or thought as hard as I could about it, but he’s the one that wants to get back in to the ring so soon. My fingers are crossed.

      • reno says:

        okay, THAT’S IT!

        let’s get high…

    • Irene Zion says:

      “You got to bleed
      for the dancer.”

  20. Does Jerome know you just wrote the prologue to his eulogy?

    • Slade Ham says:

      I’m hoping Jerome stumbles over this way and finds this. I haven’t talked to him in years.

      They’ll have to bury him in his jewelry. It’s only right.

  21. Richard Cox says:

    I know everyone else has already asked something similar, but do you mind thinking about Nancy Grace really, really hard? And maybe Glenn Beck while you’re at it?

    What shocked me about RJD is that he was almost 70. Jeez. These dragon slayer rock gods are older than I thought.

    • Slade Ham says:

      Well, hey stranger. Looks like the list has grown.

      Nancy Grace
      Glenn Beck
      Paul Stanley
      Justin Bieber
      The Jonas Brothers
      Scott Stapp.

      I’m still waiting for Anon and Irene to submit their lists. Btw, if any of these people actually die, I want immunity.

      • Zara Potts says:

        Wow. Don’t you think Justin Bieber is a little too young to be on your mind kill list? I mean – give the kid a couple more years at least!

      • Brandy says:

        Paris Hilton
        Kardashian Family

        Thanks. I’ll enclose payment with your birthday card.

        • Slade Ham says:

          @ Matt – It’s reeeeally bad.

          @ Zara – Yeah, you better.

          @ Brandy – No payment necessary. This one is definitely for the greater good.

        • Brandy says:

          Now I know who really took out Kurt Cobain!!! And maybe MJ, too!! Where does your rock-star genocide end???

          “Be mindful of the living Force, my young Padawan.”

        • Slade Ham says:

          I will take no blame for either of those two. Not one bit…

        • reno says:


          sure, kill the kardashians, too. just not kim. it’s that ass (it’s GIMORMOUS and very, uh, awake…). and those knockers. oh, and her fucking eyelashes! have some heart, slade.

        • Slade Ham says:

          No… I’m afraid all things Kardashian must go. As a matter of fact, anything even CLOSE to Kardashian has to be eliminated. So much so, that I’m going to have to take out the cast of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

          Kardashian. Cardassian. Get it?


          I really just outed myself as a closet sci-fi fan, didn’t I?

        • Brandy says:

          Can we make them priority? Is Ryan Seacrest technically part of the Kardashian family?? Please clarify.

          You didn’t out yourself. It’s a widely known secret.

      • Irene Zion says:

        Wait, Slade,
        did you change the rules?
        I would’ve sent you my list already,
        but I have all these prerequisites
        that apparently
        don’t have.
        I fear
        may be on your list
        why else
        the dark alley?

  22. Dana says:

    Slade, I’m coming to the conclusion that despite your scary killing ability, you’re one of the funniest guys around. This was great!

    And just a wee bit of advice — careful what you love!

    • Slade Ham says:

      Thanks, Dana. Clearly, I’m trying to find the funny in serial-mind-killings. I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      And that advice is sage. With great power comes great responsibility. I’ll be careful. Promise.

  23. Gloria says:

    This is frickin’ hilarious. You, too, are frickin’ hilarious.

    That’s one hell of a talent you have. I have a list of people that I’d like you to meditate on. It’s a very small list. Let me know what you think.

    Welcome back!

    • Slade Ham says:

      The list has already begun. I’ll take your suggestions, but only after I’ve dealt with some of Creed, part of KISS, most of the Disney Channel’s artists, Glenn Beck, VH-1’s entire lineup, and that whiny kidnapped kid lady from Headline News.

      Then there are Anon and Irene’s lists…

      Toss it on though. This pile shall burn.

  24. Jordan Ancel says:

    Slade, you must use your powers for good!

    • Slade Ham says:

      It may be too late for that, my friend. I’m trying to atone by taking a few modern rocks “singers” with me. I’ve added Chad Kroeger to a growing list.

      If that’s not good I don’t know what is.

      • Jordan Ancel says:

        That IS good. Keep adding to that list. And if I may contribute, Fred Durst and Rob Zombie are my nominees.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Fred Durst I can do, happily. I’m on the fence about RZ though. I really, really am. I like him.

  25. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    I was just discussing the Dio tragedy on a cafe patio in Venice this past Sunday. My friend (from high school, no less — someone with whom I shared endless hours of the kind of drunken adolescent mockery you so aptly describe) told me a little story about Dio. Her husband is in a band and had a photo shoot with Dio. The husband is a big man, Dio was not. So the husband tries to get down and back to even the score, but Dio wouldn’t have it. Dio kept it real. He said, It’s alright, man. I’m small.

    The Tao of Dio.

    This whole making people appear with spontaneous thought phenomenon is a skill we share. I don’t, however, empower anyone’s demise.

    How much do you charge? It’s a small hit list. We’ll call it a handful.

