On March 14, rock journalist Mitch Lafon conducted an interview with legendary drummer Vinny Appice (BLACK SABBATH, HEAVEN & HELL, DIO, LAST IN LINE, KILL DEVIL HILL).
On writing new, original material with LAST IN LINE — the band featuring DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell alongside fellow founding DIO members Vinny Appice, Jimmy Bain and Claude Schnell, plus singer Andrew Freeman, who has previously fronted HURRICANE and LYNCH MOB:
Vinny: “Yeah, we started writing, and it’s gone great. ‘Cause that’s the hard part. OK, it’s easy to get together and play the old songs and have fun and go out and play. And then it comes down to, ‘OK, we’re gonna write next week.’ Then you don’t know how it’s gonna go, because we haven’t been in a room writing together for 30 years. And it went fantastic. We’ve got about five tunes written, and they’re really cool, and they sound like us; they sound like DIO. And it’s very interesting how quickly it came together. And we’re happy about it, we’re having fun down there exchanging ideas. It’s really, really a good vibe. It’s nothing where there’s any attitudes or egos or anything like that; it’s wonderful, actually. And this way, when it’s in that environment, you can express your ideas without having to worry or think about some guy that’s gonna go, ‘Well, I don’t think that’s good,’ or, ‘No, we shouldn’t do it that way.’ All the ideas are put out there and we go, ‘Yeah, that’s cool. Let’s try it.’ There’s no quarrels, there’s no attitudes. It’s really cool. So it’s going great. In April, we’re going into the studio to record a couple of [the songs], so we have some stuff down. And it looks like we have a pretty nice record deal sitting there. And Steve Strange from Europe — he’s a very famous guy in Europe — he’s handling the band, and he is in the driver’s seat, and we’ve got a great driver.”
On his decision to leave KILL DEVIL HILL:
Vinny: “It wasn’t a musical breakup at all. It was more of… What you wanna do with… I mean, I started the band; it was my band and then Rex [Brown, former PANTERA and DOWN bassist] came into the band and he was a known dude and strong personality, and it became a great band. So it’s not a musical problem at all; it’s more a business thing where… scheduling and the idea of how to make this work, the time involved, and all the different things. Obviously, I had a lot of stuff on my plate, and it’s hard to devote to one thing when these other really good things are happening too. So it was just a mutual thing where… ‘Look, I think it’s better if you guys continue and get somebody else,’ and see what happens.
“Actually, [KILL DEVIL HILL] was started at the end of 2009, when I started doing this. You devote four years, almost five years to this thing. And it’s, like, ‘Wow! What does it take to get this across?’ Especially when Rex joined the band. It’s, like, people know Rex, people know me. It’s not like it’s a bunch of new guys trying to make it. And it was, like, ‘Wow! It’s really, really hard to get this thing off the ground.’ It seems to be doing better now. And it comes down to getting people around you that know what they’re doing, like record companies, managers, agents and different things. That’s a real important part of being in a band. Unless it’s an all-star band; then it’s easy to go out and do stuff. Like LAST IN LINE is a lot more sellable on this level than KILL DEVIL HILL when it comes to agents booking gigs. That’s the way the business works; people wanna see, or hear music that they know.
“It’s a crazy business right now. Rex and I were shocked that… ‘Wow! This is the third tour already, and we’re still struggling to get this thing off the ground.’… You’re going out and you’re making merch money, but it’s all going back into keeping this thing alive. There’s no tour support, there’s no advertising… Where do you advertise? You can only advertise on the Internet, really; there’s no more [print] magazines. And even then, it’s hard to get a budget for advertising. Videos… You do videos… Basically, it seems like you just need somebody that does social media that you just hire 24 hours a day, every day, 16 hours a day, get on the Internet and get it everywhere. That seems to be the way to do it.”