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Dion "A Life in Music"

Updated: Jan 30





Think back to the birth of modern day Rock'nRoll and then think of all of those who were around in the 1950s and make a list of those who are still making music and playing live today in 2024 it is not a long list but it does feature Dion DiMucci who continues to release new music into what is now an 8th decade and following on from his acclaimed recent releases "Stomping Ground" and "Blues with Friends" which saw him collaborate with among others Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons and Joe Bonamassa comes "Girlfriends" which continues the format and includes a cast of Susan Tedeschi, Carlene Carter, Joanne Shaw Taylor to name just a few, the album is out in April this year we met up with Dion this month

to look back on his extraordinary career and to look forward to his latest release we also talk about the tragic events of the night 65 years ago this February 3 when the plane carrying

Buddy Holly, Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens crashed taking their lives.

Photographs courtesy of David Godlis




tim caple

Here we are about to welcome this fourth album that you've put together in eight years, which is remarkable after seven decades performing as you have been. And you're arguably in the most productive period of your entire career. So what is the key ingredient, not only to this longevity, but to maintaining the quality of what you do?


DION

Well, Tim, I think underneath it all, I've been clean and sober for like 55 years. I talked to Eric Clapton about this, and I think that has a lot to do with it, because back in 1968, I was living in chaos, and I don't know if I would have made it through my 20s. So I just put down the...

the cigarettes, the drugs, the alcohol in 1968, and I haven't looked back. So I think that has a lot to do with clarity of my mind and my body and I went into like a spiritual 12 step based program. And I think it really helped my life a lot because

I've been married 60 years, I have three daughters. I'm a grateful guy and I'm relaxed, you know? So, you know, I hate to say this, because I know how difficult the lockdown was for a lot of people. There was agony and misery through it, but it was one of the best times of my life. I became so creative. I was, I couldn't go anywhere.


DION

You know, we were like, like in our houses. So I, so I wrote, I was writing the best songs of my life. I seemed like I stepped under the spout where the glory comes out or under the wellspring of creativity. And these songs just start flowing. And one day Joe Bonamassa came over. He said, I want to play on that. And that started it.


I know how to record I know how to make a good record. I wanna transmit this enchantment to people. I wanna, you know, this delight. I want people to go, oh yeah. So I try to make one of those records. But to have a guy like Joe Bonamassa play, you know, I found out how limited I am because I don't think.

in those terms, you know, I didn't even think of a slide guitar player on blues coming on and Then take it back the way Joe plays and then I just I thought this is a great idea I'm gonna ask artists to contribute to my songs. I'm gonna make the record I'm gonna send it because I listen to a lot of music sitting in my truck listening to what I've done

you know, new songs are recorded in the tracks with the musicians. I'm thinking Mark Knopfler would sound good on this. Hey, you know, Susan Tedeschi would sound good on that, you know or Sonny Landreth, you know. And so that's what I've been into. It's been a very, very creative time in my life. Thanks for noticing tim because I...


DION

And I'll tell you one other thing, I don't know, this is crazy. I've always been on somebody else's schedule. So making albums was like pulling teeth or agony at times because I was always waiting for somebody to stop talking for 30 minutes and having to do this, you know, and I had to get ready when everybody else was ready.

I'm doing it on my terms and I'm ready. I'd sing the song. And it's just been wonderful. I've had a great time. It's like a lot of fun doing these albums, I'll tell you.


tim caple

You said previously that you didn't pick the collaborators before the song is done. You write it and then you think, hmm, I think I'd like to hear them on it. Now, is Girlfriends different? Did you write this specifically with the cast list in mind?


