When LAST IN LINE formed, the intent was to celebrate Ronnie James Dio‘s early work by reuniting the members of the original DIO lineup. After playing shows that featured a setlist composed exclusively of material from the first three DIO albums, the band decided to move forward and create new music in a similar vein.
Speaking to EonMusic, Vivian — who is still a member of DEF LEPPARD — stated about LAST IN LINE‘s future plans: “There will be a second album. I’ve certainly started writing for it; I’ve got ideas for it. I think in January we’ll probably go in the studio together and we’ll start jamming song ideas. I don’t know when we’re going to record it, but definitely sometime in 2017 we will finish another LAST IN LINE record, because we’re really encouraged by the response this record’s [‘Heavy Crown’] got. I mean, I think we hit the target that we aimed for, which was we wanted to make a record that was reminiscent of that era, and we went about writing and recording it in the spirit that we had approached the original ‘Holy Diver’ album in, without being contrived. There is an undeniable sound when Vinny Appice plays drums, it raises my game as a guitar player, and when Vinny and I play together, and especially when Jimmy and Vinny and I played together, it was seventy-five percent of the original DIO band, and it was a sound that we naturally had.”
According to Campbell, part of the reason “Heavy Crown” sounds so organic is down to the way LAST IN LINE approached the recording. “It is very DIO-esque, and everybody really shines,” he said. “Jeff Pilson, who produced the record, I think did an exceptional job as a vocal producer, because he’s a great singer himself, and I think he really pulled the best performance possible out of Andy. The guy who mixed the record for us and mastered it is a guy called Chris Collier. We invited Chris to the studio after we had cut the first four tracks, and played the songs for him, and urged him to go home and listen to ‘Holy Diver’ repeatedly, because we wanted that kind of sound. But the main thing that I kept impressing upon Chris was to not compress the sound along the way. We didn’t compress very much at the tracking stage, we didn’t compress much in the mixing, we compressed as little as possible in the mastering. Modern records are so heavily, heavily compressed — people want their records to be compressed so they pop out more, so their record is louder than the next guy’s. I don’t give a shit about that; I want dynamics in a record, and that’s what’s missing in a lot of modern rock music.”
Bain passed away in late January at the age of 68. He was reportedly suffering from lung cancer at the time of his death.
LAST IN LINE recruited Phil Soussan (OZZY OSBOURNE, BEGGARS & THIEVES, Steve Lukather) to play bass for the group for all dates in support of “Heavy Crown”. Also joining them at the shows is virtuoso keyboardist Erik Norlander (Lana Lane).
Soussan made his live debut with LAST IN LINE on April 14 at Count’s Vamp’d Rock Bar & Grill in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Freeman previously played with Soussan in the acclaimed Las Vegas rock and roll production “Raiding The Rock Vault”.
Appice and Soussan had done a number of shows together as members of the all-star jam band BIG NOIZE.
“Heavy Crown” was released on February 19, 2016 via Frontiers Music Srl.