VIVIAN CAMPBELL: RONNIE JAMES DIO's Passing 'Allowed Me To Look At Things Differently And Reassess'

May 24, 2019

DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell, who had an acrimonious split with Ronnie James Dio in the mid-1980s when the two worked together in the first incarnation of Dio's solo band, was asked by Guitar World magazine how the legendary singer's 2010 death affected him. He responded: "Time changes everything and allows you to have a very different perspective. I must admit it's irksome that all these years later, people still think I left the band. I never wanted to leave DIO. I was fired during the middle of the tour. It left a bad taste in my mouth and turned me away from the music. Then in later years, Ronnie and I made the mistake of airing our dirty laundry. We should've never allowed things to get to that point. It was only after my stint with THIN LIZZY that my passion to play angry, aggressive rock guitar was reignited. Ronnie's passing allowed me to look at things differently and reassess. That was the whole reason I started LAST IN LINE. I got into playing that stuff again and thought, 'Fuck, not only was this great fun to play but I helped create it.' It's my heritage as much as it was Ronnie, Jimmy [Bain] and Vinny's [Appice]. For many years, I allowed myself to believe it wasn't, because I kept it at arm's length. Now I embrace it."

A video clip of 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."

In a May 2011 interview with Brazil's Roadie Crew magazine, Ronnie's wife and manager Wendy Dio stated about the controversy surrounding the singer's relationship with Campbell (in a 2003 interview, 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."

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