Former DIO and current DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell revealed in April 2012 that he is planning to join forces with three other original DIO members to play "some gigs" that will see the musicians performing material from the early DIO records that Campbell appeared on. Dubbed LAST IN LINE, Campbell, Vinny Appice (drums), Jimmy Bain (bass) and Claude Schnell (keyboards) will be accompanied by singer Andrew Freeman, who has previously fronted HURRICANE and LYNCH MOB.
Speaking to Frankie DiVita — radio personality at Southern California's 96.7 KCAL Rocks — at this past weekend's NAMM (National Association Of Music Merchants) show at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, Campbell stated about his decision to revisit the DIO material: "It's kind of come full circle with me, 'cause for a lot of years, because of what went on with the DIO thing, with [Ronnie James Dio's wife and manager] Wendy Dio and Ronnie, I felt very hurt by it all, and I kind of wanted to distance myself from it and just get on with my life, and I didn't even listen to the music for the longest time. And so many years have passed and so many people have come up to me with DIO records and you can tell that they were really affected by the music. So I've actually come full circle and I'm willing to take ownership of what was mine and the riffs that I wrote and the solos I played, the songs that I wrote with Ronnie and with Jimmy. I've been listening to those records again; in fact, I've been playing them again. I had to re-learn my own solos, which is very interesting, 'cause they were very erratic … And it sounds amazing. We've been rehearsing a few times already. We're very up for it. I mean, it sounds really, really, really good. And it's exciting and challenging for me to play like that again, 'cause I haven't done it in a long time. So between that and my stint with THIN LIZZY a couple of yers ago, it's really kind of reignited my passion for playing guitar."
On the topic of LAST IN LINE's touring plans, Vivian said: "We're in the middle of booking a European tour right now, to start this summer … We're gonna do some regional U.S. warm-up shows in the early summer and we're gonna be doing festivals in Europe this summer."
In an August 2012 interview with David Kelso, a DJ for 107.7 FM, KRXO, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Campbell stated about Freeman: "The thing that Andy has going for him is that he doesn't sound like Ronnie, he doesn't have that tonality Ronnie does, and I know that there a few singers out there that do. A lot of people said, 'Why don't you get this guy? He sounds just like Ronnie. And this guy sounds exactly like Ronnie.' But that's kind of missing the point. I don't want a Ronnie clone. I don’t want that to be the focal point of the band. I want it to be a celebration of the original band and the original albums and just the original music. Andy brings his own thing to it; he puts his own spin on it. He's a great, great singer who does justice to the songs, but he doesn't try to clone Ronnie. Like I said, I want the focus to be about the original band and the original songs."
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.
Speaking to Rush On Rock in January 2011, Campbell had this to say about the passing of the iconic singer: “I was numb to the whole thing. I hadn't talked to Ronnie in 25 years, so it wasn't as if we were close. My mother died nine or 10 days before him, so I was preoccupied with that. And my father died nine months before that. It was a really tough year on a personal level, and I had enough to think about."
He added, "The news about Ronnie James Dio just bounced off me. It was a difficult relationship on a personal level anyway. I was really proud of the music we made together but it was tough being in a band together. But he died way too young."
In a May 2011 interview with Brazil's Roadie Crew magazine, Wendy Dio stated about the controversy surrounding Ronnie's relationship with Campbell (in a 2003 interview Vivian called Ronnie "an awful businessman and, way more importantly, one of the vilest people in the industry."), "[Vivian] always said that he hated all the albums that he played on with Ronnie, and that was very hurtful to Ronnie. Very hurtful. Would you like someone who said something like that about your albums? He said a lot of things in the press that I don't wanna get into, because it really wasn't Ronnie's feud at all. Ronnie didn't fire him. I fired [Vivian]. He wanted as much money as Ronnie wanted. He thought he was as important as Ronnie was, and that was just wrong. But I don't wanna get into that. It's water under the bridge. It doesn't matter."