In an interview by Ultimate Classic Rock, Ronnie James Dio’s wife and manager, Wendy Dio, claimed that she is more than eager to show evidence proving Vivian Campbell is lying.
Currently a member of Def Leppard, Vivian Campbell rose to fame as a member of the heavy metal band Dio. Dio was founded in 1982 by Ronnie James Dio, who left Black Sabbath to form a new band. The band released ten studio albums and had several lineup changes, but Ronnie remained Dio’s only constant member. In 2010, the band disbanded following the death of Ronnie James Dio.
When Vivian Campbell joined Dio, the band had already completed working on their album ‘Holy Diver.’ The album was commercially successful and featured Dio’s classic hit ‘Rainbow In The Dark.’ Following that, they released several albums and singles while Campbell was playing with the band.
In 2019, Vivian told Ultimate Guitar that the band members were paid less than the road crew. He also stated that Ronnie asked him, Jimmy Bain, and Vinnie Appice if they are okay with not receiving anything from the sales of the first three records, the tour receipts, and more. Vivian then claimed that Ronnie promised to make it an equity situation by the third album if they are willing to do so.
Vivian Campbell told Ultimate Guitar that:
“When the band was first formed, Ronnie told Vinny and Jimmy and me 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, and so.
So we worked for less than the road crew. We did the ‘Holy Diver’ album, we got paid $100 a week. When we started the ‘Holy Diver’ tour, our pay was bumped up to $400 a week.
So over the years, over the ‘Holy Diver’ tour and ‘The Last in Line’ tour and the ‘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 according to Ronnie’s widow Wendy Dio, things are not like what Vivian says. On July 27, 2021, Wendy Dio released a Ronnie James Dio memoir ‘Rainbow In The Dark: An Autography’ in which she detailed Ronnie’s relationship with Vivian. She told UCR in an interview that she is tired of hearing what Vivian says about his income. She implied Vivian was lying and claimed that Ronnie treated the band fairly.
Wendy also noted that Vivian’s problem was that he wanted to be like Ronnie. Wendy said she got upset after hearing about Ronnie and wanted to defend her husband. Wendy then revealed she has all the paperwork to prove her claims which will also expose that Vivian is lying.
Wendy Dio told Ultimate Classic Rock about including this issue in the memoir:
“I wanted to, because I am so sick to death of hearing Vivian saying things like, ‘Ronnie paid me $100 a week.’ Well, how did he buy a Ferrari with a hundred dollars a week? Ronnie was always fair to his people.
It costs a lot of money to put that show on. All of the time, we paid for everything – buses, trucks, hotels, per diems, lighting, sound, and everything else. I think he treated the band very fairly.
The problem is – Vivian, for some reason, decided he wanted to be Ronnie. Well, you know, the band was called Dio. But the fact was that Ronnie had already been in Rainbow and paid his dues and then in Black Sabbath and paid his dues. He wasn’t just off the street and a nobody.
I got really upset. I get really upset when I hear him saying all of the things about Ronnie. Ronnie isn’t here to defend himself. I will. I have all of the paperwork to prove that. How much he did get paid. That just kind of upsets me that people will say, ‘Oh, Ronnie was cheap.’ Well, Ronnie was never ever cheap at all.”
‘Rainbow In The Dark: An Autography’ chronicles the life and music career of Ronnie James Dio. Working on the memoir, Wendy Dio and writer Mick Wall did a massive search to reflect Ronnie’s story in the right way.