Vinny Appice has dismissed comparisons between LAST IN LINE and DIO DISCIPLES, explaining that the members of LAST IN LINE played with Ronnie James Dio "on all the big" and "important albums."
The former BLACK SABBATH and HEAVEN & HELL drummer, along with guitarist Vivian Campbell and bassist Jimmy Bain, was part of DIO's first incarnation, which reunited in 2012 alongside singer Andrew Freeman to form LAST IN LINE.
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.
Asked in a new interview with the WSOU radio station if there is "strong competition" between LAST IN LINE and DIO DISCIPLES — which is made up of former members of DIO, along with a rotating lineup of singers, including former JUDAS PRIEST frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens — Vinny said: "Well, the DIO DISCIPLES is a different thing — they just play the Dio songs. The only [musicians in DIO DISCIPLES] that really played with Ronnie were Craig Goldy [guitar] and Simon Wright [drums]. The rest of the guys never really played with Ronnie, so it's a different thing. Craig and Simon put it together and they play different songs from different albums and stuff from Ronnie. LAST IN LINE originally was put together with me, Vivian and Jimmy Bain, who played with Ronnie on all the big albums and all the important albums, and we wrote the stuff with Ronnie. So it's a different thing. They [DIO DISCIPLES] have two singers. We go out and play the classic stuff from the albums Viv and I did, but mainly from 'Last In Line' and 'Holy Diver', and then we have an album out called 'Heavy Crown', which has been out for two years, and that's pretty well-known now, so we do, like, four songs from there, and we just finished a second album. So we're more of a band. DIO DISCIPLES is more of a project thing — a show. Craig Goldy's a great friend, and so is Simon. [But] it's two different things."
Vinny also shot down the notion that LAST IN LINE is merely a "tribute band" launched as a way for the musicians to cash in on their former group's classic songs.
"[We're] not a tribute band," he said. "When they advertise [LAST IN LINE as a tribute band], we get upset, because it's not a tribute band. It's the original members, and then Jimmy Bain passed away, so we got Phil Soussan. But Viv and I, we wrote… every one of those songs we were involved in. Whether it's credited or not on the album, we were there; we wrote them; our ideas were there. And we were the band that, with Ronnie, started playing for years and making it bigger and bigger and bigger, and those albums became classic. We're on the classic albums, we wrote the stuff, so it's not a tribute band. It's just… unfortunately, two members died. It's the closest you're ever gonna get to seeing the real thing."
In a 2016 interview, Vivian slammed DIO DISCIPLES, saying that the band has "zero credibility" as a Ronnie James Dio tribute project despite the fact that it is fully supported by the late singer's wife and manager, Wendy.
"I don't think [LAST IN LINE is] even in the same league as the DIO DISCIPLES," Campbell said. "None of those guys were original members of the band DIO. We're the original band. We're the guys who formed the band with Ronnie. Not only were in the band, but we wrote all the songs with Ronnie. If you look at the writing credits on the first three records, it was very, very much a collaborative creative venture. That's what made the early DIO records so strong."
According to Vivian, he didn't know about DIO DISCIPLES' existence until 2012, almost two years after the band first started playing shows as a tribute to Ronnie. "It was around the time that [LAST IN LINE] got together to jam that I had first heard of the DIO DISCIPLES," the guitarist said. "I wasn't even aware of them. It was actually Vinny who told me. I couldn't believe that these guys were going out and playing songs that we actually wrote with Ronnie. I thought, 'Well, if they're doing it, then why shouldn't we do it?' With us, there is a legitimacy to what were doing, ya know? I doubt that there is a real legitimacy in the DIO DISCIPLES."
A short time later, Goldy fired back at Campbell, saying that it's "just unfortunate that Vivian has continued to say vile things about Ronnie and us. I mean, I was in DIO with Vinny and I'm in another band with him [RESURRECTION KINGS]. Just like with any family, there's always one that holds on to a grudge forever. He's [Vivian] nice to my face. I don't know if he says bad things behind my back. I don't recall him saying anything vile about me."
He added: "I wish he'd just say 'I'm sorry.' Maybe something happened behind closed doors that Vivian finds unforgivable. I just find that just so hard to believe. I don't know what happened between the two of them [Ronnie and Vivian], but maybe [Vivian] stepped over some boundaries and felt the heat. He got called on it and was let go."
Last December, Goldy said in a Facebook post that "certain members" of the original DIO band became motivated by "money" because they "didn't have the same heart for the fans" as Ronnie James Dio did.