Interviewed by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Last in Line the original Dio band from the first 3 albums along with singer Andrew Freeman kicked off a short mini tour in Belfast .I chatted to rock legends Vinnie Appice+Jimmy Bain just prior to soundcheck.
Interview started with Vinnie asking me about my Dio Rising shirt that I was wearing.
Vinny”Who’s that? A local Dio tribute band?
Myglobalmind: “They are from England”
Vinny”I’m surprised that they are using that logo.I’m sure they are not supposed to. Probably because nobody has seen them yet.”
Myglobalmind: How did the tour warm up show go? last Saturday wasn’t it?
Vinny”It was great”
Jimmy”Yes it was last Saturday.”
Vinny”It was a place in California, in a small place near where we live. It was jam packed,and it was fantastic. Isn’t that right Jim?
Jimmy “Yes 500 people had to be turned away at the doors,It was a good turnout!
Vinny”Just my family alone could fill the place”(both laugh)
Myglobalmind: How did it feel to be performing those songs live again on a stage after so many years?
Jimmy”It was great, it was a real buzz”
Vinny”Its kind of like there is a magic there, that’s a word that Ronnie always used. I have played some of these songs with other bands, and different projects and stuff. There is nothing like playing them with Jimmy and Viv,and Claude.There is just a flow to it.It was pretty intense playing them but fun you know.The sound was like monstrous.It was great.”
Myglobalmind: In those first rehearsals then, did you find that the songs came back pretty easily?
Jimmy”Most of them did”
Vinny”Yeah, we got together a little while ago”
Jimmy”Yeah ,a few months ago”
Vinny”Probably about eight months ago,for the first rehearsal maybe. It was just more of a jam. We said “lets do Gypsy”and we just started playing it, and they all come back. It’s like yeah man after like thirty years of playing together. We haven’t played with Viv since probably 86″
Vinny”It all comes back,and you go wow. That’s what happens with a band you know. When you are a real band you go out on the road, and years later you get back together. Same with Sabbath, there’s just something there you know and it makes it easy”
Myglobalmind: Outside of Dio the band, you both played on what are recognized still as classic albums with Ronnie. Yourself on “Mob Rules”and Jimmy on Rainbow “Rising”. Can you both just pick out one memory of recording those albums with Ronnie?. Lets start with you Jimmy and Rainbow “Rising”
Jimmy”I had never worked with Ronnie before, he was just amazing in the studio. He took it up a couple of levels singing-wise you know, and he could do it in the studio”
Vinny”Where did you do that album”?
Jimmy”We did it in Musicland Studios in Germany and it was a lot of fun. It was the first album that I had ever done”
Myglobalmind: Does it still have a special place in your heart?
Jimmy”Yes, the first one that you do and it turned out to be really good. There was only six tracks on it but its still a great album.
Myglobalmind: Yes tracks like Stargazer still sound great today. Vinnie OK back to you and lets discuss “Mob Rules”
Vinny”Well the interesting thing about”Mob Rules”is that we were on tour, I had joined the band as Bill Ward had left. It wasn’t like a permanent thing, it was just until Bill comes back. As it went along we were really getting close together. During the Heaven+Hell tour Warner brothers asked us to do a song for the Heavy Metal movie. We had a couple of days off so we went into Ascot John Lennon’s house, and Ringo’s house and we recorded and wrote “The Mob Rules”in there. We recorded it and put it together and it came out amazing. We were like wow this is going to work. When we wound up the tour we ended up in La , and we re-recorded it on our album. There are two different versions of “The Mob Rules”and a lot of people don’t know that. It was cool though because we were in the house. We set the drums up in the hall, it was like a band taking over a house but it was Black Sabbath. It was a lot of fun,and a good vibe.”
Myglobalmind: Does that album hold a special affinity for you personally, as you have gone on subsequently to do many other things?
Vinny”Oh yeah,it had a lot of special moments, the rehearsals everything. We rehearsed a long time, recorded stuff, worked on different things. I was involved in the stuff from the beginning which was cool. ”
Myglobalmind: Returning to the reason that we are chatting, what are the future plans for Last in Line?I chatted to Viv last week, and he had hinted at something more than just a run of a few shows. Will the band work on some new material, perhaps you already have?
