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Vivian Campbell ‘Saddened’ He Never Had the Chance to Make Up With Ronnie James Dio

Kevin Winter / Frazer Harrison, Getty Images
Kevin Winter / Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

Though Vivian Campbell has spent decades as a member of Def Leppard, the guitarist will always be remembered by metal fans for his tenure in Dio. The guitarist eventually had a bitter parting of the ways with the titular frontman and his band, but his love for the music remained so strong that he started Last in Line with members of the Dio lineup that was in place during his time in the group. In a new interview on the Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon podcast, Campbell shared his regret that he and Ronnie James Dio never had a chance to settle their differences.

“In many ways, I’m kind of saddened that Ronnie and I never had a chance to make it up,” Vivian explained. “Because I know that there was a part of Ronnie that was really dark and really angry, but I know that there was another part of him that was really sweet and forthcoming. And I think that under the right circumstances, Ronnie and I would have sat down and had a beer and made our peace and we could have even worked together again, and it would have been great.”

However, Campbell has his doubts if a reconciliation could have ever happened. “You know, there’s a lot of gatekeepers in this industry, and one of the things that they do very, very well is keep people apart. So it wouldn’t have happened as long as those gatekeepers were there. That’s my point,” said the guitarist.

Meanwhile, Last in Line graduated from paying tribute to their Dio era of music to creating original material with the 2016 disc, Heavy Crown. Campbell says of the follow-up to that album, “We’re about 50 percent into the Last in Line album; we’ve got about 50 percent of it written. We begin in the next couple of weeks to do some more shows and we’ll do some more writing. We actually have a start date. We’ll go back in the studio, again with Jeff Pilson to produce, we start on Sept. 11, I believe — [that’s] our first tracking day. But given Jeff’s schedule and our schedule, it probably won’t be delivered until December, so it would be early 2018 before it gets out.”

Campbell continued, “The new songs are really interesting. I can really hear the growth of the band and the growth of the style and the songwriting. Some of the arrangements are a bit more complex than they were on the first album, and it’s been a real joy.”

Hear more of Vivian Campbell’s interview on the Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon podcast here.

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