Robert Cavuoto of Myglobalmind magazine recently conducted an interview with DEF LEPPARD and LAST IN LINE guitarist Vivian Campbell. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Myglobalmind: Sorry to hear about Jimmy Bain’s [RAINBOW, DIO, LAST IN LINE] passing; allow me to extend my condolences. Can you share what transpired on the DEF LEPPARD cruise? Was Jimmy ill prior?
Vivian Campbell: Thank you. It was quite surreal. Being on a ship at sea and Jimmy passing was quite bizarre and sad. Jimmy had been dealing with pneumonia for a couple of weeks before his death. He called me about a month ago saying he spent the night in a hospital with pneumonia and was given an expensive prescription. He didn’t have the money for it so I gave him the money to get the medicine he needed. The following week we started rehearsals in anticipation of the two performances on the cruise. He was very weak in rehearsals and on the second day, he said he had been back in the hospital as he wasn’t feeling any better. They changed his prescription but he still looked really jaundice, as his skin was very yellow. During all of our rehearsals, Jimmy was sitting down and would have to leave early. We did a pre-cruise show on January 20th at a casino in Miami, Florida the night before the cruise, he got through it, played great like he always did but he was very weak; he was a real trooper. We were very concerned about him. The following day, we got on the ship and that was last time I saw him. I know Vinny [Appice, LAST IN LINE drummer] and Andrew [Freeman, LAST IN LINE vocalist] were looking in on him those first couple of days to make sure he was eating and resting. On Saturday evening, Andrew looked in on him and he was dead.
Myglobalmind: Will LAST IN LINE carry on without Jimmy?
Vivian Campbell: We were scheduled to do a tour to promote the release of the [debut LAST IN LINE album “Heavy Crown”] but have canceled it. We have two obligations which we will fulfill; the Frontiers festival in Italy this April as we are headlining two nights, and Rocklahoma on Memorial Day weekend. With whom on bass, I don’t know as of yet, as we’re just not are there yet. Jimmy was just buried and we want to be very respectful to his memory. He believed in this CD and it’s a strong record that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with his other recordings. In the last year and a half while we were making the CD, it really gave him focus in dealing with his sobriety and overcoming that demon. He focused his energies on it, believed in it, and was very proud of it — as we all are. It’s weird to think about performing without Jimmy as he was so much a part of the process. It was reuniting the original DIO band and the chemistry is to never be replaced. I personally don’t subscribe to the feeling that you can replace a musician; we are unique like our fingerprints. Where we play, where we don’t play, how we play, the spaces we leave, and our timing. The tonality we each have is very individual, every musician is very unique. It’s going to be different; it’s never going to be the same. We believe in the project, the record, and we will work it to some extent.”
Myglobalmind: The spirit and energy of those early DIO albums came out on many of the songs on “Heavy Crown”. Did you revisit leftover riffs from the ’80s for it?
Vivian Campbell: No, not at all. All these songs were written specifically for this record. There was no agenda to make it sound like DIO. But that just happens to be the noise that we make when Jimmy, Vinny, and I make when we get together. That was the sound of the early DIO records because that was us. The difference is Ronnie [James Dio] versus Andrew. We just went in and started playing. The songs were written very organically and very quickly, just the way we did with the “Holy Diver” record. The only similarity was that we put ourselves in the same set of circumstance and mindset; to go into a room, bounce ideas off of each other and then send the ideas to the singer. For the “Holy Diver” record, we would get together early afternoon and then have ideas to show Ronnie in the evening. Sometimes Ronnie would make suggestions other times he would listen, look at his lyric book, then 30 minutes later step up to the mic to start singing something. With “Heavy Crown”, most of the sessions were just Vinny, Jimmy and I as Andrew was in Las Vegas. Vinny would record it on his Zoom recorder and then send Andrew the MP3s. Andrew would get back with suggestion or provide lyrics so we could cut the track. When Andrew was at the sessions in L.A., it was great as his input would take us in a different direction. It was done piecemeal over a period of eight months at three different recording sessions. We would write a couple of songs then go into the studio the following week to record.
Read the entire interview at Myglobalmind.