Vinny”We haven’t really talked about anything(Jimmy”Long,term”)recordings or anything.Its funny it started off as a jam “Hey do you want to get together? “Yeah and we had so much fun and it sounded great and hey lets play again. Viv said that he wanted to do some gigs, and we said lets do it that this would be great. It would be great to play these songs correctly (laughs)after all these years. We are looking forward to doing a lot of touring, not just a side project for a couple of weeks.”
Myglobalmind: Are you both aware of the Dio Disciples project(put together by Wendy Dio?
Vinny”You know what we say? They know the songs, but we know all the notes. We wrote those songs, we know all the notes(laughing)
Myglobalmind: Looking back you both have had extensive musical careers, can you single out a particular high and low point. Jimmy ?
Jimmy”Jeez, highest was when we went out with Dio and it was a lot more successful than we thought it was going to be.Lows………….”
Vinny”I think personal lows for both of us was sitting here trying to talk to you with that fucking music playing.(venue downstairs were testing the pa for the evenings show,with a range of terrible dance music, and excessive bass)
Jimmy(laughing)”Yes that would be right”, what is that anyway?
Myglobalmind: Apparently what today’s kids are listening to.
Vinny”Its a good way to test if your house is loose, just put those sub speakers on.”
Jimmy”The bricks are going to come apart”
Myglobalmind: So Jimmy there are no particular low points that stand out for you over your career?
Jimmy”No, not really. It’s all good, it’s all good.”
Vinny”There were a lot of highs. I mean for me,I first started off playing with John Lennon when I was seventeen years old. I did some work with John Lennon”
Myglobalmind: I didn’t know that, wow that is surprising.
Vinny”Yeah that song”Whatever gets you through the night”,the hand claps on that song are me and my band.I was sixteen years old. We met him because our manager owned the Record Plant studios in New York City. That was where John worked with Jimmy Lovine. Jimmy had been a very good friend of us, we used to pick him up and drive to Manhattan together to the studio. Then one day they needed hand claps, and we had a rehearsal room there. They called us and said hey can you guys come down and do some hand claps for us. The band and I went down, we saw John in the control room. We were like”oh shit its John Lennon” and we did hand claps. That’s me on that, then he used to come up and hang out with us. A couple of days later, he comes up and hangs out and we are”Oh Fuck” when we are playing. He dug the band, so we did a gig with him, a live gig at the New York Hilton.” to Sir Lew Grade who is British I think. He was an entertainment millionaire/billionaire, this was back in seventy five. We did a live show and we did three videos. He then produced the owner of the Record Plants wife as a singer. We then did eight songs in the studio with him producing. You would hear him in the headphones telling you what to play. He used to hang out with us, we would play pool with him and it was just insane. That was a highlight”
Myglobalmind: What in your life are you most proud of, is it something professional or personal?
Jimmy”I don’t know, I made a baby. That is a highlight for me, just having a daughter, and grand kids now I am a grandad. That is my highlight”
Vinny”I think being able to have played with the people that we have played with. They were so legendary, he played with Ritchie Blackmore, and Ronnie. I got the chance to play with Sabbath. That’s major shit, major foundations of rock. Then with Ronnie, who was the most incredible singer and person. That’s pretty cool stuff you know.”
Myglobalmind: Are there any musicians that you would still have an ambition and a dream to work with?
Myglobalmind: Perhaps somebody current?
Vinny”There are lots of cool people, that would be fun to play with.It would be fun to play with Eddie Van Halen. We both know Eddie. Actually we almost played with him one time, a long time ago”
Jimmy”We did yeah”
Vinny”I called him and he called me back, and I didn’t know it was him.”Vinnie its Eddie”…I went “Eddie?”then I caught on. Jimmy and I were putting something together”
Jimmy”That’s right, yeah”
Vinny”I said you are probably busy, but we were thinking about you. We thought that we would start at the top for guitar players and we called you. He said “aww man,that’s really cool and I appreciate it dude but I’m joined with my brother.”
Myglobalmind: The Van Halens come as a package then?
Vinny “There are a lot of great people around”
Myglobalmind: What’s the biggest lesson that the rock and roll business has taught you?
