California thrash metal veterans SLAYER performed with only two original members on stage for the …
Fan-filmed video footage of THE SOUTHERN CROSS performing the BLACK SABBATH classic “Children Of The Sea” aboard Sweden’s Rock At Sea cruise on November 16-17, 2012 can be seen below.
Before legendary heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio died in May 2010, his former guitarist Rowan Robertson got in touch with a Norwegian drummer, Rick Hagan, and started talking about doing a few shows featuring the material from Rowsn‘s period in DIO, which Ronnie had not played for 20 years. With bassist Are Gogstad and singer Nils Patrik Johansson, the lineup was stable and toured in Norway twice under the name QUEENSTREET. But there was one part missing, and with the addition of 25-year BLACK SABBATH member Geoff Nicholls, THE SOUTHERN CROSS became the natural representation of what DIO musically stood for in the Eighties and early Nineties.
THE SOUTHERN CROSS‘s 2012 tour saw the band visiting highlights from RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH and DIO. Songs like “Man On The Silver Mountain”, “Falling Off The Edge Of The World”, “Lock Up The Wolves”, “Don’t Talk To Strangers” and, of course, the classics “Heaven And Hell” and “Holy Diver” were all featured in the concerts.
The full lineup of the band is as follows:
* Rowan Robertson (DIO, DC4) – Guitar
* Nils Patrik Johansson (ASTRAL DOORS, LION’S SHARE) – Vocals
* Are Gogstad (PAUL DI’ANNO, RIPPER OWENS, A.S.C.) – Bass
* Rick Hagan (PAUL DI’ANNO, RIPPER OWENS, 21ST CENTURY ROX) – Drums
* Geoff Nicholls (BLACK SABBATH) – Keyboards
In the late 1980s Robertson heard that Ronnie James Dio was looking for a new guitarist. He sent a tape to the record company Phonogram. After six months of waiting, he got a reply that stated that at that moment they were not interested in him. At the encouragement of his friend and fellow guitarist Sean Manning (HURRICANE) the tenacious Robertson then contacted the DIO fan club who then asked him to send his demo tape to them.
Robertson, who was 17 years old at the time, got a great response from DIO after receiving the demo through the fan-club channels. In late January or early February 1989 Robertson was flown to Los Angeles for an audition with DIO. He was auditioned twice. Immediately after the second audition he was invited to join the band. The press-release for the addition of Robertson to DIO was sent out on July 18, 1989 and the press was invited to meet the newest DIO guitarist on July 20, 1989 at Oliver’s Pub in New York City.
The first DIO album Robertson started working on with DIO was “Lock up the Wolves”. These sessions included Jimmy Bain, Vinny Appice and Jens Johansson. The band had already begun writing and recording when Jimmy Bain and Vinny Appice were suddenly excused from the band. They were replaced with Teddy Cook and former AC/DC drummer Simon Wright.
“Lock up the Wolves” was released in 1990, and the band embarked on a tour in support of the album.
Robertson stayed with DIO until Ronnie James Dio rejoined BLACK SABBATH in 1991.
Dio and Robertson had been writing songs for an album to be released in May 1991 which ended up being shelved. When the DIO band was put on ice, Robertson started work on an instructional video for guitar players. It was released on Star Licks in July or August 1991. He then teamed up with vocalist Oni Logan (ex-LYNCH MOB) and drummer Jimmy Paxson (from TRIANGLE) and began to write and record on an album together for Atlantic Records.