- Ronnie Dio's Early Years

Subbing for Gary Driscoll

The date was September 12th, 1965. I remember the exact date because it was the day before I was sworn into the US Army. The place was the Jacinta Lounge on Scarborough Drive in Endwell, NY. Ronnie Dio and the Prophets were playing on one of the two stages featuring live bands that night. I had seen the Prophets perform on several occasions prior to this at The Tradewinds in Endicott, NY. Being a drummer, I had studied Gary Driscoll closely and was able to copy his style pretty well. I had spoken to Gary and Ronnie casually, since I was currently drumming with a local rock band known as "Pierre and the Citations." On this particular night, Gary had arranged to hook up with an Endicott girl and was headed out to her car during the Prophets intermission. I don't remember exactly how it happened, but Ronnie asked me if I would care to sit in on the drums in Gary's absence. Needless to say, I was thrilled! I sat down behind Gary's kit and ended up playing a whole set. Since I had heard the group perform quite a few times, I was familiar with their song list. After the set ended, apparently Ronnie liked my playing and congratulated me on a fine job! When I told him I was leaving for the US Army tomorrow, his response was "WHY?" I don't remember answering him. Anyway, it was a great experience, one I've never forgotten and the closest link I've ever had with anyone famous.

Gerry Turock