DION

No, same thing. I want to, you know, my, the way I think of it is I want to write a great song. You know, the blues, the blues genre is just very guitar driven. I mean, it's all about guitar. You know, it's a lot of guitars. And which I love, that's why I'm in it. I just love guitars. So there's nothing wrong with that. But I want the two, you know, maybe,

it contributes something a little different with the lyrics. You know, like, like for instance, I had this word. Well, let me tell you that when I had this word soul force, so I said, I'm going to write a song about this because these girls that I wanted to do an album with women because I had a great time on the last on Blues with Friends and Stomping Ground, the last two albums. I had a great time with Samantha Fish.

and I had a great time with Ricky Lee Jones. I just loved working with the girls. It was a lot of fun. And there's something about when a beautiful girl walks in the room who's talented, the atmosphere totally changes. It just totally changes. So it's the feminine genius. So I thought, I'm gonna write these songs. I'm gonna come up with a concept. And I start out

strong, you know, like I thought that I could dazzle by distraction and how could she resist my kind of action? You know, and I end up strong with the concept and I wanted to write every song like that and so I got my friend Mike Aquilina to help me out and we honed out these songs and

You're right.


DION

I get these songs and you're right, I like to finish them off. I sing the whole thing. And some I had where they were conversational, you know, like sitting across the table talking to somebody or on the phone or, you know, or together. But I didn't, I didn't want to like.

make it boring. So I, you know, I changed it up a bit. Some girls played guitar like, like Susan Tadeski on Soulful. She killed it. She played guitar, you know. My only regret is, and we both agreed on this somewhere in the future, we're gonna sing together because I just love the way she sings. I love the way she sings. But you're right. I finished the track

And when I'm listening to it, I'm thinking, Rory Block belongs on this song, or Christine Oldman, because I know these people, and I know what they're capable of doing and how much.

information and beauty and truth and good music is in their head. You know, like Christine Oldham, she is steeped in the history of rhythm and blues. So when you give her a song, she just kind of just gets inside of it and gives you herself, you know, and you don't have to tell any... I never told any of these girls anything to do.






tim caple

Do you find now

You're the one that others will maybe come to for inspiration, maybe for guidance or to share thoughts. And if you are the one that is getting in contact with them, there is no shortage of people that are just like, are you kidding? Absolutely. I'm there. What time?

You know, everybody wants to come and be involved. It's almost like, and I don't like using this sort of this term, but I do think it fits you're like the godfather


DION

Well, you know, to be honest with you, I was like, I never felt like that, but never. I mean, that would be kind of insane. That would feel insane to feel like that. I always feel, you know, because I'm calling up these great musicians, you know, but I'll tell you, I get such a wonderful response, especially from Eric Clapton,


He said, you know, you were one of the guys who got me into this, you know, and, and when he, you know, Tim, this, this is very strange. The people I asked to play on my songs, sometimes I think they play better on my songs than they do on their own.


tim caple

You talked about the feminine genius on every track here. But you also have gone into the significant influence of women in your life, beginning with your mother,


DION

Oh yeah, my mother was, you know, she was the hub of the family. She had two jobs and she was strong woman. She, she just worked hard. She was a worker, you know? Uh, and then I have two sisters and then I got married to Susan Butterfield who kind of saved my life in a way. Cause I was a wreck, a train wreck. And, uh, we have three daughters.

And so I always had a lot of women around me, and I have four granddaughters. And so it's just, you know, and I say there's a friend of mine who talks about the feminine genius and I thought, wow, he put a name to it. That's what it is. And it is. It's just, and sometimes they don't have to say a word, you know. It's just incredible.

to have finished this album with these women. It was just, it was really, it was a lot of fun, you know? I did a song with Rory Block called, Don't You Want a Man Like Me? Because, you know, in the blues genre, there's a thing I call bragging rights. You know, I'm a man. I'm the hoochie coochie man. The wanderer, king of the New York street. You know, these bragging rights, you know?


DION

I just love it because they're over the top, you know, mannish boy, but muddy waters, you know, that kind of thing. So I wrote this song called Don't You Want a Man Like Me, you know, the kid is here, you know, so she's Rory Block is a wonderful blues artist, another one who is so steeped in the blues. She has so much to draw on, you know, so she gave it a roll. She comes in the studio and she does this incredible, you know,

contribution. And her husband comes out of the booth, he says, Dion, don't play this for your wife because, I mean, she sounds like Meg Ryan in, what was it, Harry Met Sally? Yeah, when I say, what does she do? I'll have what she's having, you know?











tim caple

In the notes, the album Darlene Love is talking about the influence you had she was saying that you're part of my musical upbringing. Clapton was talking about my musical wake-up when you read these things, how good does it make you feel to know that you've had this influence?


