Dio Portrait

Feuding bands Last in Line & Dio Disciples to rock Sunset in 2018.

Fans of the late, great Ronnie James Dio are getting two good reasons to hit the Sunset Strip in early 2018. The world-famous Whisky a Go-Go will be welcoming back to its stage Dio Disciples on Jan. 25 to start the year off right — and LOUD — with a night of RJD classics. Dio Disciples is comprised of musicians who worked with Dio later in his career, including drummer Simon Wright, who backed up Dio on 1990’s Lock Up the Wolves and RJD’s tenth and final studio album, 2004’s Master of the Moon.

Then, as “Hey Angel” and “Evil on Queen Street” are still echoing in your cabeza, the Whisky’s walls will be shakin’ again to the sounds of Last in Line, which headlines the Sunset Strip club two weeks later, on Feb. 16.

As far as authenticity goes, this Dio tribute band launched by guitar legend Vivian Campbell (pictured with Dio, right) carries a bit more cache and is comprised of members of RJD’s career-making early band, which also helped co-write tracks on the first three hits-packed Dio albums: 1983’s Holy Diver, 1984’s Last in Line, and 1985’s Sacred Heart.


Of course, when it comes to the timeless metal classics of the iconic former Black Sabbath and Rainbow frontman, our stance is that the more tribute bands there are, the better. However, some of the members of Last in Line don’t feel the same way that we do and think that that there may be one Dio tribute band too many, namely Dio Disciples.

Now, we respect both sides of the angsty back-and-forth between Dio Disciples’ current frontman, Tim Owens, and Last in Line guitarist Campbell. Owens excels at covering classic metal, as he’s proven with Judas Priest, but Campbell is the originator of the music that Owens has adopted for his newest gig, which has been given the devil’s horns salute by RJD’s widow, Wendy Dio, who because of past public issues with Campbell, probably isn’t as big of a fan of Last in Line.


A rock superstar in his own right, Campbell famously earned his stripes as a member of RJD’s band, so, he carries plenty of cache when it comes to covering Dio’s metal masterpieces. Plus, Campbell’s Last in Line includes his former Dio bandmate, legendary drummer Vinny Appice, who also backed Ronnie James Dio on his solo-career-making hits, including, of course, “Last in Line.” Singer Andrew Freeman, bassist Phil Sousson, and keyboardist Erik Norlander round out the current lineup.

Caught in the middle of the heavy metal mudslinging are hardcore metalheads who are starting to feel like (rock and roll) children suffering through a contentious custody battle between two bitter parents.

As diehard Ronnie James Dio fans, we give full support to anything Vivian Campbell puts his name behind. He is one of the greatest rock musicians on the planet, and as the originator of Dio’s early guitar licks, he is untouchable in any disagreement about who can play that music best, and with authenticity.

“There is a legitimacy to what we’re doing…I doubt that there is a real legitimacy in Dio Disciples.” Campbell once told the rock press. And he continues to uphold his rep as a guitar legend with Def Leppard, in addition to creating new music with Last in Line.

However, we also think that Owens (pictured above) posed a very good point when he addressed some of Campbell’s thinly-veiled comments about Dio Disciples: “The more people that celebrate Ronnie James Dio, the better. …Let’s all just celebrate Ronnie.”

And when Campbell calls Last in Line “a passion project, this is very much a labor of love, and I’m very excited to do it,” we support the Def Leppard superstar, and we’re also excited to hear that music live in February at the Whisky.


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