Former DIO and current DIO DISCIPLES guitarist Craig Goldy says that Vivian Campbell's LAST IN LINE project is "nowhere near" the first DIO three albums in terms of quality, despite the fact that it was formed by three original members of the DIO band.
Campbell, drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain 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. Vivian later publicly took issue with Ronnie's need for total control of the band, claiming that finances played a major part in the bad blood that preceded the split.
Vivian, Vinny and Jimmy reunited in 2012 alongside singer Andrew Freeman to launch LAST IN LINE.
When LAST IN LINE formed, the intent was to celebrate Ronnie James Dio's early work by reuniting the members of the original DIO lineup. After playing shows that featured a setlist composed exclusively of material from the first three DIO albums, the band decided to move forward and create new music in a similar vein.
Asked in a recent interview with All That Shreds what he thinks about Vivian's claim that he was fired during the "Sacred Heart" tour due to his very vocal financial disagreements with Ronnie, Goldy said: "It's just unfortunate, because I was there from the very beginning. Even in the 'Holy Diver' days. Ronnie and I were friends because I was working with him with the band ROUGH CUTT.
"Vivian keeps trying to say that Ronnie broke a promise," he continued. "Ronnie is a man of his word. It wasn't a broken promise; it was a promise deferred. That's a totally different thing. I was there. I remember when they first started, the truck showed up and there was no crew. Ronnie was there unloading gear and everybody else was just standing around. I've seen this so many times when something needed to be done and there was nobody there to do it. Ronnie and Wendy [Dio, Ronnie's wife and manager] would do it, and I was just looking at them, like, you know, they're doing so many things that I thought were so beneath them, that it would hurt my heart, so I would lend a hand, just because I couldn't stand to see him do stuff, but they were building.
"Little by little, there is a pecking order. When [Ritchie] Blackmore left DEEP PURPLE, it was his time to call the shots and Ronnie didn't make very much money out of that. When Ozzy [Osbourne] left BLACK SABBATH or whichever the case may be, it was Tony Iommi and the rest of the original members time to call the shots and get the market share to do what they thought was best for the band. When Ronnie formed DIO, it was his time to call the shots. Even though Blackmore and Iommi did what was best for the band, Ronnie turned around, did what was best for the fans. So he was bringing them 18-foot fire-breathing dragons with real fire come out of their mouth and lasers shoot out of its eyes and explosions would occur. He never hiked the prices up to make up the cost; that was his way of giving back to his fans. Ronnie basically cut his profit margin in half and everybody wants to say how much money Ronnie made, but they don't discuss how much they spent here and they were on to something that some of the guys didn't want to do. They weren't on with that, because that meant a cut of there pie would get smaller. They were honest about it. Wendy and Ronnie's hearts weren't in it for the money."
Goldy went on to discuss LAST IN LINE, which takes its name from the second DIO album released in 1984.
"Jimmy Bain and I did some stuff together," he said. "Vinny Appice is a dear friend of mine and I like what Vivian did. The iconic sound, but people forget that everything that he did was under Ronnie's guidance. LAST IN LINE is nowhere near what they created on those first three albums. They were produced under Ronnie's guidance. That's what made them so great. Ronnie knew how to pull the best out of people."
Craig continued: "When I joined DIO and I got my advance from the record company, all of a sudden, you know, people who shall rename nameless started asking to be with me because they wanted me to give them money. They felt that they deserved more money than what they got even though they didn't do anything. Wendy and Ronnie told me I'd be crazy to give them any.
"Vivian is a gentleman sometimes. He's always been a gentleman to me. Vivian did come from money. A lot of guys who come from money are kind of spoiled. Ronnie didn't come from money.
"Let's just call a spade a spade. Vivian is a great guitar player and he can be a gentleman. He can be a wonderful person, but, you know, dear Lord, the only person I know that can hold 30-year-old grudges is my mom."
Two years ago, Campbell told BigMusicGeek.com that he didn't think LAST IN LINE was "even in the same league as the DIO DISCIPLES," which is made up of former members of DIO, along with a rotating lineup of singers, including former JUDAS PRIEST frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens. "None of those guys were original members of the band DIO," he said. "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. The guys in the DIO DISCIPLES... As far as I'm concerned, there is zero credibility with the DIO DISCIPLES."
Vivian went on to say that he didn't know about DIO DISCIPLES' existence until 2012, almost two years after the band first started playing shows as a tribute to Ronnie. "It was around the time that [LAST IN LINE] got together to jam that I had first heard of the DIO DISCIPLES," the guitarist said. "I wasn't even aware of them. It was actually Vinny who told me. I couldn't believe that these guys were going out and playing songs that we actually wrote with Ronnie. I thought, 'Well, if they're doing it, then why shouldn't we do it?' With us, there is a legitimacy to what were doing, ya know? I doubt that there is a real legitimacy in the DIO DISCIPLES."
In a 2016 interview with All That Shreds, Campbell said that he was fired by Wendy Dio because he refused to accept a new contract, and claimed she was not "musical" enough to understand that DIO was a "creative unit" and not just Ronnie James Dio's "backing band."