Jimmy”Wow, good questions today”
Vinny”At least its different”
Myglobalmind: I try to include a touch of originality to make it fresh for you guys who must be fed up with always being asked the same questions in each interview that you do.
Vinny”Probably musicians are not taught much about the music because you feel that. You are a musician and you write the songs and that is all within you. What it will teach you whether it is easy or hard is the actual fucking business.”
Vinny”Where the money is and how to survive, who’s ripping you off and whats going on. You have got to be in control of all that shit and keep a finger on the pulse, otherwise you don’t survive. There is always somebody out there with a hand out. It teaches musicians more about the business I think and how things work.”
Myglobalmind: With the significant changes in recent years is it harder for musicians to make a living these days?
Jimmy”Absolutely, I don’t know how they actually do survive.”
Vinny”When we started in the eighties, it was pretty much a formula. You get a band, you get a record deal and the money was big especially if you had names in the band you got the money. You had the money to make an album, to tour, through merchandising. Everything was bigger,and people sold a lot of records. If you didn’t sell 300,000 people were not happy. You had to sell 500,000 for gold and platinum that was big. Now if you sell 30000 records you are doing good, it’s a whole different thing. It was more of a formula then, now it is like more unknown. You ask “how do we get this going?”I have got a band Kill Devil Hill with Rex Brown in the band and we have got a second album. We got off one label because they didn’t do anything. We are going with another label, for less money but the money is so small.”
Myglobalmind: Do you not feel though that industry changes have given you as an artist a greater degree of creative freedom and independence?
Vinny”Yeah, and now with the Internet you have to go on social media to promote yourself. It’s cool in away that you can control all that”
Myglobalmind: There are pluses and minuses to the Internet.
Vinny”The good point is that you can go and promote things, and there are bands that can make it like that. Adversely you have no control. If you do a song one night and it sucks, it’s on the Internet(laughs)
Myglobalmind: Finally guys as I’m aware that you have still to do a sound check. If I could ask each of you to pick a person that you would like to sit down with and you be the interviewer who would it be, and what would you ask them? Doesn’t necessarily have to be a musician…
Jimmy(laughing)”that’s a difficult question. Do you want to have a go and answer that Vinny?”
Vinny”I would probably pick someone like Steve Jobs from Apple and I’m not an Apple guy Im a pc guy. Just to sit down and pick the brain of how they come up with these extraordinary,and smart and crazy ideas that became amazing. It would be cool to sit down with him. I guess I should buy his book,right? It would be amazing to sit down with somebody like that who has achieved so much and changed the lives of so many people. Music people we kind of understand. It would be great to sit down ….(an ambulance sirens wailing goes past)..with that ambulance driver. Maybe with the Beatles …”
Jimmy”Yes that would be good”
Vinny”And ask them how did you guys come up with this stuff. I worked with John Lennon but I didn’t want to be a fan to him. I was just cool, never took pictures and I didn’t ask him questions like that. How did that stuff come about which still sounds amazing to this day.”
Myglobalmind: What about you Jimmy ?Any particular heroes?
Jimmy”Yes I was lucky to see Hendrix once play live in Stockholm. It kind of changed my life, because it was just so phenomenal what he was doing. I don’t know what I would ask him, but he was an inspiration to me.”
Myglobalmind: I’ll just throw in a final question before I will let you go, is music everything and all encompassing in your lives. Or do you have any other interests or hobbies?
Vinny”No I don’t do sports at all, and never did. I got totally into computers in 1995. Then after the Sabbath Reunion tour grunge was coming in and I was in limbo”What am I going to do?” I actually didn’t play as much for a year and I went and took all the Microsoft courses. Networks and all the shit and got really into it. I was building computers and I loved it. It became a little business on the side, people started turning me on to other people and I started doing doctors offices, I liked doing it and it was cool. I still do it and I love it. I’m not into sports Ronnie too was into building in the house. When we used to hang out we used to go to a place called Home Depot in the States, a big warehouse of home stuff. We would buy stuff.”I just fixed this in my house..I just put in a new sink”He was into that shit too.Its good and it gives you something to do.”
Myglobalmind: thanks very much to you both for chatting to me for Myglobalmind today,enjoy the show.