by: Carox Rox
Carox: I wanted to talk about your British roots and coming from England. How did that happen?
Phil: Wow, you got a couple of hours?
Carox: Was it with music?
Phil: Coming to America? Yes absolutely. I had this crazy, silly idea when I was a kid. Some of my friends would say “We are going to plan a trip to New York – do you want to go?” And I would say “No, the first time I come to America, I want to be playing with some huge rock band.” They would laugh and so would I and we thought it was a big joke. And that is precisely what ended up happening which was as surprising to me as it was to anyone else. That happened with Ozzy in 1985-6, so that is how I first came here.
Carox: How did you get hooked up with Ozzy, you were just in your 20’s then?
Phil: I still am!
Carox: So am I!
Carox: To kill for!
Phil: To kill for! It was a dilemma because I loved Jimmy – still do – was a huge fan of his and still am. I felt tremendous loyalty to what we were doing. I think I ended up talking to Jimmy about it. It was then an early version of The Firm and he said, “Well we are not going to be doing anything for a time so if your goal is to go out on the road, shows and stuff, you might want to consider that.” So we shook hands and I am still in touch with him.
Carox: You have played with a lot of very well known people which I find interesting – people like Billy Idol – he used to be my hero in Britain.
Carox: I understand! In Britain, at that time the music scene was so diverse and all of these great bands emerged! Now you are playing again with some even more famous people. Did you know Ronnie James Dio?
Phil: Yes of course. I knew Ronnie quite well. At that time I was playing with Ozzy, we were two sister bands, counterparts, and peers. My peer was Jimmy Bain, and I met Ronnie many times.
Carox: I am asking that because in some of the interviews I have seen this is not clear. You had a past history and it is not like you were a brand new person to Last In Line. You knew everyone and were asked to step in when Jimmy Bain died.
Phil: It is quite a tricky thing because I don’t think the band knew what they wanted to do. The first inclination was, “Well that’s the end of that, then”. And then after some time, they sort of said, “Well, we did this record and Jimmy worked hard on it. It meant a lot to him and maybe we should take it out to perform it for the fans.” Andy and Vinny asked me at that time if I would be interested in having a play. I said “Sure.” It wasn’t that I was replacing Jimmy (people have said that). The point was that we were not really sure what we were going to do. We were going to go out and play some shows that had been pre-organized and that was going to be the end of it. It was my honor to do that. I was good friends with Jimmy and this was one thing I could do for him. It was only during the course of doing some extensive touring for some time that we realized we were gelling and the chemistry we had was not dissimilar from before. After a while, it came up all of a sudden we should do another record. I think the one factor that determined it was that there were many bands that go out and play “heritage rock” and then when they play a new song everyone goes to the restroom! We are in a very fortunate position in that people wanted to hear our new songs – Starmaker – The Devil in Me!
Carox: The reason is that there is too much talent there to play only “heritage rock”. A new lineup is naturally going to generate new music and people get very excited about what is going to come out of different combinations of musicians.
Phil: That is very nice of you to say Carox. I don’t take that for granted. In this business you can do everything right and yet there is one planet spinning alignment thing that you can’t control and it just doesn’t work. And then sometimes it does. It is that X factor. There are some fantastic musicians out there playing the “hits”. I can’t imagine Journey playing new songs and them being as well received as their hits. It is a challenge and a difficult thing to deal with. If we have managed to do that it is very fortunate and we are very blessed and grateful.
Carox: So you are playing on their second album ““II” – out now.
Phil: Yes and we have all been very proactive about the “Pledge situation”. It has been a mess but we are making sure all our fans are being sorted out.
Carox: How have the gigs been going so far?
Phil: It has been unbelievable, it really has. Most of the shows we have been played have been packed with people. They love the band and find energy they might not have been expecting. Andrew is a phenomenal frontman. He has a great rapport with the audience. He very quickly establishes that he is Andy Freeman – people do not do a comparison between him and Ronnie James Dio. It is evident that he is someone different and he is there to do justice and homage to the original songs and interpret them in a different way. Also, do new stuff.
Carox: How are the other band members enjoying the tour?
Phil: Well we are all enjoying it. We are all good friends. We have known each other that long; it is not like a new band. We just have fun. Sometimes the conditions are less than ideal with driving around in a van and planes, trains and automobiles that kind of thing! But we have fun, it’s nothing but humor. We tell jokes and poke fun at each other, Vivian is a trooper. His schedule with Def Leppard means we have to work around his schedule. It means the minute he gets off stage with them he jumps straight into a van. He is loving it. In photographs, he has a big grin on his face all the time.
Carox: He has an amazing work ethic I think! I have always thought that! What would you like to say to your fans?
Phil: Well, just be prepared to enjoy yourself and the show, the material we play. There are certain songs we have to play – ones that Vinny and Vivian and Jimmy wrote – then songs from the first album and new album – and there is quite a cross section of music to enjoy. I would like to thank our fans for the tremendous support during the Pledge debacle but the most important thing is our fans are taken care of. Thank you to those fans coming out again to venues that we circle back to and to the new faces. Come out and see us, there is something for everyone.
68 on January 23, 2016. Last In Line brought in renowned bassist Phil Soussan (ex-Ozzy) to fill
Bain’s spot and kept playing shows in support of the album, headlining festivals and playing with such bands as Saxon and Megadeth.
Last In Line Current Tour Schedule: Lineup: Andrew Freeman – Vocals
Vinny Appice – Drums
Phil Soussan – Bass
Vivian Campbell – Guitars