DION

You hit something, something very personal there and very deep inside me and it sounds almost trite to talk about. But let me try to put it together. I'm glad I lived this long because I've never asked for help. And when I started asking people to join me and they were happy to do so, Tim, it made me feel so good.


I can't tell you, I grew up in a world where I thought, you should never ask for help. My mother had such pride, don't ask anybody for help. You gotta do it yourself, that kind of thing. You gotta earn all this pride. So I started asking for help and it was amazing. I sent the song to Patti Scialfa and Bruce Springsteen.

because I love the way Patty Scialfa is the Jersey soul girl, man. So I send her this track called Angel in the Alleyways. And she sends me back, I think it was about 48 tracks and I forgot, but it was numerous tracks, it could have been more, but because this was the only song I sent out just with my guitar, you know, just, just with the guitar.

There was no bass, no drums, no nothing. I wanted her to, I thought she was gonna do harmony and I wanted her to hear it very clearly, what I was doing. But she ended up designing and producing the song and every verse is different. And.

So when you get something like that back from Bruce and Patty, I know this is going to, it's almost embarrassing to say, man, but you feel loved. You feel like, wow, they really gave me time.


DION

If you want to rock and roll, the song is called. I called him up. I said, Eric, you sound 19 years old on this song and I took that like he really, he really wanted to do a good job. And he did, you know, he wanted to put effort into it.


tim caple

He played it standing up, he said, didn't he?


tim caple

Bruce Springsteen was talking about you being the real link between or the only link between Sinatra, rock and roll and the blues. Lou Reed, of course, talking about your voice, saying, listen, once I heard it, it was it was in my head forever. But I think the greatest quote was from Bob Dylan who said

You know, your voice takes its colour from all palettes. He's never lost it and his genius has never deserted him.


DION

Yeah you know, Bob Dylan complimented my songwriting. I thought, wow, I'll take that. Yeah, it, you know, what could I say Tim? It makes you feel good. And that's a beautiful thing, you know. Oh, life is about giving. You know, I'm not saying there's not a place, you know, there's a time to say no, but.

I've just been overwhelmed with these last three albums. First, the friends I've made, I never really had many conversations with Mark Knopfler or Peter Frampton. And I became like friends with these guys are great guys.


DION

It's humbling. They are so humble. They're like so unassuming. And Mark Knopfler was all in, like, wanted to help each other. It was fun working with him. And I love his sound. I was just so overwhelmed by that.






tim caple

I know that Van Morrison's involvement with the Friends album was the first time you said in 57, 58 years that you'd impressed your wife. What did she think of Girlfriends?


DION

Well, she loves the songs and she knows some of these girls. And she just gets so happy to hear us collaborating together, like Debbie Davies and Rory Block and some of these girls. I've been fans forever, like Sue Foley. So Susan is like, she's

happy for me, you know, she's like part of it, you know.



tim caple

You did mention that whenever you get into a room and there are women there, there is a different vibe. Men are different creatures. Is there just the obvious, simple reason for that?


DION

I, well, on some level maybe, you know, but my friend, my co-producer, Wayne Hood, he's married to a beautiful girl, a singer, blonde, tall, gorgeous girl. And he's, when I wrote the liner notes to this album, and I call them the Feminist Genius, the Feminine Genius, he said to me, Dion, I know exactly what you're talking about. He says I can

walk into a rehearsal call with musicians alone,

But when I walk in with Aaron, my wife, the whole room changes. He says the room changes. So I know exactly what you mean. He said, at some level, I think we're all trying to impress, you know, or like get their attention or, you know, at some level, you know, it's amazing.


tim caple

This love of the blues, which when I look and listen to interviews you've done in the past, I'm amazed. It still surprises some people. They're like, oh, you've done a blues album. But this has been a lifetime's dedication after those early years when you were listening to Louis Prima.

I'm trying to imagine the scene. It's like nighttime radio Radio is a big thing then you're in your bedroom, you've got your transistor radio on and you've got this radio station in Virginia pumping out blues. What was it? Hank Williams, Honky Tonk Blues, then Jimmy Reed. Baby, what you want me to do. These were the moments that were defining moments for you as a kid. This is what hooked you in.


