Last in Line is a British American Rock band / Supergroup formed in Los Angeles, California in 2012 by former members of the original lineup of Dio. The band's name comes from the 1984 Dio album The Last in Line. Following the death of frontman Ronnie James Dio in 2010, the original lineup of drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain, guitarist Vivian Campbell, and keyboardist Claude Schnell reunited along with vocalist Andrew Freeman to perform the Dio songs they originally recorded. The band released their first studio album of original material in 2016 without Claude Schnell, titled Heavy Crown.
Former Black Sabbath members vocalist Ronnie James Dio and drummer Vinny Appice formed Dio in October 1982 in the United States with bassist Jimmy Bain and guitarist Vivian Campbell. (complete story) The band released their debut album, Holy Diver in May 1983. Since Ronnie James Dio and Jimmy Bain had played keyboards on the record, they recruited keyboardist Claude Schnell for live shows in 1983 and the following Holy Diver tour. Claude Schnell would later become a full member of Dio, and the band's first recorded effort as a quintet would be 1984's, The Last in Line. The band proceeded to release Sacred Heart in 1985 and The Dio E.P. and the live album Intermission, in 1986 before Vivian Campbell was fired from the band. The remaining members were joined by guitarist Craig Goldy to release Dream Evil in 1987 before the departure of Jimmy Bain, Vinny Appice and Claude Schnell. They would not play in Dio together again, however Vinny Appice would return to the band between 1993 and 1998 as well as Jimmy Bain between 1999 and 2004.
Formation and live performances (2012–2016)
After the death of Ronnie James Dio in 2010, Vivian Campbell set into motion the idea of reuniting the original members of Dio for the first time since his departure from the band in 1986. The idea came to fruition when he joined Vinny Appice, Jimmy Bain and Claude Schnell for a jam session with vocalist Andrew Freeman in February 2012. In May 2012 it was announced that the group would begin performing live shows under the name Last in Line, after the first album they had released together (minus Andrew Freeman) with Dio. The band planned to play songs from the first three Dio albums: Holy Diver, The Last in Line and Sacred Heart. Rehearsals continued in the following weeks before Vivian Campbell joined Def Leppard on their 2012 Rock of Ages Tour and resumed in December.
The band's first public performance took place on August 3, 2013 at the Slidebar in Fullerton, California. Every song from Holy Diver was played in addition to five tracks from The Last in Line and two from Sacred Heart. The show was conceived as a warmup show for a four date tour of the United Kingdom starting in Campbell's hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland on August 8 and continuing with three more shows in Britain over the next three days.
The band continued performances in the US with a show at the Vinyl, Las Vegas on October 8 as well as Ramona Mainstage in California on October 12. Vivian Campbell's former Sweet Savage bandmate Ray Haller filled in for Jimmy Bain during the band's next performance at Loudpark Festival in Tokyo on October 20. During 2015, as Vivian Campbell fought his battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma and embarked on a 100 date tour with Def Leppard in support of their 2015 self-titled effort, Last in Line did not tour, instead they finished the recording of their debut album, Heavy Crown.
They joined Def Leppard on their Hysteria on the High Seas concert cruise from January 21–25, 2016, and played a pre-cruise show at Magic City Casino in Miami on January 20, debuting new songs from Heavy Crown and their new keyboardist Erik Norlander. However, due to the death of bassist Jimmy Bain while on board, they only played an abbreviated tribute set on the last day. A scheduled tour for spring 2016 was cancelled due to Jimmy's passing. After auditioning bass players, bassist Phil Soussan joined the group for a small set of shows in April-May 2016.
Heavy Crown (2015–2016)
Last in Line began recording tracks for a new album of original material in April 2014, followed by the release of a snippet of the new track "Devil in Me" in June. The album, produced by former Dio bassist Jeff Pilson, was announced to have an expected release date in early 2016. On November 10, 2015, it was announced that Claude Schnell would no longer be a part of the band, in that they wanted to retrace their footsteps in recording Holy Diver as a four-piece before Claude Schnell became part of Dio. One week later on November 17, the band released a music video for their premiere single "Devil in Me", and announced that their debut album, entitled Heavy Crown would be released on February 20, 2016. On January 24, bassist Jimmy Bain died while on Def Leppard's Hysteria on the High Seas concert cruise promoting Heavy Crown. Following his death, the band recruited Phil Soussan as its new bassist.
In March 2017, Vivian Campbell confirmed that a second album was "well underway" in an interview with Sirius XM. He stated that six songs had been written, and that the second album would released in early 2018. The band had planned to finish it that year, but it had been pushed back due to members' existing commitments with Def Leppard and Foreigner. Jeff Pilson, the producer of the album, then announced it would be released sometime in 2019. The album's title was revealed as II in November 2018, and it was confirmed for release on February 22, 2019.
Vinny Appice – drums (2012–present)
Vivian Campbell – guitar (2012–present)
Andrew Freeman – lead vocals (2012–present)
Phil Soussan – bass (2016–present)
Jimmy Bain – bass (2012–2016) (t 2016)
Claude Schnell – keyboards (2012–2015)
Erik Norlander – keyboards (touring) (2016–2018)