Ouch — Vivian Campbell states that Dio Disciples have zero credibility
Former Dio and Whitesnake guitarist and current Def Leppard and Last In Line axeman Vivian Campbell had some rather harsh words to say about Dio Disciples, the all-star tribute band that plays songs featuring Ronnie James Dio throughout the world.
Dio Disciples were formed (according to Wikipedia) in 2011 when it was announced that the surviving members of the final Dio line-up would embark on a project with former Judas Priest front man Tim “Ripper” Owens under the name Dio Disciples. The group has included Craig Goldy (Dio, Resurrection Kings) on guitar, Simon Wright (Dio, AC/DC, Operation: Mindcrime) on drums, Scott Warren (Dio, Heaven And Hell) on keyboards, Bjorn Englen (Tony MacAlpine) on bass, Oni Logan (Lynch Mob) on vocals and Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen) on vocals. Interestingly, Vinny Appice is reported to have been part of Dio Disciples as a touring drummer in 2013 and 2014.
In an interview with BigMusicGeek, Campbell stated the following when asked what separates Last in Line from the Dio Disciples: “I don’t think we’re even in the same league as the Dio Disciples. 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. The guys in the Dio Disciples… As far as I’m concerned, there is zero credibility with the Dio Disciples.”
Campbell went on to state: “Not to harp on it but it brings me back to the whole Dio Disciples thing. That kind of is, I think, what most people want to hear. That’s another reason that I thought we should wait to do these gigs in the first place. It was around the time that we got together to jam that I had first heard of the Dio Disciples. 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.”
Campbell‘s comments were despite that his current Last In Line bandmate Vinny Appice has reportedly been a part of the Dio Disciples as a touring drummer in 2013 and 2014.
With respect to his departure from Dio and whether he quit or was fired, Campbell stated: “What happened in Dio and the reason it left such a bad taste in my mouth for so many years was I was fired from the band. …For years and years afterwards, it was portrayed by Dio, Wendy Dio and all the press that I turned my back on the band. I absolutely did not. I was fired in the middle of the tour and the reason I was fired is because I called out Ronnie on his promise. When the band was formed in 1982, Ronnie sat the three of us down and said ‘We are going to call the band Dio for obvious reasons’. It was his record deal. He had been offered a solo deal after Black Sabbath, so it was his name on the recording contract. He said ‘Here’s the deal. I am going to pay you guys a salary, but it is going to be a band. We are going to write, create and present this as a band, but we are going to call it Dio‘. He said ‘I am asking you to work for very, very little money’, which it was, a hundred dollars a week. He said ‘But if we are successful by the third album, it will be an equity situation’.
So for three albums, we wrote the songs with Ronnie and we went on tour, but got paid literally less than the road crew. We didn’t make anything from the sales from the album and we didn’t get any merchandise sales and none of the ticket sales. But that was fine because we believed in him. We were working to the end goal of this equity situation by the third album, so when we’re in the studio doing the album, I approached Ronnie. I said ‘Ronnie, do you remember? We need talk about it or we are not doing the third album’, but he kept pushing it off and kept saying ‘We’ll talk about it when Wendy comes.’ …When we were doing the third album, he and Wendy had split up, so Ronnie‘s mood was particularly dark.
Long story short, Wendy Dio was never on the same page. She never wanted it to be a band. She always thought it was all about Ronnie Dio and didn’t give a fuck who was standing behind him. It didn’t matter who played guitar, who played bass or who played drums in her eyes. It was irrelevant. Ronnie knew it was different, but at the end of the day he sided with here. He did not stay true to his word. I was a constant thorn in his side and that’s why I got fired. I am a man of principle. When somebody looks me in the eye, shake my hand and we make a deal, I uphold my end of the bargain and I expect them to do the same. Ronnie didn’t. Ronnie let us down and I wouldn’t let him forget about it. That’s why I was the first to be fired. It was never about money. It was always about principle. People summarize it by saying ‘Viv Campbell left the band because he wasn’t getting paid enough’, but that’s wrong on two counts. I did not leave the band and it was never about money, it was about principle. He made a deal with us and I expected him to honor it. Even on the third tour, we were still earning less than the people in our crew.”
You can read the entire interview at BigMusicGeek.