Incited by a lusty household vinyl collection and inflamed by childhood slumbers set to blaring late night music, Dion was compelled to study guitar at age 8. With barely a few chords under his fingers, he formed a band with some close friends and embarked on a small tour of neighboring backyards. By the time he entered high school, he was practicing extensively, performing with more experienced players and seeking odd style combinations with an emphasis on improvisation. To further hone his musical ear and improvisational sensibilities, he joined his high school jazz band and was the All South Jersey Jazz Band & All State Jazz Ensemble guitarist for several years. During these early years, he worked with noted local guitar/bass teacher Bob Neuberger and studied at the Settlement School of Music (Philadelphia, PA). Upon leaving high school he was accepted to Berklee College of Music, eager to immerse himself full-time into music and turning down a mathematics scholarship in the process. (What’s THAT good for anyway??)
While attending college in Boston, Dion studied guitar under Jon Damian, Rick Peckham, Garrison Fewell, and Steve Khan. This is also where he met and performed regularly with contemporaries Bryan Beller (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Guthrie Govan, Mike Keneally), Matt Rohde (Jennifer Lopez, Alanis Morrisette), Steve Hamilton (Bill Bruford), Chris Chaney (Alanis Morrisette, Jane’s Addiction), Steve Hass (Ravi Coltrane, Manhattan Transfer, John Scofield), and Camara Kambon (Dr. Dre, Nelly Furtado). During his later college years, a serious hand injury nearly ended his performing career, derailing his progress for nearly two years. With some deep introspection and a little time to heal, he was able clear this hurdle and complete his degree.
After college and back in Philadelphia, Dion gained deeper perspective by playing guitar, bass, and drums in a variety of rock, jazz, blues and soul bands. Hanging in Philadelphia and performing at venues such as the legendary (now defunct) Tritone in particular proved to be pivotal and transformative. This is where Dion co-founded the award-winning music series Mad Cow with G. Calvin Weston, introducing him to a whole new tier of players and meaningful musical interactions that still reverberate through to the present.
Dion has worked with a wealth of world-renowned artists: Mary Wilson (the Supremes), Bernie Worrell (Parliament-Funkadelic, Talking Heads), John Medeski (MMW), Billy Martin (MMW), Skerik (Critters Buggin, Les Claypool), Michael Schrieve (Santana, Spellbinder), Jamaaladeen Tacuma (Ornette Coleman, James Blood Ulmer), G. Calvin Weston (Ornette Coleman, James Blood Ulmer, Lounge Lizards), Owen Biddle (the Roots), Bryan Beller (The Aristocrats, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Mike Keneely), Mark Guiliana (David Bowie, Brad Mehldau), Terell Stafford, Chris Chaney (Alanis Morrisette, Jane’s Addiction), Mutlu (Amos Lee), Matt Rohde (Jennifer Lopez, Alanis Morrisette), Jim Ridl (Pat Martino), Dave Dreiwitz (Ween), Brian Haas (Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey), Marco Benevento (the Duo, Mike Gordon), Chuck Treece (Billy Joel, Bad Brains), Don Evans (Billy Joel, Eric Burdon), Victor Lewis, Uri Caine, Ari Hoenig, Camara Kambon (Dr. Dre, Nelly Furtado), Gerald Veasley (Joe Zawinul), Cyro Baptista (Beat the Donkey), DJ Logic, John Swana, Mike Dillon (Critters Buggin), Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle), Steven Bernstein (Sex Mob), Odean Pope, Steve Hass (Ravi Coltrane, Manhattan Transfer, John Scofield), Ben Schachter, Andrew Weiss (Ween, Rollins Band), Steve Hamilton (Bill Bruford), Glenn McClelland (Ween), Julie Slick (Adrian Belew Power Trio), Byard Lancaster and Bobby Zankel. He has also been a member of several momentous bands from the Philadelphia area: As Human (Kilo), Mutlu, Oud Blues, and Linus in the Sapphire.
As a matter of course, Dion can be found performing with an expanding, diverse array of collaborations, often shifting instruments and roles within groups, defying delightfully what could be innocuous and merely sensible. Well-prepared … to be unscripted.