LAST IN LINE drummer Vinny Appice spoke to Metal From The Inside about the progress of the recording sessions for the band's third album. The follow-up to 2019's "II" is tentatively due next year via an as-yet-undetermined record label.
"We were able to get together a number of times in Las Vegas [prior to the pandemic]," Vinny said (see video below). "When DEF LEPPARD played in Las Vegas, Viv [LAST IN LINE and DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell] would have a couple of days off, so we were there. Our singer, Andrew Freeman, he lives there. Now Phil [Soussan] lives there, the bassist. So two of them are there. So we were able to hook up in Vegas, hang out, and then when Viv finished the gigs, we were able to write and rehearse. And then, at the beginning of [last] year, we went to the studio here in L.A. and recorded six songs. So we've still got half of it to do. We haven't done a file exchange, really, 'cause we don't work that way. We're trying to finish up what we've got, and then we'll continue."
According to Appice, former DOKKEN and current FOREIGNER bassist Jeff Pilson, who produced both "II" and 2016's "Heavy Crown", is not involved with the upcoming LAST IN LINE album. "We made a change," he said. "Actually, the guy who mixed the last record, Chris Collier — he's great; he's working with KORN — he recorded this record. And we're kind of producing it ourselves, between all of us.
"Jeff is great — Jeff's a great producer, and [he has] great ideas and stuff, but we just felt that we could probably do what we wanna do now that we're a band, we've been on the road, and we know what we wanna hear," he explained. "But it's coming out great. The stuff sounds fantastic.
"And yeah, I've been through a lot with Jeff Pilson. I've known him for years. He's a great guy. He's like my brother."
Earlier this month, Soussan told the "Pat's Soundbytes Unplugged" podcast LAST IN LINE was working on "a very, very special song that we're gonna be putting out fairly soon. I can't tell you any more than that, but it is something in the interim between us coming out with a new album, or releasing a new album, and now," he said. "So we'll do this as a video single."
As for the musical direction of the new LAST IN LINE material, Phil said: "The songs are another progression from the last album — the difference between 'Heavy Crown' and 'II', and now 'II' and whatever this next album is gonna be called; we don't know yet, by the way. But it's definitely evolved even more; it's gone into even more of an evolution, but we are always trying to keep the characteristics of LAST IN LINE there. I mean, you can't shake those things — you can't shake Vinny's drumming, you can't shake Vivian's playing. And I'd like to say the same thing about myself, and, of course, Andrew."
Some of the early recording sessions for LAST IN LINE's third album took place in January 2020 at Steakhouse studio in North Hollywood, California.
Formed in 2012 by Appice, Campbell and bassist Jimmy Bain — Ronnie James Dio's co-conspirators and co-writers on the "Holy Diver", "Last In Line" and "Sacred Heart" albums — LAST IN LINE's initial 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.
LAST IN LINE's debut album, "Heavy Crown", was released in February 2016, landing at No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. Initially, the release had been preceded by tragedy when Bain unexpectedly passed away at the age of 68 on January 23, 2016. LAST IN LINE, honoring what they knew would be Bain's wish to keep the band moving, brought in Soussan and committed to sustained touring in support of the album before beginning work on the follow-up release, the aforementioned "II".