Prior to LAST IN LINE's performance at Planet Rockstock in South Wales, United Kingdom on Saturday night (December 7), guitarist Vivian Campbell and vocalist Andrew Freeman spoke to Planet Rock's Paul Anthony about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the follow-up to 2019's "II" album.
"We've got another record we're working on for next year, [which] we've already pretty much got written," Andrew said (see video below). "[We've] just gotta put lyrics to the songs, and we'll go from there. And our last album is still pretty new — it's not even a year old yet — so we're already thinking about moving forward and not taking… because of all the things that interfere, that take us away from this [band], we kind of wanna get this going now. So that if it takes a year to get out, at least we'll have most of it written by next year."
Vivian added: "Which is what we're kind of hoping for. We have, as Andy said, we've got a lot of the music written — in fact, most of it, or all of it. And Andrew's just got to do the hard work of melodies and lyrics and stuff."
Vivian, who will spend much of 2020 touring with DEF LEPPARD, including a U.S. stadium run with MÖTLEY CRÜE, also once again confirmed that LAST IN LINE is without a label home, having fulfilled its contractual obligations to Frontiers Music Srl, which released 2016's "Heavy Crown" and the aforementioned "II".
Elaborating on the songwriting process for LAST IN LINE's third album, the guitarist said: "We were in [Las] Vegas with DEF LEPPARD — we had a residency over the summer — and Andrew lives in Vegas, so Vinny [Appice, drums] and Phil [Soussan, bass] flew out, and we had four days, I think, where we just wrote and came up with ideas.
"Anyway, long story short, we wanna get started on the record by February in L.A. We don't have a label deal at the moment — we're between labels — so we're excited about the prospect of going to a new label and hopefully, you know, actually getting our music out a bit more globally. But we wanna get a head start on the record — we don't wanna wait till all that's in place — 'cause if we don't start it by February, we've got no chance of getting it out next year, and it would be great if we got it out, say, about this time next year."
Andrew said that there is no shortage of ideas in LAST IN LINE, which usually means that the music comes together quickly. "Everybody's a writer," he said. "And it's nice that we got together for four days and we were able to put together 12, 13 songs for a new record — in four days. So, when you have that kind of an energy going on where you have four guys that just wanna create, create, create, it's hard for you to rest on your laurels," referring to the fact that Campbell and Appice are both original members of DIO. "I mean, you will — and they're not my laurels to rest on — but I'm very privileged to be able to have these big songs to just pull out. Like, if one of our songs doesn't go over, it's, like, 'Oh, let's just pull some old DIO song out to win the crowd back.' So, we have that at our disposal. It's just nice to be able to write songs and also write songs that people seem to be interested in now. They're kind of standing up — it seems to be that they're standing up with the older tunes. And that's helpful — it's really helpful — because we get a lot out of it. And it's a really unique show. We're doing all these classics, and then you see them singing 'Rainbow In The Dark', and then they all also start singing 'Landslide' — all the words to 'Landslide'. So, it's nice. And I think it's a pretty unique situation."
Campbell also talked about the importance of staying creative in a climate where music streaming is continuing to cannibalize record sales and leave them at historic lows.
"You've gotta be a creative musician; otherwise, there's only one direction you're gonna go," he explained. "It's gonna be a slow descent, regardless. So, you've gotta exercise the creative muscle. And I know that's true of DEF LEPPARD. We make LEPPARD records knowing that there's no way in hell any of them are gonna sell anything close to 'Pyromania' or 'Hysteria' or even 'High 'N' Dry'. And Joe [Elliott, DEF LEPPARD singer] has said this before, and rightfully so, first and foremost, we make records for ourselves in DEF LEPPARD. And in LAST IN LINE, we make records because we have that energy, and, as Andrew said, we have that drive, and we wanna keep making new music. And it's really encouraging to get the feedback that people have towards our own music and that it sits so comfortably, side by side, with the DIO classics."
LAST IN LINE was formed in 2012, when Campbell, Appice and bassist Jimmy Bain — Ronnie James Dio's co-conspirators and co-writers on the "Holy Diver", "Last In Line" and "Sacred Heart" albums — teamed up with Freeman. "Heavy Crown" was released in February 2016, landing at No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. Initially, the release had been preceded by tragedy when Bain unexpectedly passed away at the age of 68 on January 23, 2016. LAST IN LINE, honoring what they knew would be Bain's wish to keep the band moving, brought in Soussan and committed to sustained touring in support of the album, hitting festivals, headlining clubs, and sharing the stage with metal luminaries such as SAXON and MEGADETH.