Tracing the growth and development of the music of geek culture is, in itself, a strange journey. As music-making is a particularly scholarly pursuit, it has attracted the more studious among us since early man first realized the power inherent in properly placed words and a simple melody.
Though filk is generally its earliest recognized progenitor, it represents only a single element of our musical heritage. Heavy metal, with its emphasis on fantasy imagery and recurring themes of alienation and the supernatural, is as much a part of modern incarnations of nerd music as the filk circles of old. Which brings me to what is easily strangest (although still oddly appropriate) tribute to iconic metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio to pop up since his recent passing.
Dio was renowned for both his unmistakable voice and the role he played in popularizing the “devil horns” hand symbol which has recently escaped the isolated confines of the heavy metal show and into the repertoire of every faux–hawked jackass on American reality TV. His musical career spanned a half-century, with highlights including everything from the geek-tastically named blues-rock quintet Elf to its later incarnation with Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore, Rainbow, and even to his famed stint with Black Sabbath following the departure of Ozzy Osbourne.
Still, here in the States Dio is best known for a pair of singles from the 1982 debut by the band that bore his name. The first was the album’s title track, “Holy Diver,” while the second, the stirring “Rainbow in the Dark,” was recently lovingly recreated by electro/chip-rock duo Tetrastar using Gameboy, a stylophone and pretty much every other instrument lying around their flat.
Composed of Oliver Hindle (AKA: Superpowerless) and Jaylyn Coffin (formally of Florida nerdcore outfit Emergency Pizza Party,) the duo put an interesting spin on a heavy metal classic. So break out your DMG, throw on that old denim vest and headbang around your kitchen in memory of the fallen.