While filming a new video message on Cameo, renowned bassist Phil Soussan (ex-OZZY OSBOURNE) spoke about what it has been like joining LAST IN LINE in 2016 following the passing of the band’s original bassist Jimmy Bain. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Jimmy was a really good friend of mine. It’s almost ironic that I end up playing in LAST IN LINE and kind of covering for him in a way. I’m paying tribute to his songs. I try to channel Jimmy on the DIO songs that we play, try to do what he does, and also I try to imagine what he would do on the other material while still being able to do it within my own wheelhouse. It’s tough. You wanna put your own spin on things but you also want to pay tribute to the pre-existing DNA of the original DIO band. So I think that’s what I try to do.”
Formed in 2012 by Bain, drummer Vinny Appice and guitarist Vivian Campbell — Ronnie James Dio‘s co-conspirators and co-writers on the “Holy Diver”, “Last In Line” and “Sacred Heart” albums — LAST IN LINE‘s initial intent was to celebrate Ronnie James Dio‘s early work by reuniting the members of the original DIO lineup. After playing shows that featured a setlist composed exclusively of material from the first three DIO albums, the band decided to move forward and create new music in a similar vein.
LAST IN LINE‘s debut album, “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 died 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 before beginning work on the follow-up release, 2019’s “II”.
This past June, Soussan spoke to Metal-Net.com about the progress of the writing and recording sessions for LAST IN LINE‘s third album. The LP is tentatively due in 2022 via an as-yet-undisclosed record label.
“I’ve been quite motivational with the band,” Phil said. “I’m trying to keep things happening. We wanted to work on a few different aspects [during the pandemic]. And we also had to go about getting a new record deal — we were changing labels — so that’s something we’re in the process of doing, and we’re getting pretty close now. But part of that was writing a third record. So we’ve been hard at work trying to write a third record and even record that third record while we’ve been in different locations around the world. And, obviously, this band works as a unit in every sense of the word, so it’s a real handicap not being able to be in the same room as everybody and trying to make it happen.”
In February, Appice told Metal From The Inside that former DOKKEN and current FOREIGNER bassist Jeff Pilson, who produced both “II” and “Heavy Crown”, is not involved with the upcoming LAST IN LINE album. “We made a change,” he said. “Actually, the guy who mixed the last record, Chris Collier — he’s great; he’s working with KORN — he recorded this record. And we’re kind of producing it ourselves, between all of us.
“Jeff is great — Jeff‘s a great producer, and [he has] great ideas and stuff, but we just felt that we could probably do what we wanna do now that we’re a band, we’ve been on the road, and we know what we wanna hear,” he explained. “But it’s coming out great. The stuff sounds fantastic.
“And yeah, I’ve been through a lot with Jeff Pilson. I’ve known him for years. He’s a great guy. He’s like my brother.”
Also in February, Soussan told the “Pat’s Soundbytes Unplugged” podcast about the musical direction of the new LAST IN LINE material: “The songs are another progression from the last album — the difference between ‘Heavy Crown’ and ‘II’, and now ‘II’ and whatever this next album is gonna be called; we don’t know yet, by the way. But it’s definitely evolved even more; it’s gone into even more of an evolution, but we are always trying to keep the characteristics of LAST IN LINE there. I mean, you can’t shake those things — you can’t shake Vinny‘s drumming, you can’t shake Vivian‘s playing. And I’d like to say the same thing about myself, and, of course, Andrew.”
Some of the early recording sessions for LAST IN LINE‘s third album took place in January 2020 at Steakhouse studio in North Hollywood, California.