Funny thing about Ronnie James Dio: He was really short. OK, that’s not really that funny, but in context, it has resonance. Dio not-so-ironically fronted a band called Elf before he rose to fame in bands like Black Sabbath, Rainbow and his own eponymous ensemble. His voice is legendary, equal parts gritty and melodic. Though he died of stomach cancer in 2010, his legacy is all metal. Powerful, awesome metal. He may have been short, but dude could sing metal like no one else.
If you’re a metal fan, you have probably already exposed your kid to your favorite bands. I know when my kid was just beginning to recognize sounds as music, we would listen to some pretty heavy stuff, including John Zorn’s Naked City and doom-metal group Sunn. She still digs it, and often requests various metal and punk songs. As a musician, I see it as a way of exposing her to a wide variety of sound and texture. We balance it with other genres, but metal – aggressive, strong, powerful – is something kids immediately identify with.
Couple that with Dio’s rise to the top of the Silver Mountain of Metal, despite his stature, and what a great lesson to teach a kid: “Dio was, for all intents and purposes, a geeky little guy, but dammit he took hold and made a lifelong career in the heaviest of all musical genres. He made it to the top. You can too, kid, no matter what you choose to do. Turn your weakness into strength. Throw up those metal horns and give ‘em hell.”
OK, maybe that’s a little too mighty for a tyke to embrace, but this Dio Wee Rock Toddler T-shirt certainly makes a statement. The flames, the metal horns, the classic Dio logo (which supposedly spells “evil” when turned upside-down) — it’s all ‘80s metal, full-power and blasting. So slip this shirt on your little Mini-Me, crank up “Man on the Silver Mountain” or “Rainbow in the Dark,” and start banging yer head while slipping that kid a spoonful of crushed peas.
You can purchase the Dio Wee Rock Toddler T-Shirt at Tinman Merchandising.