Campbell: Original Dio would have toured again
On a different subject, what prompted you to revisit your past with Last In Line?
As sweet as it is to be in Def Leppard, the challenge in that band for me is in the vocals, not the guitar parts. So to go back to this is really challenging as a guitar player. And playing with the Dio guys again, it sounds like we never split up.
Does your singer Andy Freeman sound like Ronnie James Dio?
He doesn’t sound like Ronnie but he has a similar kind of power and range, and that passion in the voice.
There is, of course, another band out there playing those old Dio songs: Dio Disciples, featuring former Dio members Craig Goldy, Simon Wright and Scott Warren…
The original band had a real chemistry and a real magic, and that’s what made those original records so good. Dio Disciples are like a bar band by comparison.
There has also been criticism of Last In Line from some Dio fans.
Yeah, all these idiots on the internet saying that Campbell’s only in it for the money. Let’s get this straight: it’s costing me a fortune to fly seven guys from LA to the UK for four club shows. There’s no money in this. It’s a labour of love. I’m fortunate that I’ve made a good living with Def Leppard. I’m doing Last In Line because it’s fun and this is my heritage. These are my songs as much as they are Ronnie’s songs.
But it’s well known that there was animosity between you and Ronnie.
He said shit about me and I said shit about him. It is what it is. But he’s the one who fired me, and yet he went on to portray it as if I left the band.
Why did he fire you?
When we started the band, Ronnie said to all of us: “We’ll call the band Dio for my name recognition, but if this goes well, by the third album we’re going to have an equity situation.” But we worked for peanuts. We wrote that music, we put our blood, sweat and tears into those albums, and we got royally fucked. What got me fired was I just called the guy on his word.
Before Ronnie died, did you make your peace with him?
No. I never saw him again after he fired me. But that was Ronnie. He was a difficult man to work with, and I’m not the only one who ever thought so.
But if Ronnie had lived, could you have put your differences aside? Could the original Dio line-up have toured again one last time?
Absolutely. I do think that would have happened, actually. I think between Ronnie and I, it could have happened. It’s sad that never had that chance.
Interview: Paul Elliott
Last In Line UK tour
Aug 8: Belfast Limelight
Aug 9: Glasgow Cathouse
Aug 10: Bloodstock festival
Aug 11: London Islington Academy