If the last year of Dion Dimucci's career is any indication, he hasn't worked a day in his life in over 60 years.
Dion loves what he does, and he always has. There have been mistakes, hard times and complications along the way, but those experiences brought Dion to a place where even in his 80s, he's as energized as ever with no shortage of work to be excited about.
Dion's autobiographical musical The Wanderer is set to make its debut next spring.
"It's a story about transformation, a story about redemption," he tells Q104.3's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke. "Not getting better, not getting good, it's getting transformed, you know what I mean? It's about being fully alive. And it's about a romance, because you know I'm still married to my wife. I met her on the streets of the Bronx when I was 16 years old; she was 14, and we're still together. ...She came down from Vermont. I didn't know they grew anything as beautiful as her up in Vermont."
As busy as he was working on the musical last year, Dion was also writing a crop of new blues songs, a nod to his earliest influences. As soon as he had some time off, he recorded them.
Blues With Friends is available now. Dion says the high-profile collaborations on the album came about after Joe Bonamassa heard the song "Blues Comin' On" and lobbied to play on it.
Bonamassa's performance sparked an idea, and Dion says he started reaching out to some more of his famous friends, including Jeff Beck, Billy F. Gibbons, John Hammond, Jr., Patti Scialfa, Bruce Springsteen and others.
"[Bonamassa] just blew my mind because I could make a great record," Dion says. "I write a great song, I know how to sing it, I know how to communicate it. But when you get a great artist who's mesmerizing and masterful and just a master...and he infuses your song with his concept, it just blew my mind."
Getting other artists on board was easy once Beck signed on. Dion says it was like casting a dozen or so "mini movies," figuring out who should play on what tune.
After that, he says he just let each artist do what they felt was right for each track.
"It was very exciting. I wasn't uptight about it. I wasn't anxious about it. It's like I caught this wave and just kept riding it."
Watch the full Out of the Box interview in the player above!
Here's Dion's "Can't Start Over Again," featuring Jeff Beck: