“Inside Heavy” recently conducted an interview with guitarist Vivian Campbell (DEF LEPPARD, WHITESNAKE, THIN LIZZY, DIO). You can now listen to the chat in the YouTube clip below. A couple of excerpts follow.
On his time in DIO:
Vivian: “It was pretty weird because Ronnie [James Dio] was so much older than me and it was really like being in a band with your dad. And in my case, [playing with] Ronnie was more like being in a band with your stepdad. ‘Cause we really had a very strained relationship. We didn’t have a lot in common other than the music; in fact, I think we had nothing in common other than the music. And I’m sure it was as awkward for him as it was for me. But, you know, musically, it was great; I mean, the first incarnation of the DIO band was, hands down, the best, and the first two records, in particular, were really, really strong and there was a great vibe in the band for those two records. And then after that something happened. A lot of people, to this day, still think that I left DIO, that I turned my back on the band, but that’s absolutely not true. [Ronnie] fired me halfway through the ‘Sacred Heart’ tour, which was our third album, and our third tour. I never wanted to leave the band, but obviously Ronnie had a different idea and I actually never spoke to him since then. So it had been 25 years or something since I had last seen him or [we had] spoken [to each other].”
On whether he will participate in any of the Ronnie James Dio tribute albums that are being planned:
Vivian: “No. And I’m not too sure I want to, you know. Not that I’ve been asked, but even if wanted to, I’m certainly not available to; I’m about to go on a major tour with DEF LEPPARD, and I’ve also been playing with THIN LIZZY this year — when I’m not playing with DEF LEPPARD, I’m playing with LIZZY, so it’s a pretty busy schedule. But as far as doing a DIO kind of thing, I would only be interested in playing with the original guys — that was Vinny Appice on drums, Jimmy Bain on bass and Claude Schnell on keyboards. And then I can’t imagine who would sing it; it would need to be a hell of a singer, ’cause, I mean, Ronnie was definitely the best of the genre. I can’t imagine that too many guys can sing like that.”
In a recent interview with Brazil’s Roadie Crew magazine, Ronnie James Dio‘s wife/manager Wendy Dio stated about the controversy surrounding Ronnie‘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.”