PHIL SOUSSAN On LAST IN LINE Live Shows: 'We Do More Original Material Than We Do Any DIO Material'February 10, 2023
Phil Soussan says that LAST IN LINE doesn't feel any pressure to perform a DIO-centric set during its live shows.
When LAST IN LINE formed, the 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.
Soussan, who joined LAST IN LINE in 2016 following the passing of the band's original bassist Jimmy Bain, discussed LAST IN LINE's musical mindset in a new interview with The Rock Experience With Mike Brunn. He said: ""We wrestled for a little bit with people mistaking us for a heritage band or a Dio tribute band or whatever. There is a band that does that," apparently referring to DIO DISCIPLES, which pays tribute to Ronnie James Dio and is fully supported by Dio's widow/manager Wendy, "but it's not us. There are some [DIO] songs which we'd have to play; otherwise we'd probably get lynched. So we would do that.
"For us, a lot of those DIO songs that we used to play in the early days of LAST IN LINE were placeholders for our new material," Phil explained. "And so as we've been writing and releasing our own material, we started to replace some of those songs, to the point now where we do more original material than we do any DIO material.
"People have to come and have a listen to it and see. So many bands, [they go], 'Okay, here's the hits. Now we're gonna play one of our own songs,' and everybody files out to the bathroom. That doesn't happen with our shows," Soussan noted. "It's amazing. I don't know why — I have no idea why. But because of just the alignment of the planets, or whatever it is, people do really appreciate and love our material, and they want to hear those songs.
"When we played [the U.K.'s] Download [festival] in 2019, which was a pinnacle for us, actually, going out there on a stage in front of so many people, we did have a debate backstage," Phil recalled. "We said, 'What songs should we play? Are people here to hear the DIO songs?' And the idea came up to just go ahead and just play our own material. In fact, the only DIO song we played, I think, was an encore, but everything else was our material. Trial by fire, right? It's either gonna go down like a storm or a sack of shit. And it was fantastic. People loved it. And that really gave us the confidence to move forward and say, 'You know what? People really wanna hear this material. They love the new songs. They love the way it's going.' Obviously, it's quality. You can put it up next to the DIO catalog. But the DIO catalog was a long, long time ago. The only thing we have in common with that is the same DNA. So we have Vivian [Campbell, guitar] and Vinny [Appice, drums], of course. And the method by which we write the records, which we've kept the same as they did with DIO. In a nutshell, we don't bring in any songs that we record [on our own] as demos. We literally get into a room with nothing in front of us but our instruments and we create everything organically."
LAST IN LINE will release its third studio album, "Jericho", on March 31 via earMUSIC.
Last year, LAST IN LINE surprised fans by releasing a unique version of THE BEATLES classic "A Day In The Life", which was made available on the limited 12-inch silver collector's EP with the same name.
LAST IN LINE's third studio album was helmed by Chris Collier, who has previously worked with KORN and WHITESNAKE, among other bands. LAST IN LINE's first two albums were produced by former DOKKEN and current FOREIGNER bassist Jeff Pilson.
Formed in 2012 by Appice, Campbell and Bain — Ronnie James Dio's co-conspirators and co-writers on the "Holy Diver", "Last In Line" and "Sacred Heart" albums — LAST IN LINE's debut album, "Heavy Crown", was released in February 2016 via Frontiers Music Srl, landing at No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. Initially, the release had been preceded by tragedy when Bain unexpectedly died 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 before beginning work on the follow-up release, 2019's "II", which was also made available through Frontiers Music Srl.
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