DION

Absolutely. Tim, I don't think I've ever changed. I think I'm pretty easy to understand. Because when I was 11, 12, when I heard Hank Williams, I'm from Bronx, New York City. Nobody listened to country music in Bronx. I didn't know what jambalaya meant in the 50s, honky tonk blues. I had no idea even what it meant.

I got hooked on Hank Williams. I started collecting his records. When I went on tour with Buddy Holly, I was playing him the back sides of Hank Williams' 78s. And he didn't even know what they were. I knew about 40 Hank Williams songs by the time I got on tour with Buddy Holly. So, you know, then I heard Jimmy Reed. So I always say I wanted to communicate like Hank Williams.

and write like him. If I could, you know, God, you know, hot golden standard there. But I wanted to communicate like Hank Williams and roll like Jimmy Reed.


tim caple

You had a record shop, didn't you, just up the block, a place called Cousins, which was run by a guy called Lou Cicchetti. You got to know him and he would call you, wouldn't he, whenever there's anything you thought that you'd like. He'd say, hey, you've got to come listen to this and you'd be straight up there.

DION

Yeah.

DION He would call me whenever a new Hank Williams record came out or a new Jimmy Reed record came out. He would get it for me and I would run up there and yeah, he took a liking to me. But Tim, you know, all my life, I've been trying to transmit the feeling that Jimmy Reed and Hank Williams gave me as a kid in here. I wanted to design something and put something together physically.

so I could transmit it to others all my life. I'm still doing that all these years. It's just a passion, you know? Because it took me into a place that we don't experience on this level. It took me to a, you know, transcendence. It took me to a higher reality, a place that of delight and pleasure and enchantment that, you know, that I don't experience on this level.

So, and it stayed with me, you know, it got me on a road and that's what I'm all about. No matter what.





tim caple

71 years, if the dates are right, 71 years since you got up on the stage at Maguire Dix, Lakehurst Army Base, Fort Dix, as they called it, and you did "Cold Cold Heart" "Jambalaya"and "Hey Good Looking". And at the end of the night, you got a guy with a great name, by the way, was it Yodi Bart, gave you $20 and you're like...

Well, I've got to do this for life. I've sung three songs and I've earned more money than my dad makes.


DION

Well, my parents were paying $36 a month rent and they were arguing every day about getting it together you know, back then, when I first went on tour first with Bobby Darin, then my first tour.

I would say 1959 with Buddy Holly. I remember that firemen and policemen made about $80 a week. So I was making much more than that a week. So I was like, nobody in my family ever won like that. But yeah, it really.

motivated me,and that felt good. But you know, I was never, it was never for the money it was always about the music. It's always about the song. When the song is right, the whole band is good-looking. When the song, when the song is right, nobody even cares.


tim caple

did the real career.

directional change come that day that you sat with Aretha Franklin at the piano when John Hammond comes over and says, hey, you've got to listen to this and handed you that stack of Robert Johnson records?


DION

Yeah, you know, I was recording at Columbia and John Hammond's office was maybe five feet away from the door you know. I was the first rock and roll artist assigned to Columbia Records and Aretha was there and they were giving her a lot of Al Jolson songs, you know.

So I got on the piano and started playing drip drop. And John Hammond across the way came in and he said, you really have a flair for the blues. So I've been doing it since back then, but I really never, it never connected where, it just never connected until about 20 years ago when I was being interviewed by Terry Gross for NPR.

And I was punctuating my story with some of the songs I grew up with. And a friend in New York heard me and he said, Dion, you got to do a blues album. And I did, it was called Bronx and Blue.


tim caple

That got Grammy nomination, didn't it?


DION

Just with my guitar, I did it in two days. And when I played that record in my truck, I thought, oh my God, this comes out of me so easy. I don't even have to think. It's like, it's right in the center of my being. It's like breathing. I'm not even aware of my side, it just comes out. So I thought,

this is really the foundation of everything I've done. You know what? And then, you know, when I look back and I see I was doing Ruby Baby, and even Billy Gibbons told me that, he said, Deon, when I was a kid, he said, I went to the record store, I got Ruby Baby, I got The Wanderer, I got Trip Trap, they're all blues songs. He said, and I even think Run Around Sue is a cleverly disguised blues song. So he was...

