The mid-80s was the period of Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? and its American cousin, USA For Africa’s We Are The World elevating tens of millions for famine aid. However whereas pop stars flouted their philanthropy, heavy metallic didn’t get a glance in. Dio guitarist Vivian Campbell and bassist Jimmy Bain determined to rectify this, and entered Hollywood’s Sound Metropolis studios with a military of musicians as Hear ’n Aid.
Wendy Dio: (spouse/supervisor of Ronnie Dio): The metallic group had needed to be concerned however they felt they have been snubbed.
Ronnie James Dio: [Jimmy and Vivian] observed the shortage of individuals from our style of music in all of this and felt they’d wish to pursue it.
Vivian Campbell (guitarist, Dio): We didn’t write the lyric – we stated we’d get Ronnie concerned. Ronnie didn’t need to find out about it. He thought it was a distraction, as a result of on the time we have been doing the Dio document Sacred Coronary heart. We left it a few weeks, and Ronnie clearly conferred with Wendy about it. She thought it was a greater concept than he did, so he got here again and stated: “Okay, let’s do this.”
Wendy Dio: Truly I feel he simply got here spherical to feeling that the youngsters in Africa wanted some assist.
Vivian Campbell: We had the music 100 per cent full, we simply wanted a lyric.
Wendy Dio: Positive, they introduced their concept to Ronnie… however Ronnie was undoubtedly concerned in writing the music in addition to the lyric.
Vivian Campbell: [Ronnie] can be insulted when you even steered a lyric or a phrase or a title. He needed full autonomy. We knew it might be rather a lot simpler to get it off the bottom with Ronnie’s identify and never simply me and Jimmy.
Wendy Dio: Hear ’n Aid needed to be a non-profit organisation… We needed to arrange a board of administrators, 14 individuals, and all selections needed to be made by the board. My position was getting the licensing. The musicians have been incredible, they’ll all the time give their proper arm and leg for charity, however then you need to get permissions from their managers and report corporations. That was a nightmare. It dragged on for months after the monitor was accomplished.
Vivian Campbell: Jimmy and I… spent weeks on the telephone cold-calling individuals.
Ronnie James Dio: There have been numerous Fred Bloggses who needed to become involved, however the challenge wanted heavyweights to promote it.
Vivian Campbell: I keep in mind calling Jon Bon Jovi… I needed to make like 14 calls to get him on the telephone. At one level I referred to as his mom. And in the long run we didn’t get Jon to do it.
Ronnie James Dio: He in all probability needed to brush his tooth that day.
Wendy Dio: I feel Rob Halford of Judas Priest was the primary to say sure… Then Queensrÿche, Twisted Sister… got here aboard fairly fast. They usually have been all on their greatest behaviour – evenTed Nugent.
Ronnie James Dio: There have been individuals who wouldn’t contribute… their expertise to assist feed a poor, ravenous child.
Ted Nugent: I care deeply about individuals in Africa. I’m a black man from Detroit. Take heed to my guitar enjoying. There’s no white boys there.
Wendy Dio: [The Hear ’n Aid single] Stars took about two weeks. The first session was at Sound Metropolis in LA, the place we did the essential backing monitor.
Eddie Ojeda (guitarist, Twisted Sister): We have been all despatched a demo of the music’s backing monitor and melody. I received mine a few week earlier than the session. We every had 12 bars for our solos.
Wendy Dio: Then we moved into A&M Studios, the place they’d recorded We Are The World, and on the primary day we did vocals.
Eddie Ojeda: I used to be hanging out with Nikki Sixx. He gave me a carry to the studio. It was a variety of enjoyable hanging out with everyone. All of us stayed on the similar lodge in Hollyweird… All of us went to the identical locations each night time, which was a strip joint first, after which on to the Rainbow.
Eric Bloom (Blue Öyster Cult): I arrived from New York with out having heard any of the music. Arrived on the lodge and heard a replica of the monitor, went right down to the studio… there’s everybody from the daybreak of man within the heavy rock space.
Rob Halford: I think about a lot of the followers assumed all of us knew one another… we didn’t in any respect. The truth is for the primary few hours, I feel most of us have been taking a look at one another the best way we acquired portrayed in rock magazines… As soon as we’d let our guards drop a bit the sensation was simply large…to take a seat down and speak with individuals I’ve all the time admired.
Wendy Dio: Ronnie determined who would do what and when, they usually just about did as they have been informed. They began round midday and stored going till everyone was drained.
Blackie Lawless (W.A.S.P.): I feel everybody was very intimidated being there on that night time. You can really feel that type of pressure within the room because the night time wore on. Chris [Holmes, W.A.S.P. guitarist] and I received there about 6pm and we didn’t begin to shoot the video till about 9pm. For sure because the cameras began to roll most everybody was barely inebriated. For us there have been a variety of guys in that room that we had grown up listening to and idolised, in order that definitely led to some pressure. Being within the presence of that ‘rock royalty’ was very scary. Because the years have passed by I’ve came upon that they have been all feeling the identical factor.
Wendy Dio: The environment within the studio was simply magic. That’s what Ronnie would say if he was right here now. In addition to cramming all these artists in there, we had a video crew, Tasco Video, about six or eight individuals, there on a regular basis. They did a terrific job and by no means acquired in the best way.
