Vinny Appice says that none of the members of DIO DISCIPLES were in the original DIO band "where all the important albums or songs were written."
Launched in 2011, DIO DISCIPLES is made up of former members of DIO, along with a rotating lineup of vocalists, including ex-JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens and LYNCH MOB frontman Oni Logan. LAST IN LINE, on the other hand, was formed in 2012 by Appice, guitarist Vivian Campbell and bassist Jimmy Bain, all of whom were part of DIO's first incarnation.
Asked in a new interview with Vintage Rock is there is a sense of "competition" between LAST IN LINE and DIO DISCIPLES, Vinny said: "Well, they're two different things. LAST IN LINE started out with me, Jimmy and Viv, and we were the band that wrote those songs and played those songs — on those albums. We're not a tribute to Ronnie [James Dio]. We just started playing the songs that we wrote. Unfortunately, Ronnie is not here. If he was here, maybe it would have been a full-on reunion. But DIO DISCIPLES are playing a Ronnie show, basically — they're playing 'Man On The Silver Mountain' and old things from Ronnie's career. And they weren't in the original band, where all the important albums or songs were written. Some of the guys never even played with Ronnie. But they're good — it's a great show. But I call that more of a 'Ronnie James Dio show' than DIO or something. They're more of a tribute to Ronnie. We're the real deal — we're the guys that played it. And now that we have [the second LAST IN LINE album] 'II' out, we're starting to get established on our own — as a real band, because we're writing original material. The first album [2016's 'Heavy Crown'] did okay, and the tours have been good. Things are looking up and are getting more successful. We're building this pretty much on our own — as our own band now."
DIO DISCIPLES is fully supported by Dio's widow Wendy, who also manages the band. The group includes three former members of the DIO band — drummer Simon Wright, guitarist Craig Goldy and keyboardist Scott Warren — along with bassist Bjorn Englen (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN), Owens and Logan.
When DIO DISCIPLES was first formed, Appice told the "All Hail Hair" show on Fightin' Words Radio that he thought it was "disgusting" that the band was going out on the road and paying tribute to Ronnie James Dio. "I mean, why are they even doing it?" he said. "Plus, [Ronnie has] not even been passed away for a year. And, you know… It's kind of… I don't know. It's kind of weird, man. It's weird."
A few years ago, Campbell told Billboard magazine that Wendy — who managed Ronnie James Dio for much of his career — had nothing to do with, and no love for, LAST IN LINE. "Vinny still has occasional contact with her," Campbell said, "and when we first started doing this project, she said something along the lines of, 'Ronnie would be spinning in his grave.' So there you go."
In a 2016 interview, Vivian slammed DIO DISCIPLES, saying that the band has "zero credibility" as a Ronnie James Dio tribute project.
"I don't think [LAST IN LINE is] even in the same league as the DIO DISCIPLES," Campbell said. "None of those guys were original members of the band DIO. We're the original band. We're the guys who formed the band with Ronnie. Not only were in the band, but we wrote all the songs with Ronnie. If you look at the writing credits on the first three records, it was very, very much a collaborative creative venture. That's what made the early DIO records so strong."
A short time later, Goldy fired back at Campbell, saying that it's "just unfortunate that Vivian has continued to say vile things about Ronnie and us. I mean, I was in DIO with Vinny and I'm in another band with him [RESURRECTION KINGS]. Just like with any family, there's always one that holds on to a grudge forever. He's [Vivian] nice to my face. I don't know if he says bad things behind my back. I don't recall him saying anything vile about me."