The Nasty Feud Between Ronnie James Dio And Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell

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It’s not uncommon for bands to split apart when a member gets fired, especially when the individual got into a verbal altercation before getting fired. Nothing is more upsetting than watching two ex-bandmates who were killing it in the studio and on stage turn on each other in interviews. Perhaps the worst-case scenario would be for neither party to make amends before one of them passes away.

That’s exactly what occurred when former Dio guitarist Vivian Campbell and vocalist Ronnie James Dio disagreed when they were still in the band. After Campbell left, their disagreement became into a contentious verbal battle that intensified over time rather than dissipating. Even after Dio was given the news that he had stomach cancer in 2009, the two sides were so fervent that they didn’t even think about forgiving one another.

Let’s examine how this feud first began when both musicians were producing amazing music but were negatively impacting one another personally. The only way to determine whether the Def Leppard guitarist regrets not setting aside his issues with his former bandmate is to read about what transpired after the demise of the late Black Sabbath frontman.

Ronnie James Dio And Vivian Campbell Were Bandmates Back in the Days

Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice founded Dio in October 1982 after Dio left Black Sabbath. A month or so after the group’s founding, Vivian Campbell replaced Jake E. Lee on the guitar. The guitarist performed on the group’s successful debut studio album, “Holy Driver,” which featured the group’s biggest song, “Rainbow in the Dark,” when they were together.

Campbell joined Dio for a number of shows over the course of the following four years, including the 4th Monsters of Rock event in England, Monsters of Rock in Germany, and promotional tours. “Hide in the Rainbow,” from the “Iron Eagle” soundtrack, was the last song Vivian Campbell collaborated on with Dio. The guitarist was sacked in 1986 because he was dissatisfied working with Ronnie James Dio, mostly because of interpersonal difficulties and anger related to his pay.

Even his departure from the band presented problems because Vivian claimed he was fired while Ronnie said he left the band during interviews. Insults were unavoidable in the years that followed when their personal animosity for one another and conflicting remarks made during interviews merged. In interviews, Dio referred to Campbell as a “f—ing a-hole” and a “piece of s—.”

The guitarist’s response, which seems less harsh than the singer’s, was that his former bandmate is one of the worst people in the music business. Furthermore, Vivian said that once Ronnie was sacked, Ronnie took away his job with the band. Before the musician’s death, all of these events took place, but what about afterward?

Vivian Campbell Admitted The Feud Was A Mistake

Dio had treatment at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, after receiving a diagnosis of stomach cancer on November 25, 2009. Sadly, the renowned artist passed suddenly on May 16, 2010, as a result of his illness.

Following the demise of his former bandmate, Vivian Campbell has made both favorable and critical comments. For instance, the guitarist once told Radio Metal in an interview conducted a year after Ronnie James Dio passed away that he doesn’t regret having a spat with the late artist. The biggest reason, according to the musician, was that they never had a close connection outside of music.

Campbell commented as quoted by Ultimate Classic Rock:

“Even when I was in the band with Ronnie back in the days, we never had a very strong relationship beyond music. That was what brought us together: we were on stage together, recording and writing songs… It was a very strange relationship between him and me. It was a lot of miscommunication, of misunderstanding and I think a lot of it was generational.”

But a few years ago, the rock star said in a more recent interview with the Music Mania podcast that he regrets how both parties handled the circumstance. He said that they both had the opportunity to discuss their issues in a variety of settings and with other individuals. Campbell also acknowledged that it was wrong for him to have kept his band’s background a secret out of anger and damaged sentiments.

According to iHeart, the guitarist said:

“I’m sure, knowing Ronnie the way I knew him — I’m sure if we had met each other under the right circumstances, without other people around us, one night, we could have sat down and had a beer and probably made amends, hopefully. We made the mistake of going after each other through the media. It didn’t end well.

I was able to go back to that and realize that despite the hurt that was there from the way they treated me, it was still my heritage. I still created all those songs and those albums with Ronnie and with Jimmy Bain and Vinny Appice. We all gave our heart and soul into that.”

Compared to other rocker disputes, it seems that neither musician had particularly serious issues. However, because both musicians were adamant about their feelings, they left each other feeling so bitter. On the plus side, the former Dio member accepted his error and now values his time spent with the group.




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