Geoff Tate (Queensrÿche): I walked into the efficiency room and there was a mic stand… “Here you go, here’s the lyrics for the song, the headphones are set up for you.” So I’m standing there, on my own, wanting via the glass to the management room, and Ronnie is in there with about 20 different individuals, all of those legendary performers. Ted Nugent and Rob Halford, and the blokes from Blue Öyster Cult, and all of those totally different artists that I actually respect, they usually’re all watching me carry out… I used to be very nervous, however Ronnie helped calm me down and coached me by means of the music, so it turned out okay.
Ronnie James Dio: I assumed the refrain was going to be a particular drawback so I simply had Kevin [DuBrow, Quiet Riot singer] care for issues. I used a little bit of psychology, you see? I took the most important dangerous boy of the lot and requested him to maintain issues so as. He then had a level of duty given to him by somebody he respects, and he was nice. It labored!
Wendy Dio: As soon as the vocals have been sorted, we spent about one other day-and-a-half getting the guitars down.
Vivian Campbell: You set a bunch of eighties guitarists in the identical room and, in fact, there’s going to be competitors for bragging rights. They have been even arguing about who had the most important hair.
Ted Nugent: I didn’t discover that. You’re not gonna discover a extra aggressive man on the planet than me, and I imply that. I’m an alpha male, I’ve plentiful confidence, however in a state of affairs like that I might defer to Ronnie and the blokes who visualised it. However as I used to be watching these guys enjoying their guitar solos, I used to be considering: ‘Fuck, I could outdo that shit!’. They performed good, however they didn’t have any honest-to-God Motown black motherfucker on there, and I ought to have been. I used to be like, you gotta be kiddin’ me!
Eddie Ojeda: I keep in mind Ted Nugent saying: “If you let me play guitar on the track them kids won’t be hungry no more.” They put my solo in between Yngwie Malmsteen and Neil Schon, who have been each enjoying extremely quick, and I assumed it labored kinda cool.
Mark Stein (organist, Vanilla Fudge): I recall standing subsequent to Yngwie whereas he was enjoying his unimaginable guitar, and later Neal Schon, listening to his soulful enjoying as nicely. Each completely reverse in fashion however each nice.
Vivian Campbell: Once I needed to do my guitar half, I used to be so fried and burned out – it was the very last thing I used to be ready to do. I used to be 100 per cent in organisational mode… Mr Congeniality all day. Actually, the entire scene was very Spinal Faucet. It was virtually past parody.
Ronnie James Dio: The guys from Spinal Faucet had Yngwie in stitches, they usually have been making jokes about him. Someone requested: “How do you spell Yngwie?” And one among them went: “A-S-S-H-O-…”
Vivian Campbell: I’ve by no means achieved coke in my life, however this was LA within the 1980s.
Wendy Dio: I didn’t see any medicine in any respect. Ronnie didn’t do medicine besides perhaps slightly little bit of pot sometimes. Individuals knew he wasn’t into medicine, so even when they did medicine they wouldn’t do something like that round him.
Ted Nugent: There was an enormous group photograph taken, and there was a bunch of legendary gamers there, however I didn’t discover any vying for place. I’m proper on the again. I simply waited for somebody to inform me the place I ought to go and that’s the place I went.
Wendy Dio: Getting all the permissions delayed the only into the beginning of 1986.
Vivian Campbell: I feel we misplaced slightly impression due to that.
Wendy Dio: After it acquired launched, some individuals criticised the track as a result of the lyric stated: ‘We are stars.’ Individuals took that to imply wealthy rock stars. However what Ronnie was saying was that we’re all, everyone, stars. It says we’re all stars of the universe, we will all make a distinction.
Vivian Campbell: The message in Ronnie’s lyrics was that we’re all stars. Everyone seems to be equal, subsequently nobody must be hungry.
Paul Shortino (vocalist, Tough Cutt): Sadly, all that stuff that everyone did didn’t do a rattling bit of excellent for the individuals in Africa. A lot of the meals sat on the docks rotting due to their authorities.
Ted Nugent: I’ve been going to Africa on searching expeditions since 1978, and I assure that everyone at Hear ’n Aid mixed didn’t feed as many Africans as I’ve achieved. I’ve shot dozens of big-game animals with my bow and arrow, and all the meat goes to the villagers. I estimate I’ve introduced over one million dollars, with the hunters I’ve booked, into Africa, and all that cash finds its method into conservation programmes and immediately into the villages the place we hunt.
Wendy Dio: It’s a endless battle. I used to be in Casablanca a number of weeks in the past staying in a five-star lodge, however proper throughout the road individuals have been dwelling in, like, mud huts. And I couldn’t deal with it. There’s no center class, you go straight from filthy wealthy to extremely poor, and the wealthy don’t need to give to the poor. They’re very completely satisfied of their luxurious houses.
Vivian Campbell: The backside line was the cash we raised. We did it for the fitting causes, nevertheless it additionally proved that even within the decadent eighties there was a constructive aspect to rock’n’roll individuals. Nicely, so long as there was free cocaine, some individuals could possibly be goaded into something.
What occurred subsequent?
Gross sales of the Stars single, a subsequent album and different merchandise enabled Hear ‘n Aid to boost a reported $1m in its first yr., and Wendy Dio estimates that greater than $3m was ultimately introduced in. Conscious that a lot Band Aid cash had gone astray due to authorities corruption, the Hear ‘n Aid income have been used to purchase and ship agricultural equipment. In 2004, Stars was voted the Quantity One second in VH1 TV particular Most Metal Moments. Wendy Dio is planning to re-release the track with beforehand unseen video footage, unique signed posters and extra.