Ronnie James Dio‘s widow Wendy Dio did a new interview with Rolling Stone in which she addressed Dio’s famous “devil’s horns” hand gesture and where it originated. She explained, “It’s an old Italian sign called malocchio (the evil eye), to ward off evil . . . He’d see his grandma (doing) the sign . . . and he didn’t think about it; it was just part of his heritage. And then when he joined (Black) Sabbath, of course, Ozzy (Osbourne) was doing the peace sign. And he didn’t wanna do that. And then one day he just did it, and it just took off. And it was just something that Ronnie became popular for.”
Earlier this year, Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler claimed to have created the “devil horns” and said he showed Dio how to do it. During an appearance on SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk,” Butler said, “I always used to do it in the breakdown in the song ‘Black Sabbath’ — just before it goes into the fast part at the end, I’d do that sign to the audience. And on the first couple of ‘Heaven And Hell’ tour shows, Ronnie was saying, ‘When I’m going on stage, everybody is doing the peace sign to me, and that’s an Ozzy thing. I feel like I should be doing something back to them.’ He says, ‘What’s that sign that you do in ‘Black Sabbath’?’ And I showed him the devil horns sign. And he started doing it from there and made it famous.”
The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund will celebrate Dio’s birthday on Saturday, July 10th with a global livestream fundraising event. He died of gastric cancer in 2010.