Kylie Olsson of uDiscover Music conducted an interview with LAST IN LINE at Ramblin’ Man Fair, which was held July 29-30 at Mote Park in Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom. You can watch the full interview below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On when the band stopped being a DIO tribute band and started focusing on original material:
Vinny Appice (drums): “When we started this out as a fun thing, just jamming. [Original DIO members] Viv [Campbell, guitar], Jimmy [Bain, bass] and I. Then we did it a second time and I invited Andy [Freeman, vocals] to come down to sing because he knew some DIO songs and then he blew everybody away. I said ‘Let’s do some gigs,’ so we started doing gigs with all the old DIO material. That went over so well, then we got offered a record deal from Frontiers Records. ‘Okay, let’s try this.’ Everything went great. The writing went quick, the album did well and so now we’ve established ourselves as LAST IN LINE, the new band with the history back to Ronnie [James Dio]. It’s going great, really great. It’s great to see these people enjoying the new stuff and the old stuff. The songs are, like, 50-60 years-old now. [Laughs] They’re 35 years old and [the people are] still going crazy. It’s pretty cool.”
On whether the band has plans to record the follow-up to 2016’s “Heavy Crown” album:
Vinny: “Yes, we’re doing that right now.”
On whether the band is finding its sound while they continue to record new music:
Andrew Freeman (vocals): “Vivian and Vinny kinda are the ‘Ronnie sound,’ they’re the original sound. I don’t know if you can really define it as the ‘Ronnie sound.’ It was this band of four guys that got together and did three records together and that’s the sound that he [Ronnie James Dio] was trying to recreate since these guys left. I think that chemistry between the two of them added with three new people is working out great. It’s becoming a whole new thing, but it also throws back. It’s kind of a new-sounding thing with a throwback sound to it as well. There’s a whole lot of influences. It will be in the same vein. The music has to mesh together live. The new stuff is meshing with the old stuff very well.”
On whether LAST IN LINE will continue to play material from DIO‘s first three albums:
Andrew: “Yeah. A lot of the stuff we do is from the first three records, the first two, mostly.”
Vinny: “When people come to shows, they want to hear the stuff that they know the band for. If we didn’t do those songs, they would freak [out]. A lot of people go see bands and if they don’t do the hit songs and the old classic songs, they’re going to freak out.”
Andrew: “It’s part of their pedigree, too. The history of the band is pretty immense. To not bring that into the fold would be a mistake. We could go out and do all the new stuff. Some people would be cool with that, but I think mostly they’d be disappointed, but most of the time they say we’re not doing enough of the new stuff. We get that a lot.”
Vinny: “We do a lot of the old stuff. On the long set, we do four new songs. Today, we’re going to do two new songs and the rest will be three new songs.”
On how the band chooses which songs to play live:
Vinny: “We play the same setlist, but it’s like ‘What shouldn’t be on the list?’ We have to play ‘Holy Diver’ and ‘We Rock’ and ‘Stand Up And Shout’, so there’s a lot of things we have to play. And then we just pick the ones that are strong off the new album. It comes together pretty quickly. We don’t do anything past the second album from the old stuff. That makes it easier.”
On Appice‘s first encounter with Ronnie James Dio:
Vinny: “The first time I met Dio is when I played with BLACK SABBATH, but actually the first person I met was Tony Iommi in the hotel room. They called me up and said ‘BLACK SABBATH called you and wants you to come down.’ So I called them and then I went down and met Tony and he was really cool. We got along really well. And then the next day, he invited me down to play with the guys and that’s when I met Ronnie. Ronnie [was there along with] Geezer [Butler, bass, and] Geoff Nichols, the keyboard player. The first song we played together, this was in 1980, was ‘Neon Knights’. I heard it on the radio and I didn’t know the song. They said ‘What do you want to play?’ ‘Neon Knights’. So we played it and then the last song, 33 years later I ever played with Ronnie was ‘Neon Knights’. It’s a weird thing. The song has been moved from opener, to middle, to end, to encore. It’s been moved around all the years we played together. That was the first one and the last show we did in 2009, with Ronnie, that was the last song we ever played together. It was quite the journey for 30-something years with that song. But when I first met him, we got along great. He’s from New York, I’m from New York, we’re both Italian. We had a lot of things in common. It was great. We hit it off right away.”
LAST IN LINE will enter the studio in September to begin recording its sophomore album for an early 2018 release via Frontiers Music Srl. Helming the disc once again will be Jeff Pilson, the veteran bassist and producer who has played with DIO, FOREIGNER, DOKKEN and T&N, among others.
Playing bass for LAST IN LINE is Phil Soussan (OZZY OSBOURNE, BEGGARS & THIEVES, Steve Lukather), who joined the group after Bain passed away in January 2016 at the age of 68. He was reportedly suffering from lung cancer at the time of his death.