TV and movie bad guy Ronnie Gene Blevins faces more challenges than most actors as he fights for roles because he's deaf in one ear and blind in one eye. The actor, who recently portrayed Nicolas Cage's nemesis Willie-Russell in Joe and has played villains in over 30 TV dramas including Shameless, Hawaii Five-O and the Mentalist, is currently undergoing treatment to get his sight back. He is also deaf in one ear since a cholesteatoma claimed his hearing when he was a child.
He tells WENN, "I'm really blind in one eye... I have this weird thing called uveitis; it's a swelling of my retina, so it's rendered my blind in my left eye.
"The good news is that I'm being treated for it; the bad news is the treatment has caused cataracts, so now the speculation is that it's actually the cataracts that are impairing the vision. So the hope is that when I get the cataracts removed, I'll have my eyesight restored, but I'll have to keep getting treatment."
Blevins, who is currently shooting thriller Crawlspace, reveals he has had partial blindness for two years, but refuses to allow his condition to affect his work.
However, he admits the diagnosis initially took some getting used to: "When I go to sleep I'm out of it. The lights are off and I wake up and it's pitch black and think I've gone completely blind. It caused these night terrors for a while."
Heavy rockers Avenged Sevenfold were triple winners at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards on Wednesday night (23Apr14). The band's stars Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance were jointly awarded the Dimebag Darrell Best Guitarist prize, while Arin Illejay was named Best Drummer. The group was also awarded the title for Most Devoted Fans.
Meanwhile, Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme was declared Best Vocalist, Rob Zombie took Best Live Band, Deep Purple claimed the Comeback of the Year accolade and Twelve Foot Ninja earned recognition as Best New Talent.
Five Finger Death Punch were two-time winners, scoring the Paul Gray Best Bassist Award for Chris Kael and Song of the Year for Lift Me Up.
It was also a big night for Ozzy Osbourne and his Black Sabbath bandmates, who celebrated their comeback with the Album of the Year honour for 13.
Joan Jett made awards history as the first female recipient of the Golden God Award and Axl Rose was feted with the Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rose also treated guests to a special reunion performance with his former Guns N' Roses pal Duff McKagan, who recently stepped in to the line-up to temporarily replace bassist Tommy Stinson, while another highlight of the heavy metal awards show came from Slayer, who delivered a surprise three-song set to open the ceremony. They also debuted new track Implode, their first new material since the death of guitarist Jeff Hanneman last year (13).
Legendary singer Ronnie Spector has recalled the time she moved tragic star Amy Winehouse to tears by covering her track Back To Black. The Rehab hitmaker, who died aged 27 in 2011, often hailed The Ronettes frontwoman as her inspiration, and was visibly moved when her idol showed her mutual respect by playing one of Winehouse's most acclaimed tracks.
Spector tells Britain's The Guardian, "I used to wish I could get my hands on her. She came to one of my shows. I was singing Back to Black and there was a tear in her eye.
"She was too shy to meet me, but she was so sweet to me. I read articles where she said: 'I love girl groups, especially the Ronettes.' I think she liked us because we were different. I had a black and Cherokee mom and a white father, and that was different. And we were pretty. We didn't have wigs like the other girl groups, it was our real hair."
Rocker Joan Jett is set to make history at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards this year (14) when she becomes the first female to receive the prestigious Golden God title. The I Love Rock 'n' Roll hitmaker will follow in the footsteps of previous honourees Motorhead, KISS star Gene Simmons and Alice Cooper, who have all taken home the top prize at the Los Angeles event in recent years.
Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose will be another big winner - he will be presented with the Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement accolade. Metallica took home the award at last year's (13) ceremony.
Meanwhile, Black Sabbath, Avenged Sevenfold and Korn are among the multiple nominees for the prizegiving, which honours the best in heavy metal.
Ozzy Osbourne's group and their comeback release 13 will face off against Avenged Sevenfold's Hail to the King and Korn's The Paradigm Shift for Album of the Year, while Jonathan Davis (Korn) and M. Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold) have been shortlisted for Best Vocalist, as have Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and Ivan Moody (Five Finger Death Punch).
The Best Guitarist category will be a fight between Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) Munky & Head (Korn), Synyster Gates & Zacky Vengeance (Avenged Sevenfold), John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains) and Zoltan Bathory & Jason Hook (Five Finger Death Punch), while Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Fieldy (Korn) and Johnny Christ (Avenged Sevenfold) are among the nominees for Best Bassist.
Best Live Band nods go to Lamb of God, Rob Zombie, Slayer and Motley Crue, among others, and Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age will compete for Comeback of the Year.
The awards, not to be confused with Metal Hammer's Golden Gods in the U.K., will take place at Club Nokia in L.A. on 23 April (14).
Family and friends of notorious British gangster Ronnie Biggs have paid their respects at a funeral in London. The 84 year old, who was part of a gang which stole millions from a mail train in England in 1963, passed away last month (Dec13), four years after he was freed from prison on compassionate grounds due to ill health.
Mourners gathered at Golders Green Crematorium in north London on Friday afternoon (03Jan13) to bid farewell to the former fugitive.