You know, I just never connected to the genre or the you know, I was just all over the place


tim caple

There was a lot of reluctance initially, wasn't that, to you playing the guitar, especially from the TV and the record company execs in the earlier days. Basically, they were saying, look, lead singers don't play the guitar, put the guitar down and just sing. You're obviously glad you never took the advice.


DION

you know, yeah, it was like that because, you know, I was just looking to, to make a record. I was looking to just do something creative and when I got down to this company, they put me with this group that I really didn't like that, you know, I didn't identify with them. They were older guys, you know, and they were, they were kind of square, you know.

And so I said, listen, if you want me to sing with, you know, a group, I'll, you know, get some of my friends in my neighborhood. I'll get some, I'll recruit some, I'll recruit some guys in my neighborhood. So I did, because I knew guys in my neighborhood used to always hang out near the jukebox and sing harmony and do stuff in the pool room. So I got, you know, three guys and we went down there and we, you know, we started.


We named ourselves Dion and the Belmonts and we started out with du-wop stuff and I was just trying to make a record, but I kind of lost myself. My love was just getting that guitar and selling a song. And somewhere in that mix, it got to me. I said, I love doing this

but I just had to move on, you know? I was hearing different stuff in my head, you know?


tim caple

Your definition of the blues. And it's good to touch on the spiritual aspect. Because you said, when asked the question, it's the naked cry of the human heart longing to be in union with God. And I know a lot of people were quite surprised, they think, oh, the Bible is the source of the blues. Now that is interesting.

As you said, everybody in the Bible has got the blues, including God, from having to deal with us every day of the week.




DION

You know, you said it. And everybody's crying out, you know, they if you read the Psalms, you know, they're all crying out for to get some peace and connection and union, you know, It's it's quite remarkable, you know, you say well, i'm not alone, you know uh, you know people have I like what bono says he says i'm on an you know

I'm on an ancient track of wisdom. I said, yeah, I could see that. You know, there's like a thread from way back there. If you could get on it and make it part of your story, it, there's a lot of sanity in it. There's a lot of, you know, foundation building and that kind of, it helps get you through life, you know?


tim caple

You said when you were growing up that you were quite a weird kid. You loved the music. You also loved reading about God and wanted to know, obviously, why you were here. The answer to the big question. Why did that mean so much to you? Why were you seeking that answer at such a very, very young age when kids are like, you know, girls, music and fast cars?


DION

Well, that's what it was about to me. Chuck Berry was writing about school and fast cars, cars. But I was always kind of philosophy, philosophical. It was like love came to me. And I knew it would.

When she kissed me, I was born, then she said goodbye. And then I knew right away I was born to cry. And I was, writing these crazy things. And then when I went on tour with Buddy Holly and that fatal plane crash, I think, I remember that I was on that bus the next day.

thinking, why am I here? Why is there something rather than nothing? Who am I? Where am I going? What's this all about? I was like asking questions like, I had more questions. It just blew, it just unsettled me. You know, I was like, these guys, I was so close to these guys for two weeks who were having such a good time. I was 19, very impressionable.


So it threw me on this road of search, searching, and just searching, you know, like I still haven't found what I'm looking for, like, it says everybody's got a hungry heart. And it comes out of St. Augustine. He said, you know, you know, we're restless until we, we rest in God. Yeah, and St. Augustine said something great.


He said, when you're singing, it's like praying twice. And I get that because, look, number one, if what I have is a gift, there's got to be a gift giver. So the thing is that when you're using the gift, when you're writing, when you're doing what the gift you've been given, we're in the middle. We're connected.

