The Def Leppard and Thin Lizzy axeman had a rocky relationship with the former Black Sabbath frontman, who passed away in 2010. Dio once said of Campbell: “I hope he fucking dies. He’s a fucking asshole.”
But the guitarist has always insisted he was proud of the work he did on the first three Dio albums.
Now he’s confirmed a reunion with drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain and keyboardist Claude Schnell, two months after they jammed together. That was brought about when Campbell jammed Rainbow in the Dark with Steel Panther in January.
He says: “I met up with the original Dio band guys again. Now that I’ve brushed up on how to play those solos again, we’re planning to jam some more and plan to do some gigs too.
Campbell describes Freeman, a past member of Hurricane and Bulletboys, as “a great singer who can really do justice to Ronnie’s parts.”
Bain says: “We’ve had a couple of rehearsals and it sounds great. Listening to Vivian playing those songs again has been amazing. He’s just so into doing this and his enthusiasm has rubbed off on the rest of us.
“Andy isn’t Ronnie. How could he be? But what he does bring is his own twist on the vocals.
“Our aim is to do some shows around November, concentrating on the first two albums. It’s gonna be great getting back onstage with these guys for the first time in so long.”
Last year Campbell revealed he’d been “numb” to the iconic singer’s death, saying: “We never had a very strong relationship beyond music. That was what brought us together. I found it difficult to communicate with him and he found it difficult to communicate with me. I didn’t have any reason to contact him after he fired me.”
Vinny Appice recently came close to ruling himself out of replacing Bill Ward in the Black Sabbath reunion lineup if he was asked, saying: “It’s hard not to. But right now I’m concentrating on Kill Devil Hill.”
An official tribute band, Dio Disciples, has been touring since last year, featuring Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, Toby Jepson and James LoMenzo along with Craig Goldy, Simon Wright and Scott Warren – all of whom were in the band when Dio died.