LAST IN LINE — the band featuring DEF LEPPARD/ex-DIO guitarist Vivian Campbell alongside fellow founding DIO members Vinny Appice, Jimmy Bain and Claude Schnell, plus singer Andrew Freeman, who has previously fronted HURRICANE and LYNCH MOB — played its first-ever show (a warm-up to the band’s U.K. tour) last night (Saturday, August 3) at Slidebar in Fullerton, California.
Fan-filmed video footage of the concert can be seen below.
LAST IN LINE performs material from the early DIO records that Campbell appeared on.
Speaking to David “Gus” Griesinger of BackstageAxxess.com at this past January’s NAMM (National Association Of Music Merchants) show at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, Campbell stated about reuniting with the original DIO band: “I’m excited about that. We’re calling it LAST IN LINE after the second [DIO] album. It’s the original DIO band — myself, Vinny Appice on drums, Jimmy Bain on bass, Claude Schnell on keyboards, and we found a terrific singer called Andy Freeman, who can totally do justice to the songs. Actually, he doesn’t sound anything like Ronnie [James Dio], which is great, [because] I don’t wanna draw that comaprison. Ronnie was a very unique singer, but Andy is a great singer in his own right, and he certainly sings the songs very respectfully.
“The original band, we actually wrote the majority of that material as a band, so I feel like we’re entitled to go out and play it. I don’t think we’re a tribute band or a cover band or anything like that.
“There’s obviously a big legacy of DIO music, and I think I’m right in saying that most people would think that those early DIO albums are the strongest, so we are just chuffed to play it.”
In a recent interview with Rock Guitar Daily, Vivian stated about people who are critical of his decision to perform the DIO material again after so many unpleasantries were exchanged between him and Ronnie James Dio over the years: “Why would anyone be against the LAST IN LINE idea? We wrote and recorded those songs, and we’d like to play them! That’s what it comes down to — the only issue being that Ronnie and I had a public spat.”
He continued: “I can hold my hand up and admit being wrong about saying some mean things about Ronnie, and I was also derogatory about the genre of music.
“Ronnie was a very difficult person to work with. He was a lovely human being to his fans, but he didn’t always share that wonderful personality with those closest to him.
“I had a very difficult relationship with Ronnie, and he had a very difficult relationship with me, and it really hurt me that he not only fired me, but he went on to portray it as if I had left the band. So that’s what got me so riled up, and I really turned my back on him and the genre of music because I was very, very hurt by what it was he had done to me. I admit that it was childish, but a lot of water has gone under the bridge, and for me, I’ve taken all that out of the equation.
“Ronnie and Wendy Dio went out of their way to portray me as someone who had turned my back on the band in the middle of a tour and quit, which was absolutely, 100 percent untrue — I was fired from that band, I never intended to leave that band, and I never wanted to leave the band. Those are my songs as much as they are Ronnie‘s songs. Jimmy, Vinny, Claude, and myself got fuck-all for those records. We got nothing from the record sales, none of the t-shirt money — we were salaried musicians earning less than our road crew! Because we believed in the music, and we believed as Ronnie had told us that we were going to have an equal cut by the third album. And that’s all I asked for!
“The third album came along and I said, ‘Ronnie, do you remember that first time we met in London when we jammed and this band was put together, and you had promised us that by the third album it would be an equity cut, which was why we got fuck-all for all those years?’ We put our blood, sweat, and tears into doing that and it hurt the fuck out of me, as it would anyone. So then he goes and fires me, and portrays me as being the one who quit. So for thirty years, I didn’t listen to those records. I wanted nothing to do with DIO, I wanted nothing to do with that genre of music — I just removed it all from my life. After thirty years, and maybe it is because Ronnie‘s dead, maybe that does make it easier, I don’t know — I haven’t sat down and analyzed it, but the fact is, that’s my music, I’m the one who’s entitled to play it, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
“I’m not doing this for the money; believe me, I’ve got plenty of money. It’s about the love, the passion for the guitar playing.
“When I did it in the first place, I didn’t do it for the fucking money — $100 a week, I don’t think that’s a lot of money, and that’s what I got for doing ‘Holy Diver’. And that’s pretty much what I’ll get for doing it again, thirty years later. [laughs]…
“Right up until the ‘Sacred Heart’ tour, and when I got fired, we were still getting paid less than guys in the crew. It’s one thing to get less than the principal artist — yes, I get that — but to earn less than the crew? Especially when you are the ones writing the songs. It’s not like we were hired to play the parts. We wrote those fucking songs, we were part of the band, and we were totally gypped over.”
Campbell and Ronnie James Dio worked together on the first three DIO albums 1983’s “Holy Diver”, 1984’s “The Last in Line” and 1985’s “Sacred Heart” — before Irishman Campbell left to join WHITESNAKE in 1987.