Former Dio guitarist Vivian Campbell (also Def Leppard guitarist currently) spoke in an interview with The Metal Voica, and revealed his money issues with late metal legend Ronnie James Dio.
He said that ‘we were writing the music but we got no royalties, we got none of the merchandise or the t-shirts or those ticket sales for the venue’s or anything’. He also added ‘It was very painful for me for many years’.
Here’s the statement (transcriped by Jimmy Kay from The Metal Voice):
“I was in my early twenties and it wasn’t about the money to me but it’s about the principle, I’m very very big on principle. When somebody makes me a promise I expect them to keep it because I keep my word it’s that’s just the way I was brought up. When I tell somebody I’m going to do something I meet my commitments.
Ronnie had made us a promise and payment and we worked for very little money, less than our road crew and the band was very successful. Back then people bought records and we were selling a lot of records and we were all very involved in the creative process, it was really a collaborative process. We were kind of squeezed. Wendy Dio who never really saw it as a band. She never really saw the value in the band and that’s something that really really upset me.
After I was fired I think Ronnie knew better he understood the real magic that the original band had and the chemistry we had and how we created together. I think Ronnie was really fearful of her and he never stood up. Like I said it was never about money I just wanted what Ronnie promised, it was a contract that was between the four of us and and he just wasn’t man enough to follow through on it and and I called him on it and I got fired as a result. It was very painful for me for many years.
We never got royalty checks that was the whole issue, we worked for for minimum wages even though we were writing the music we got no royalties, we got none of the merchandise or the t-shirts or those ticket sales for the venue’s or anything. We got a flat salary that was less than the road crew.
Ronnie had promised by the third album Sacred Heart there would be an equity situation so that was the the principal that got me fired. You know they offered us a few few hundred dollars more per week and then I got sent a contract by Wendy and it said failure to sign and return this contract by this date will constitute you’re no longer being in the band. I tried to call Ronnie, I was in Ireland at the time, it was a break between legs of the Sacred Heart tour which finished North America.
I’d gone back to visit my family my parents and I got this contract in a FedEx envelope and I was shocked I opened it and and I tried to call Ronnie and he wouldn’t answer the phone. Next thing you know Craig Goldie is the guitarist. It was a seamless transition obviously it was well-executed and planned you know but that I wouldn’t change any of that, I would change maybe how I reacted to it in later years.
Ronnie and I both made the mistake of airing our grievances in public which is never a good idea but you know it is what it is and it was only after Ronnie passed away that I was really able to kind of look at the entire situation in a very different light. For years I didn’t want anything to do with with the legacy of Dio. Later on I really wanted to reconnect with that fire.”
You can watch the entire interview below.