His coffin was draped in Britain's Union flag and the national flag of Brazil, where Biggs spent many years on the run following his escape from prison in 1964, as well as a scarf from his beloved London soccer team, Arsenal, and his favourite hat.
The funeral procession was preceded by a marching band, and the congregation was asked not to wear black for the ceremony, while Biggs' defiant personality was remembered with a wreath shaped like a rude two-fingered hand gesture.
Black Sabbath star Geezer Butler has revealed he wrote a macabre tribute song to bandmate Tony Iommi after the guitarist was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of 2012. Iommi has been battling lymphoma throughout the heavy rock group's reunion and when bassist Butler, who writes the bulk of the band's songs, learned of his health crisis he felt inspired to get his thoughts and feelings out in lyrics for a track he tentatively titled Hanging by a Thread.
He tells Revolver magazine, "It (song) was very much about dying, about giving your last breath and passing your spirit on."
But the track didn't make it on the band's comeback album 13.
Butler adds, "We never came up with the finished thing."
The rocker admits he feared the worst for his bandmate - because their pal Ronnie James Dio had lost his cancer battle in 2010.
He tells the magazine, "We didn't know if he (Iommi) was going to recover from it, especially after seeing Ronnie go so fast. Ronnie went right in six months from being diagnosed to dying (sic)."
Veteran British entertainer Cilla Black celebrated her 50 years in showbusiness by throwing a lavish party in London on Friday night (28Sep13). The singer-turned-TV star released her first single, Love of the Loved, written by Beatles legends John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney, on 27 September, 1963 and she marked the occasion 50 years on by throwing a big bash dubbed a 'Cillabration'.
The event was attended by guests including Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Ronnie Wood's ex-wife Jo, and fellow British TV personalities Bobby Davro, Jim Davidson and Des O'Connor.
Black also released a special audio message for fans to mark her special day, in which she says, "Can you believe it? Fifty years ago today I released my first ever single, Love of the Loved, and I want to take time out to thank all of my fans for your love and support over the years. So let the 'Cillabrations' begin..."
Ronnie James Dio's former Dio bandmates are heading into the studio to record an album of new material in tribute to their late frontman. Dio Disciples, a supergroup comprising of former members of Dio, formed after the rock icon's death in 2010 and have been playing the Holy Diver group's music on tour in a bid to keep their old pal's memory alive.
Now guitarist Craig Goldy reveals Dio Disciples are planning to start work on a project of original songs - and they've already received the blessing of the singer's widow, Wendy.
He tells Songfacts.com, "I've been working on some original material recently, and at Ronnie's memorial service - the public memorial service - I stated that when I ever did another original material project, that I want to make sure that I utilise the things that I learned from him (Dio) and that would hopefully make him proud. So when Wendy Dio heard the songs that I've been working on, she said, 'Wow, Ronnie would be really proud of you.' That was real special...
"We want to make sure that people don't think we're trying to replace Ronnie. Like a lot of bands who have had members either leave or die, they go on with the same name and for the same purpose, and some fans get bummed out about that. We're not trying to do that. It's just if we do do a full album of original material, it's not replacing him. It would be our way of saying, 'Hey, this is what we've learned from him, this is what the man means to us.' It would be in the spirit of keeping his memory alive and honouring him in some way."
Ronnie James Dio launched his namesake band in 1982 following his departure from Black Sabbath.
The Rolling Stones have landed a major vodka tribute, courtesy of celebrity fan Dan Aykroyd. To mark the band's 50th anniversary, the Blues Brothers star and his partners at beverage company Crystal Head have dedicated a limited edition glass skull bottle of their acclaimed vodka to the group.
The fearsome head, designed by acclaimed artist and sculptor John Alexander, comes in a black case with "The Rolling Stones Fifty Years" and the band's famous tongue logo emblazoned on the front.
Aykroyd says, "We did this because we felt we had to celebrate the Stones' 50th anniversary. Keith (Richards) is a friend of ours and and this was something we did to just recognise the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world.
"We have our award-winning vodka, we have CDs that were picked by Mick (Jagger)... He picked live performance tracks."
But not everyone in America can get their hands on the Stones package, which comes with a glass stopper for the bottle that features an etching of the Stones' logo - it has been banned in New York state.
The actor explains, "It's because New York state has these laws... They (lawmakers) don't like people selling liquor and putting incentives in... They don't like, sort of, value added things."
Not all the Stones will be sampling their new vodka - guitarist Ronnie Wood is sober after successfully battling alcohol issues throughout his career.
Rocker SLASH has paid tribute to his late friend Ronnie James Dio on what would have been the star's 71st birthday. The former Black Sabbath frontman lost his battle with stomach cancer in 2010, and his pal took to his Twitter.com page late on Wednesday (10Jul13) to post a message in honour of Dio's special day.
Slash writes, "Today would have been Ronnie James Dio's birthday. RIP RJD. Your music & memory will live on for eternity."
Nikki Sixx and rock duo Tenacious D also posted messages on Twitter to remember Dio on Wednesday.