We know exactly who we are. You know, when I'm in the middle of that song, it's like I'm roller skating. I'm like, yeah, you know. You know, I get it. It's like praying twice. You're just, your mind and heart are raised to a higher level, you know.


tim caple

Yeah. You mentioned the Buddy Holly and the plane crash. It's the 65th anniversary, of course, in the first week of February. I won't go over the story again, because it's so well known but how does somebody come to terms with this, especially considering how young you were? and did it turn into...

basically a lifelong grieving process with that lifelong unanswered question. You know, why me?


DION

Yeah, you know, I don't think I ever really, it just never, it never went away, so to speak, until 2009 was the 50th anniversary and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame called me up and said, Deon, we're gonna bring a camera down there. We wanna hear your story because we were out at the, we were out at the 50th anniversary out in Clear Lake, Iowa.

at the surf ballroom and we were listening to people and nothing made sense. Could you tell us your story from your perspective? So they came down and I told them the whole story. It's on YouTube. I think it's called Buddy Holly True Story or Buddy, you know. But they wanted it for the archives for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So I went from A to Z. I told them the whole story.

.

DION

No one's ever asked, you know, and you, who asks and you sit down and talk for an hour and a half, you know, but this was the first time I did it. And then when I went out with the president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the time, Terry Stewart, and Avery Friedman, who was sitting next to him, he's a lawyer from Cleveland. He, we went out for lunch and at lunch I started crying.


DION

It was like, it just broke. It was like cathartic or I don't know the word that you used for that, but it, I felt like I could breathe finally. For some reason it put a lot of things at rest. So I was very happy they did that. I never had the opportunity to do that.


DION

So it did linger, you know, I miss those guys on a lot of levels. You know, they were just great guys and great artists and songwriters and brothers and friends. And, you know, and my, I just want to make them proud in what I do, you know. Someday I'm going to see, in my faith, relationships never end, you know.


tim caple

I suppose one quote that you've used in the past fits perfectly, I suppose where you just said, I just feel like I've had an angel guiding me on a higher reality, which would fit.


DION

Well, I don't know. They say you have a guardian angel. I don't know. You know, all I know is if I have a guardian angel, he must.

Three quarters of the time he must be going, oh crap, not this again.


DION

Oh my goodness, help me out,







tim caple

Let's end on some of the light, a few lighter moments. There's been obviously so many great stories about you down the years. And one of the most asked questions, who was run around Sue? Now, firstly, it obviously wasn't your wife. I can't believe anybody who put that out there because they obviously had never listened to the lyrics but there was a great story behind that, wasn't there?

She, Runaround Sue , with the loose morals, ended up phoning into a radio show you were on one day, and you find out she married a rabbi and had six kids. Now, is that a true story?


DION

That is that is you know, I don't want to mention a name but her name didn't rhyme with anything that is a true story Thanks for reminding me about that. I was I gee I forget the guy's name and I was interviewing me he called himself Uh, I don't know something with the keys Anyway, uh, you know


tim caple

You must have been sat there thinking, no, this can't be real. She can't be ringing up. She's just actually told everybody who she is.


DION

Yeah, no, you know, she didn't know that. I don't think she knew the song was written about her. But, you know, and I didn't know her that well. But it's a story. You know, she was very close in the neighborhood, you know. And I, you know, and I just thought, you know, her name didn't rhyme with anything. So it just, the way we wrote it was just like that, you know.


tim caple

Tell me what happened to Jackie Burns, who was the subject in The Wanderer. He was The Wanderer. So did he know, first of all, that song was written about him? Did you ever tell him? And whatever happened to him?


DION

I think he's gone now. I don't think he's, I think he passed away. But Jackie Burns was kind of like a, he was bigger than life. He used to walk down the neighborhood with his tank top and his curls drooped in front of his forehead with his tattoos, Flo and Janie and Rosie, and just, he had this gate, this attitude. He was worth the song.


tim caple

Bruce Springsteen said about that song that if people get it, if people really get what that song was about, then they'd find out what a man should be. What did he mean? I mean, I know that the lines in the song, it's basically about going nowhere. It's not a song that glorifies anything, but it's about going nowhere. So what did he mean by that, about what a man should be?


