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Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell Plans Reunion Of Classic Dio Band

Noel Vasquez, Getty Images

Considering the volatile nature of his past relationship with the late Ronnie James Dio, it’s somewhat surprising to hear that Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell is reuniting with the classic lineup of the Dio band where he found some of his early success as a guitarist.

Three original members of the Dio band will join Campbell in the new endeavor, including drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain and keyboardist Claude Schnell. Vocalist Andy Freeman (Hurricane, Lynch Mob, Bullet Boys) will handle the classic vocals once sung so memorably by Dio himself.

The quartet of originals first jammed ‘Rainbow In The Dark’  together in February at a Steel Panther show and had such a good time that they decided to get together and revisit other material.

Jimmy Bain told Metal Hammer (via Blabbermouth) that “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.” Of their new vocalist, Bain says “Andy isn’t Ronnie. How could he be? But what he does bring is his own twist on the vocals.”

Campbell says that the plan is to feature material from the early Dio albums that he played on, focusing primarily the first two albums, ‘Holy Diver’ and ‘The Last In Line,’ unquestionably two of the cornerstone albums in ‘80s metal.

Drummer Vinny Appice, who played with Ronnie in the Dio-era Black Sabbath reunion project Heaven & Hell prior to his unfortunate passing says that it was a real trip playing with Campbell again for the first time since the mid-’80s. He said their rehearsal was “tight as f–k” and goes as far to say “we could’ve gone out and played a show that night. That’s how tight it was even after all those years.”

Dio’s manager and wife Wendy Dio assembled the official Dio tribute band ‘Dio Disciples’ last year for a well received tour, featuring members from the final Dio lineup. Although she hasn’t commented yet on the latest news, she did give an interview in May 2011 where she said regarding Campbell that it wasn’t “Ronnie’s feud” and that it was her decision to fire Campbell.

“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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