Former DIO’s Guitarist VIVIAN CAMPELL On The Band’s Pay: ‘We Worked For Less Than The Road Crew.’

Former Dio‘s guitarist Vivian Campbell talked to UG’s David Slavković and revealed how poorly he paid his bandmates.

“When the band was first formed, Ronnie told Vinny and Jimmy and myself that for the first three records, if we were willing to not be participants in the album sales or the tour receipts or the merchandise money or anything like that – if we were willing to work a very modest wage, that by the third album he would make it an equity situation and we would get part of the record and part of the tour, etc.

“So we worked for less than the road crew. We did the [1983] ‘Holy Diver’ album, we got paid $100 a week [around $250 in today’s money]. When we started the ‘Holy Diver’ tour, our pay was bumped up to $400 a week [around $1,000 in today’s money].

“And so on over the years, over the ‘Holy Diver’ tour and [1984’s] ‘The Last in Line’ tour and the [1985’s] ‘Sacred Heart’ tour, our wages were gradually increased from tour to tour. But we were getting paid less than our lighting designer, for example.

“But we were also writing the songs with Ronnie – we were part of the creative process. But, we got none of the record sales, we got none of the merchandise money and none of the concert money. We were okay with that because Ronnie had promised us that by the third album, that would all change. We were all working towards this goal and the band was becoming more and more successful.

“When the third album came along, I was the first one to say to Ronnie, to remind him of the promise that he made us back in 1982 when the band was formed, before we did the ‘Holy Diver’ record. I brought it up to Ronnie when we were recording the third album, ‘Sacred Hearts,’ and Ronnie said, ‘Let’s get through the record first and then we’ll discuss it.’

“So I waited until the record was done and then I brought it up again. And Ronnie said, ‘Let’s get on the road and get rehearsed and as soon as the tour starts we can discuss it with Wendy [Dio].’ Wendy was his ex-wife and manager of the band.

“You know, with benefit of hindsight, I see it very clearly now. It really came down to this – there were only four people in the room when Ronnie made that promise, and that was Ronnie and Jimmy and Vinny and myself.

“Wendy Dio wasn’t in the room, and Ronnie really never stood up to his ex-wife and he never had the courage to tell her that he had made this promise to us.

“And she never saw the value in the original band. She was creatively shortsighted that she could only see that with Ronnie. She didn’t see value in who played on stage with Ronnie or who wrote songs with Ronnie.

“She just thought that everyone could be replaced, whereas I think Ronnie really realized the chemistry that the original band had and he really valued that. But when it came down to it, he didn’t have the courage to stand up to Wendy and he figured that it was easier to just get rid of me. And that’s what he did.”

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