Vivian Campbell has told Rock Today in a new interview that "the most difficult aspect" of making LAST IN LINE's sophomore album, "II", was finding the time to write and record. "We're all busy with other things and we don't have a blocked set of time," he said. "The same was true with [2016's] 'Heavy Crown' [album]. We don't have like a window of time, like a month or whatever, to go write and record an album. It has to be done piecemeal. So we would go and write, we'd have, say, three- or four-day sessions when we were free, we'd go into in a rehearsal room and we'd write musical ideas. Now Phil [Soussan, bass], Vinny [Appice, drums] and I are in the Los Angeles area but Andrew [Freeman, vocals] lives in Las Vegas. Everyone was in on the initial sessions but the majority of the time, the three of us would come up with musical ideas, a musical bed, and chop it into what we felt was a decent arrangement. We'd record every rehearsal session and we'd send it on to Andrew, and Andrew would write the lyrics to it. So that's how we work most of the time. We do it for about three days and then we kind of we put it aside. Then when Jeff Pilson, who produced the record, was free from his FOREIGNER schedule, we'd go into Jeff's studio and start recording some of the tracks. It was all done very, very, piecemeal over the course of a year or so."
He continued: "To be honest, it got really, really confusing and really difficult to keep up with what was what, especially because the titles were changing all the time. You had 'Idea Number 1' or 'Fast Song' or 'Slow Heavy Song In F#', or whatever the titles were initially. You had to give them some sort of a title. We actually gave them really stupid titles related to home purchasing because I was buying a house at the time [laughs] and experiencing all sorts of issues. The initial song ideas were like 'Black Mould' because it sounds like 'Black Dog' by LED ZEPPELIN. We had 'Apartment', we had 'Arthur Roof'… so anything that was sort of home or moving or home work related. But when Andrew got the songs and he started writing lyrics, then the titles would start to change. So these files were flying around — the demos — and the names were constantly changing, and indeed a lot of the arrangements were changing, because Andrew didn't always accept everything we sent him as an arrangement for a song."
Vivian added: "A lot of the songs on this record are a lot more complex than on the 'Heavy Crown' record. They have the arrangements that go places. A great many of the songs go places that our songs on 'Heavy Crown' didn't. They take a little sort of left turn and then come back again, which is one of the great things about this record. It really sounds like a band's second album, which is one of the reasons I wanted to call it 'II', to bring home that point that this is the second album. It really sounds like a coalescence of the band's sound. We're really jelling and we've really found our place, and that place is to make the songs that bit more complicated, I guess, and a bit more interesting. But it was kind of confusing because the titles kept changing, and even right up to when the album was mixed and we were trying to sequence it, I'd still have to go back and look at the title of the song and think, 'Which one's that?' and go back and listen to it and go, 'Oh yeah, yeah, yeah!' So it was hard to keep up, and especially because we are all involved in our day jobs and we go off and immerse ourselves in that, and then we come back to LAST IN LINE.
"It's a really, really great record and I'd love to next time, or at some point with this band, create a future where we can have a block of time to sit down with these guys and make a record from start to finish the traditional way. It would be so much easier."
"II" was released on February 22 via Frontiers Music Srl.
LAST IN LINE was formed in 2012, when Campbell, Appice and bassist 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 Freeman. "Heavy Crown" was released in February 2016, landing at No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. 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, hitting festivals, headlining clubs, and sharing the stage with metal luminaries such as SAXON and MEGADETH.