ROCK FOR RONNIE 2023 Brings Rock, Talent, and Hope to LA!

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Jason Charles Miller

The Ronnie James Dio charity, Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, has contributed to both cancer related research and support since 2011.  They host several events annually, allowing attendees and contributors to honor Dio’s life and make a measurable difference.  On May 7th, Rock for Ronnie brought together a collection of metal icons not to mourn death but to extend and celebrate life.

It was a sold-out show at the Los Encinos State Historical Park in California.  SUAS brought vendors, food trucks, and music to the small open field.  By mid-morning, traffic in the surrounding neighborhood hinted at what was to come.  Where else could you get great food, drinks, and see some of the best rock and metal has to offer…and all going to a good cause?  Rock for Ronnie was the hot ticket this weekend, and people without tickets were already being turned away at the gates.

Atomic Punks

The day began with the sounds of Jason Charles Miller’s southern rock band.   Bluesy and heavy, the former frontman of Godhead played a thunderous set under a sunny noontime sky.  Miller and crew set the tone for a day of giving and celebrating.  Following JCM, the crowd  was treated to a tribute to another band: Van Halen.  If you hadn’t seen The Atomic Punks during their decades long career, today was the day.  The latest lineup of the Van Halen cover band was a double-take inducing blast from the past.  They were the closest thing to taking a time machine back to the Sunset Strip, circa 1978.  Vocalist, Brian Geller, was David Lee Roth.  High kicks.  High jumps.  High screams.  Bassist Joe Lester matched the signature Michael Anthony backing vocals with Geller’s pitch-perfect choruses.  If you missed the best era of Van Halen, The Atomic Punks will let you run with the devil one more time.

Doug Aldrich

Following TAP’s bit of guitar shredding nostalgia, Rock for Ronnie brought out the heavy hitters.  Steamroller (composed of Doug Aldrich, Brian Tichy, and Michael Devin) are industry veterans, having performed with the likes of Whitesnake, Dio, and The Dead Daisies.  Their set included music from The Beastie Boys, Dio, Whitesnake, and more.  Aldrich has been a mainstay for SUAS and this current iteration of the supergroup did not disappoint.  Steamroller welcomed the likes of Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy, Quiet Riot), dUg Pinnick (King’s X), and Jesse Hughes (Eagles of Death Metal) to the stage.  Surprises were around every corner.

Wendy Dio

The event, mc’d by XM’s Eddie Trunk, helped raise more the $50,000 for cancer research.  Both silent and live auctions saw metal fans open their hearts and wallets in the name of Ronnie.  One couple won Metallica’s entire vinyl catalog, including autographs, for $2200.  Wendy Dio was on hand for the auctions and reminded us of the importance of preventive care and the necessity of further advancements in treatment.  These donations help meet these goals.

The afternoon concluded with the Dio Disciples who ran through classic Dio and Dio fronted Black Sabbath tracks.  Terry Ilous (XYZ) and Dyna Shirasaki (ThundHerStruck) shared vocal duties in a perfect exchanged of verses—both equally powerful.  Joined by Dio keyboardist, Scott Warren (Dio), and bassist Bjorn Englen (Quiet Riot, Yngwie Malmsteen), the Dio Disciples were so much more than a cover band.  They were the band of the day.  Highlighting the set was a performance by singer Ann Boleyn (Hellion) who channeled the spirit of a man that changed rock and metal forever.

Dyna Shirasaki

The Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund is making a difference.  These events consistently bring out talented and generous artists from the rock and metal community.  More importantly, they honor the memory of Ronnie James Dio and increase awareness of this devastating disease.  Music brings us together through lyrics, melody, and power.  The Rock for Ronnie 2023 event did this and more.  Through the heartfelt contributions of the artists and audience, it took us another step forward towards saving lives.

CLICK HERE to view photo gallery from the event.

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