Saturday, December 13, 2008
My new project--What the hell does this song mean?
Heavy Metal is a much maligned and misunderstood genre of modern rock and roll. Part of the reason is because a lot of it is, quite frankly, bad, if not really, really bad. The music, however, of Ronnie James Dio, who started out in Elf, then joined Ritchie Blackmore after his departure from Deep Purple to form Rainbow and stayed with him for three albums until agreeing to front Black Sabbath, which was now Ozzi-less (which wasn't a bad thing), for two albums and then struck out on a solo career. The name of the band was simply called Dio. Dio went on to put out several albums which typified the metal of the 1980s.
Dio's first single release from his 1983 debut album, Holy Diver, was the title track itself. This is a great song. It was even used in a very early episode of South Park! But what the hell does it mean? Here are the lyrics:
You've been down too long in the midnight sea
Oh what's becoming of me
Ride the tiger
You can see his stripes but you know he's clean
Oh don't you see what I mean
Gotta get away
Like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue
Something is coming for you
Race for the morning
You can hide in the sun 'till you see the light
Oh we will pray it's all right
Gotta get away-get away
Between the velvet lies
There's a truth that's hard as steel
The vision never dies
Life's a never ending wheel
You're the star of the masquerade
No need to look so afraid
Jump on the tiger
You can feel his heart but you know he's mean
Some light can never be seen
Now, I have no idea what he is talking about. Even my other friends who are in to Dio don't know. Erik Campbell, brother of my colleague and fellow Maiden-fan, John Campbell, who once wrote a great essay on "The Death of Satan" which is all about the heavy metal references to the Dark Lord,doesn't know. And I'd consider him to be one of the authorities on this subject. So, this is what I am going to spend my winter break doing. Sure beats doing actual work. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to email me.
Also, you may want to consider listening to the song itself and watching the video. Maybe that can add something to the interpretation.