DION

Well, a lot of people think they listen to the verses. You know, it's like, I'm the type, it's one of those bragging rights song. It's so over the top, it's ridiculous. I got Flo on my left arm, Mary on my right, Janie is the girl that I'll be with tonight. And when she asked me which one I love the best, I tear open my shirt and I show Rosie on my chest. Yo, I'm the wanderer. And then,

Springsteen got the lines, I roam from town to town. I go through life without a care. I'm as happy as a clown with my two fists of iron, but I'm going nowhere. And then he goes right back into being a jerk, you know, but he, the one, for one moment, he sees himself, you know?

He knows he's gone nowhere. And it's not that happy. Back then, I guess if somebody did it today, they would do it with a different arrangement, not in a major key. But back then, everything had to be happy and up. But yeah, he was on to it. He thought if you see yourself accurately,

You know, that guy, the wanderer, is a thin veneer of a man. He's really not, you know, he's not going anywhere. You know, he doesn't have, there's not much to him. You know.


tim caple

line that you mentioned in the song, the two fists of iron stop and I'm going nowhere. The I'm going nowhere was very nearly two fists of iron and a bottle of beer, wasn't it?


DION

Yes, yes. You know, I'm glad. Wow, am I glad that radio wouldn't have played it if we said that. Back then in the fifties, if you said bottle of beer, they wouldn't have played it because it was going out to teenagers. Well, what they did is they made me rewrite, write the word, the line and change it. I think it gave it much more depth, you know, and

I think it made the song really work for me.






tim caple

My favorite quote about you, or one of the favorite, is Little Richard's mom. I'm just trying to imagine the scene. She's sitting there and you're in the room and she turns to you and just says, you got soul, son. You can groove. Is that one of your favorite quotes about you?


DION

Well, you know, little Richard's mother, it's, you don't forget stuff like that. You know, she, she really, she really made me feel good. She was, she was talking about the song Ruby Baby and she felt I sang it with a lot of soul, you know, and she, and she complimented me and I was, I was just delighted. I was like.

If little Richard told me, I probably would have forgotten, but his mother told me. See about the women, the feminine genius, you know.


tim caple

So you like to take people on a trip, you like to write songs that are worth listening to, that spark your imagination. So you've arguably in these last three albums produced more in there than you have done for years before. So looking to the future, obviously it's difficult to predict what's going to happen. But what are your plans? What would you like still to achieve? I know Bob Dylan might be.

in there somewhere, if there is a somewhere, a collaboration with him would be good.


DION

Oh, God, he's, I really, he's something special. I've always looked at genius as someone in his particular field, what they're doing and what everybody else is doing. And there's the distance between what they're doing and what everybody else is doing. And with Dylan, he's just remarkable. He's a remarkable person. Some people have born that.

So yeah, I would love to do something with him. You know, it's just, I just think the world of what he does. You know, I'm, you know, one of my favorite artists.


tim caple

you do actually have a busy schedule


DION

Tim, we have a play that's gonna open on Broadway this year. We're just negotiating for the theater right now. We picked the theater, we finally did. And it opens up in the fall. And we're going in with The Wanderer, the play The Wanderer. And it's got rock and roll street history. It's got action, you know, the gangs, like the young sopranos.

I got involved with a gang when I was a kid. Romance because I met my wife when I was 16. She was 15, 14, you know. We're still together. I've been married 60 years,


tim caple

How did you do that, by the way? How did that survive? I mean, because not only has your career and your singing career survived everything, you've actually had one marriage. I mean, that again is completely unheard of.


DION

You gotta ask her. She's, you know, she's...

down to earth, you know, she comes from, she didn't come from the Bronx. So she's very much close to the earth and close to what's real. And it's always kept me in a, just in a beautiful place, you know.


tim caple

They could almost use you as a role model, couldn't they? this is the way to do it, this is how to have a successful career and life


DION

Now you want to know the truth if I didn't know me I'd probably be impressed But I know me, you know what I'm saying


Yeah. Well, I give a lot of credit to the 12 Steps. You know, they gave me a design to live. I didn't have that. I didn't have a design, you know, I didn't have a blueprint, you know, and they're designed to lead you into union with God and to open you up to your Creator, which is a very, you know, which is the most courageous thing you can do as a man.

open up. I love open people.





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