DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell spoke to the Belfast Telegraph about his LAST IN LINE side project, which was formed in 2012, when he, Vinny Appice and Jimmy Bain — Ronnie James Dio's co-conspirators and co-writers on the "Holy Diver", "Last In Line" and "Sacred Heart" albums — teamed up with esteemed vocalist Andrew Freeman.
He said: "I got fired from [DIO] and that's another reason I do the LAST IN LINE thing. Because the whole way the DIO thing ended left a really bad taste in my mouth, for so many decades, I did not consider that a credible part of my legacy and it was only after Ronnie died and a lot of life experience and a lot of miles under my wheels that I could look at it in a different way and realize, that's my legacy every bit as it is Ronnie's. Which is part of why it is such a joyous experience now to be able to go back and play this music and experience it with a completely different point of view.
"But I'm trying to be as busy as possible as you get one go-around at this and I kind of feel that because I've been in and out of so many bands over the years, I've never had the chance to fully make my imprint and I'm trying to do that as much as possible."
Campbell, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2013, continued: "I feel like I've got a lot more to offer — I'll be 58 next summer but I still feel like I'm 18. My body doesn't feel like I'm 18, but my mind definitely does, and when I get up onstage and play my Les Paul, I still play like I'm 18. I still just have that energy and conviction to it and I got that from my guitar heroes, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore, two fellow Irishmen.
"There's just something about the way we Irish play guitar," he added. "I know that's not a traditionally Irish thing — it's rock guitar and a modern invention — but we approach it very melodically and very aggressively, for whatever reason, and that's something that I've picked up from both of those guys and that I've continued with."
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 Phil Soussan and committed to sustained touring in support of the album, hitting festivals, headlining clubs, and sharing the stage with metal luminaries such as SAXON and MEGADETH.
LAST IN LINE's sophomore album, "II", came out this past February.