Former DIO keyboardist Claude Schnell has criticized the way he was fired from LAST IN LINE, saying it "was a little disingenuous for guys that I had been friends with for three decades."
LAST IN LINE was formed in 2012 by founding DIO guitarist Vivian Campbell, drummer Vinny Appice and bassist Jimmy Bain, along with Schnell and singer Andrew Freeman. Three years later, LAST IN LINE parted ways with Schnell, explaining in a statement that the group wanted to work on its debut album, "Heavy Crown", "as a four-piece band, thus keeping the emphasis on guitar-driven songs. In the course of doing so, we have decided to continue on that path and remain a four-piece band."
Asked in a new interview with the "Ouch, You're On My Hair" podcast if he still keeps in touch with any of his former bandmates, Schnell — who joined DIO in May 1983, after the "Holy Diver" record was released but before the accompanying tour was launched — said (hear audio below): "The short answer is no. Not for any real reason. But I think that's what happens — people go their separate ways. You get involved in other things.
"I don't think there's any ill will between any of us," he continued. "I mean, even with the fact that the LAST IN LINE situation kind of ended less than ceremoniously, I'm not really bothered by that, because, quite frankly, I didn't really plan on being in that band in the first place. But that being said, the way that all ran its course, I thought, was a little disingenuous for guys that I had been friends with for three decades. To get news about what the band was doing on Facebook, it's a little too 'Spinal Tap'-y for my taste. But I'm not gonna obsess about silly behaviors, which they are what they are. Friendships are supposed to be more durable than episodes of bad behavior.
"So, we keep in touch on occasion, I guess. I haven't really spoken to Craig [Goldy, ex-DIO guitarist] or Viv in quite some time. I spoke to Viv — honestly, it's probably been a year, I think. I spoke to Vinny a couple of times.
"So, it's not like there's any bad feelings or anything like that. People are busy with their lives."
Schnell made headlines in 2018 when he called the Ronnie James Dio hologram a "travesty" and "disrespectful" to the singer's memory. He went on to describe it as "cheesy" and added that he couldn't understand how Ronnie's widow and manager Wendy could be "okay with it." Claude also seemed to firmly take Campbell's side in the way the current DEF LEPPARD axeman was fired from Ronnie's band. Campbell, Bain, Appice 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.
"We all felt that Viv was really treated very badly — not so much by Ronnie," Claude told The Metal Voice. "But it was obvious that those decisions were being handled, for lack of a better word, by Wendy. Viv was basically set up and he was put in the position where the only thing that he could do was the exact thing that would get him kicked out of the band. And when it came to pass, Wendy was chomping at the bit to walk Craig into the band. And Viv just got very unceremoniously let go — in my humble opinion, for no real fault of his own."