Guitarist Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, ex-Dio) has revealed via Facebook that he is planning a reunion with drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain and keyboardist Claude Schnell, two months after they jammed together. That was brought about when Campbell jammed on ‘Rainbow in the Dark’ with Steel Panther in January.
Campbell and the other former Dio bandmates may play “some gigs” that will see the musicians performing material from the early Dio records that Campbell appeared on.
Campbell, Appice and Schnell jammed together in late February, with Vivian writing at the time on his Facebook page: “I had so much fun playing ‘Rainbow In The Dark’ with Steel Panther that I’ve organized a get-together with my old Dio bandmates to jam some more of the old songs. I’ve been listening to the records trying to remember how the songs and solos go.” He added, “Well, that was a hoot playing the old songs with the Dio guys again. I even broke out the original black Les Paul that I recorded them on (needs a re-fret really bad!). All in all, it sounded great and now we’re thinking of taking it a stage further.” Regarding who handled the vocals during the late-February jam session, he said, “A chap called Andy Freeman (friend of Vinny’s) (Hurricane, Lynch Mob, Bulletboys) stopped by for about a half hour and sang a few of the songs. He was incredible!”
Just this week Viv wrote this update on his facebook page: “I met up with the original Dio band guys, Vinny Appice [drums], Jimmy Bain [bass] and Claude Schnell [keyboards] again [Monday] night [April 30]. Now that I’ve brushed up on how to play those solos again, we’re planning to jam some more and plan to do some gigs, too. We found a great singer who can really do justice to Ronnie’s [James Dio] parts.”
Bain commented: “We’ve had a couple of rehearsals and it sounds great. Listening to Vivian playing those songs again has been amazing. He’s just so into it doing this, and his enthusiasm has rubbed off on the rest of us. Andy isn’t Ronnie. How could he be? But what he does bring is his own twist on the vocals. Our aim is to do some shows around November, concentrating on the first two Dio albums. It’s gonna be great getting back onstage with these guys for the first time in so long.”
Campbell was on the first three Dio albums: 1983′s ‘Holy Diver,’ 1984′s ‘The Last in Line,’ and 1985′s ‘Sacred Heart.’ Campbell left (or was fired depending on who you talk to) and eventually joined Whitesnake in 1987. We’ll see how Wendy Dio reacts to this as the Dio Disciples are the officially endorsed Dio tribute band performing his material. Wendy and Viv’s relationship has been strained over the years, as was Ronnie and Viv’s before he passed. Last year Campbell revealed he’d been “numb” to the iconic singer’s death, saying: “We never had a very strong relationship beyond music. That was what brought us together. I found it difficult to communicate with him and he found it difficult to communicate with me. I didn’t have any reason to contact him after he fired me.”
Dio Disciples, who have been touring since last year, feature Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens and Toby Jepson on vocals, with James LoMenzo (White Lion, Megadeth) on bass, along with Craig Goldy, Simon Wright and Scott Warren, the later three of which were in the band when Dio died.