CRAIG GOLDY Says VIVIAN CAMPBELL Must Have Done Something 'Pretty Insulting' To Get Himself Fired From DIO
May 2, 2022
Former DIO and DIO DISCIPLES guitarist Craig Goldy has weighed in on the way Vivian Campbell was fired from DIO, saying that Vivian must have done something "pretty insulting" to get himself kicked out of Ronnie James Dio's band.
Ronnie, Vivian, drummer Vinny Appice and bassist Jimmy Bain collaborated 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 his exit. Specifically, Campbell said that "it had become increasingly clear" to him that Ronnie's wife and manager Wendy "was determined to separate Ronnie from the band. She didn't see DIO as one creative unit. Ronnie knew better, but I suspect that in an effort to win back Wendy's love" after the couple split, "he was willing to bend to her whims. Thus began the beginning of the end for the original DIO band." He also said that Ronnie failed to deliver on his early promise that by the third DIO album "it would be an equity situation" between all the bandmembers.
Goldy discussed Campbell's split with DIO in a newly uploaded audio interview with Full In Bloom. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It made perfect sense why they all thought they were gonna get a piece of the pie. And I think Ronnie really meant it, because when you really think about it, what a great way to start. Here are Ronnie and Jimmy from RAINBOW and Ronnie and Vinny from BLACK SABBATH starting a band together with this kid that nobody knows about who's fucking furious on guitar. And that first album just skyrocketed. So it's not that Ronnie started a band with a bunch of nobodies. So it makes sense that he would say, 'Hey, by the third album or so, we'll make this more of an equal-share thing.' Because it costs a lot of money for the buses and the bus drivers and the hotel rooms, the arenas and the lighting and the P.A. system. They were bringing their own lights and their P.A. system, an 18-foot fire-breathing dragon. That's when things took a turn that I don't think very many people understood was how much was actually spent. 'Cause Ronnie and Wendy, I guess, had gone to Universal Studios and saw that Conan The Barbarian performance and it had this fire-breathing dragon in it. And [he went], 'We should do that.' It was his way of giving back to the fans so he didn't hike up ticket prices but there was a lot of money being spent. I think that was the time when the band was expecting to get an equal share, but it was so expensive to do that."
Craig continued: "Apparently, I guess, Viv comes from a wealthy family, so I think he was more… Not that he's a spoiled brat or anything, but I remember Ronnie saying stuff like that. Every time I've ever met Vivian, he was always very nice to me, so I can't back that one way or the other. But I know how Ronnie is, and so to piss Ronnie off to the point where he fires you, you've gotta be pretty insulting. So something must have gone down. It comes off like Vivian says, 'I called him on his promise and he lied to us.' I don't really think it was that; I think it was more of a deferred thing. 'Cause they were on to something that was really getting ready to be big, and I think that they wanted to be able to let the dust settle of this… They're gonna be known now… Because they even got a Top 15 spot in the Top 20-grossing tours right under Madonna at the time. That was a huge deal. They won, like, the best heavy metal stage set and all that kind of stuff. It was making headlines in magazines and television and news that a heavy metal band never did before besides KISS."
In a 2017 interview Canada's The Metal Voice, Vinny spoke about the circumstances that led to Vivian's exit from DIO. "There were some business problems within the band," he said. "We were promised to be sharing in things, and we gave it up for the first album and tour, because, okay, it costs a lot of money to launch the thing and Ronnie is putting in his money and whatever. But then it never happened. We were doing tours in arenas. Back then, one of the tours grossed eight million dollars — that was in those dollars; that's probably eighty million dollars [in today's money]. But we got nothing out of it — [we only got] salaries and stuff — so what was promised never happened. And Vivian really… he called [Ronnie] on it and the management, so that kind of became bad blood with Ronnie. But we all felt the same way — that we're not getting what we were promised and we should be doing better than we're doing. Somebody's making a lot of money here, and it wasn't us. So that's what happened with Viv. And then Ronnie and Viv didn't see eye to eye, and then finally Ronnie said to me, 'I'm gonna fire Viv.' I'm, like, 'What?' I just was in shock. And I kind of mentioned [to Ronnie] that that's not a great idea, 'cause it's the sound of his band. And [Ronnie] decided that he can go on without [Vivian]. So that's what happened."
The resentment between Campbell and Ronnie James Dio remained unresolved even at the end of the singer's life in 2010. Not long before he passed, Dio told an interviewer: " In my opinion, Vivian no longer had the commitment to the band he had in the early days. He was — and remains — an excellent guitarist. I never lost sight of how good he was as a musician, but as a person… Well, he was no longer on the same page as the rest of us. That annoyed me hugely. When you've got four people really stretching and straining to do their very best, and one person who's clearly holding back, it makes for an unhappy camp."
Bain, who played with Ronnie in an early version of RAINBOW and later appeared on seven DIO albums (from "Holy Diver" to 2002's "Killing The Dragon"),told U.K.'s Metal Hammer in 2012 that "Viv did nothing that warranted his removal from [DIO] in what is still considered to be a cowardly way. For me, firing Viv was the biggest mistake of Ronnie's career. The problem could've easily been resolved if there had a been a will to do so from Ronnie and Wendy [Dio, the band's manager and Ronnie's wife]."
Bain also felt that DIO was in decline by the time the band released "Sacred Heart".
"DIO should have gotten better with each album, but what happened was the opposite," Jimmy told Metal Hammer. "The production was watered down with all the keyboards, [and] the songs were not as good because it became harder to satisfy Ronnie's need to complicate arrangement and structure."
Campbell, Appice and Bain reunited in 2012 alongside singer Andrew Freeman to form LAST IN LINE. The band'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.
A few years ago, Vivian slammed DIO DISCIPLES — which was made up of former members of DIO, along with a rotating lineup of singers, including former JUDAS PRIEST frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens — saying that DIO DISCIPLES had "zero credibility" as a Ronnie James Dio tribute project despite the fact that the band was fully supported by Wendy Dio.
In a May 2011 interview with Brazil's Roadie Crew magazine, Wendy stated about the controversy surrounding Ronnie's relationship with Campbell (in 2003, Vivian called Ronnie "an awful businessman and, way more importantly, one of the vilest people in the industry."): "[Vivian] always said that he hated all the albums that he played on with Ronnie, and that was very hurtful to Ronnie. Very hurtful. Would you like someone who said something like that about your albums? He said a lot of things in the press that I don't wanna get into, because it really wasn't Ronnie's feud at all. Ronnie didn't fire him. I fired [Vivian]. He wanted as much money as Ronnie wanted. He thought he was as important as Ronnie was, and that was just wrong. But I don't wanna get into that. It's water under the bridge. It doesn't matter."
A video clip of Ronnie James Dio calling Campbell "a fucking asshole" and saying that "I hope he fucking dies" in reference to his former bandmate was posted on YouTube in October 2007. The two-minute clip was shot on March 30, 2007 while Ronnie was signing autographs for fans after HEAVEN & HELL's show at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. "He's a piece of shit," Dio said. "You ever heard the things he ever said about me? He called me the most despicable human being that ever lived. I went, 'I thought I gave you a chance and made you somebody. And now you're playing with who? DEF fucking who?' There's a fucking rock band for you to fucking have diarrhea with."