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Interview:
Last in Line at the Token, 5 Things to Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2019

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The late Ronnie James Dio's band was an incubator for a legion of notable hard rock musicians during its 17-year existence. His death in 2010 spawned a couple of groups to follow in its stead -- and while Dio Disciplines has the more discernible name, Last in Line is the one moving the story forward.



Founded by original Dio members Vivian Campbell (now in Def Leppard), Vinny Appice and the late Jimmy Bain, Last in Line, named after the 1984 Dio album "The Last in Line," emerged during 2012 and this year released a new album, "II." Despite its lineage the quartet's aim is to be a band in its own right, making original music while still upholding the aesthetic and spirit that Dio started.



Last in Line's greatest challenge, of course, is scheduling within its members' other endeavors. But all concerned find it wholly worthwhile to make the effort and keep spreading the good, and heavy, word...



Guitarist Campbell, 56 -- who was with Dio for its first three studio albums -- says by phone that he's pleased the "II" album -- recorded with new bass player Phil Soussan -- "really sounds like a band's second album -- one of the reasons why I elected to just simply call it 'II.' It really sounds like a developing band. That Dio component is still there; We still have that crunch that Vinny and I have when we play together. But on ('II') we've really kind of created our own sound with the influence from Andrew (Freeman, singer) and now Phil, who's a more ambitious bass player than Jimmy. We've created something that's a little more unique and sounds more ambitious and adventurous than the 'Heavy Crown' album. I'm well chuffed with it, I've got to say. There's nothing about the record I would re-do. It came out great."



Campbell adds that he would still like to see Last In Line establish an identity separate from Dio as time goes on. "There's still a bit of confusion, 'cause the band is named after a Dio album. Obviously we've got two albums of original material, so we'll be able to fit more of our own originals into the show and there'll be less Dio classics -- though that's still very, very much the heritage of Vinny and I, and where the band grew from. We'll still be playing Dio classics, but now we have more of our original material to fit in around it."



The relationship between Last In Line and the Dio camp is still frosty, Campbell adds. "I saw Wendy Dio at (Bain's) funeral and she kind of blanked me, and that's to be expected There isn't a lot there between us. I do honestly think if Ronnie and I had bumped into each other on the street he might've had this bluster about him at first and then he would've said, 'Oh, let's go have a beer...' and we'd be making music together again. I think that relationship was complicated by external forces, really."



Campbell does voice support for the Dio hologram that's being trotted out with the Dio Disciples band of subsequent alumni. "I'm not knocking that. It's all entertainment. I understand there's many, many people who never got to see Ronnie perform while he was alive, so that's, I guess, as close as they're gonna get. What they're doing is keeping the legacy of Dio and the Dio band alive, and that's a benefit to us in Last In Line. And what we're doing is a benefit to them. It's all part and parcel of the same thing."



With Def Leppard, meanwhile, Campbell -- who joined in during 1992 to replace the late Steve Clarke -- will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 29 in Brooklyn. "I'm the 'new guy' -- I've been in the band 27 years, and we've had some very, very lean years in those 27. But we've worked really hard, and I'd say 30 or 40 percent of our audiences are now young enough to be our children, so we've really kind of crossed that generational thing. That, and being in the Hall of Fame, sort of feels validating. It's a good time to be in Def Leppard."



Last In Line performs Saturday, March 23, at the Token Lounge, 28949 Joy Road, Westland. Most Wanted, Life Has Taught, Stompbox and HeadrusH DetroiT are also on the bill. Doors at 7 p.m. $25 advance, $30 at the door. 734-513-5030 or thetokenlounge.com.

Web Site: www.thetokenlounge.com

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