    • Slade Ham says:

      Man, that’s gangster. He’s like a metal Yoda.

      And I will happily take on your cases. If they’re celebrities it’s easy. If I don;t know them I’ll need a picture and short bio. I have to be able to concentrate on them. Porn stars seem to be the easiest for some reason.

      If it’s for the greater good, it’s on me.

  26. reno says:

    oh, danzig! don’t get me started on that fuckeeen hack. hate him. slade put him on your list. wait! is he dead already? i haven’t heard any of his lame-ass shit in years – which is a good thing. i had a band that would do a spoof on his “mother” song. the crowd LOVED it.

    sucker/you bought my album i can pay the rent…

    • 1159 says:

      Oh man,
      I know he’s hard to love
      but I love Danzig.

      Wicked Pussycat.

    • Slade Ham says:



      Misfit Danzig I like, and can’t mind-kill him based on that. I will – and might have had I had a few more whiskeys in me that night – punch him in the face. Or the top of his head. It’s easier to aim for.

      • renozig says:

        oh, man. i dunno what to say. i guess i should just let this one go…
        but i hate that fucker. i think he blows. but what do i know? nothing. i know NOTHANG!

      • renozig says:

        no shit, slade. the tune went over well ALL the time. too funny. anyhow, new album? good god. well, hey, you have to make a living, right?

        i won’t be buying it, but it can serve as a prompt for you to write a piece on it. you can count on me for at least 20 comments. hey, what are friends for?

  27. Erika Rae says:

    I’m always afraid I’m going to kill someone with my mind. I mean, I have no superhero powers to date and I am still convinced that I am going to actually off somebody with a thought. It consumes me. Not that I am constantly thinking of the death of those around me…oh nevermind.

    I am still laughing about all of this. Slade, you’re such a master. I was already giggling uncontrollably at your piece and then Ricky entered the stage and I fucking fell apart. I may never be the same again.

    On a scholarship. I like that.

    • Slade Ham says:

      How wonderful now that I have a visual of you giggling uncontrollably to go on now. And Ricky has pushed this so far over the edge of hilarity that it’s almost not funny again.

      Now leave the killing to me, a trained professional.


      • Zara Potts says:

        You guys are so bad for making fun of Ricky. I’m going to get some badges made up and bring them with me so you can wear his cute little face on your clothes every single day.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Trust me, there’s love in our ridicule 🙂

          And I will happily wear a Ricky the Retard Monkey badge. Believe it.

        • Zara Potts says:

          I just can’t understand why they would call him Ricky. And his asshole brother – Dennis. I mean what kind of names are these for monkeys? Even retarded and psychopathic ones…

  28. Carl D'Agostino says:

    You had better erase all this stuff from this post and the net and and pay off everyone who has read it because if THEY find out you have this killing power via thought alone, the President will have no choice but to get the Pentagon or the CIA to pick you up like yesterday fast. And good Lord, there is no telling what they will force you to do. So your family might be safer stashed in North Korea . In Russia they have this guy that can make people come ” back ” to life by day dreaming about the person and that may be even worse. Please heed my admonishment Mr. Ham because through your stuff on the blog you seem like a decent fellow, but believe me you are in way too far over your head here and in a lot of trouble and I am concerned about your well being over this foolish indiscretion of broadcasting your power ALL OVER THE WORLD. Good Lord what were you thinking? Keep my email address inside your shoe and if they take you to Area 51, I have friends on the inside. I am also a very important Presbyterian and will work The Big Guy Upstairs angle too in your behalf. Do not take this matter lightly, Mr. Ham.

  29. Joe Daly says:


    I can’t stop laughing, even though the serious metal guy in me wants me to shut up. Here’s where you pinned the tail on the dragon:

    >>Seventeen songs, and every one had something to do with either mountains, or demons, or the sea, or more demons, or devils, wizards, or dragons, or a castle, or a castle on a mountain by the sea where there are demons and wizards.<<

    So true! That’s one of the funniest parts about Dio’s lyrics- they are almost entirely incapable of being related to by people. Orcs or creatures from middle earth, sure. Wizards? Definitely. But yeah, how are people going to relate to dragons and divers and hell and more mountains? Unless of course they’ve got a belly full of hallucinogens, in which case it all makes perfect sense.

    Dio clearly built a career on the sound of his own voice. He was just lucky enough that his voice is one of the greatest metal voices ever. Backed by supernova-sized riffs, he went from being the scrawny little Italian kid to a metal icon.

    For me the defining snapshot of Dio is in the documentary, “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey.” He’s so honored to be interviewed (and yeah, it appears to be a bit of an ego trip as well), that he invites the crew back to hang out at his house. He comes across as a sincere, decent guy who, were it not for heavy metal, would probably be working in desktop support of some company’s IT department.

    Rockin’ good piece. Glad you had some righteous tunes to escort you around the Middle East. Man, too bad Dio never sang about sand, or your trip would have been EPIC!

  30. […] of dragons…and of Ronnie James Dio…but not of your […]

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