The expansive Dio: Dreamers Never Die documentary film about the life and career of singer Ronnie James Dio premiered last week to almost universally positive reviews.
Ronnie, who passed away in 2010, was among the most beloved musicians of his generation, and in the film it's easy to see why fans and peers adore him to this day.
But Ronnie's career was far from smooth sailing, and his life was not without its ups and downs and numerous conflicts. While Ronnie eventually reconciled most of his failed creative partnerships, there was one ex-bandmate with whom Ronnie never made amends: Vivian Campbell.
Campbell, the guitarist for the founding lineup of Ronnie's solo band, Dio, departed the group after three albums due to a dispute over songwriting input and pay. The situation is covered in Dreamers Never Dio, but Campbell did not give a new interview for the film.
"Vivian is not in the movie because he’s the only person I know in the world who says bad things about Ronnie," Wendy said. "And even after [Ronnie] passed away. So that’s why. There is a little bit of him [from an archival interview]."
Dreamers Never Die directors Don Argott and Demian Fenton added that they made every attempt to give a balanced picture of the row between Ronnie and Vivian.
Ultimately, in a film about Ronnie's life, Fenton told QN'A that the Campbell story was one of many transitions in Ronnie's career. Hard feelings aside, both Ronnie and Campbell's lives and careers went on. (Campbell went on to join Whitesnake and later Def Leppard.)
"Vivian Campbell leaving was a big moment," Argott explained. "But it didn’t stop Dio from being Dio; he kept moving. Ten times more impactful was grunge and the changing of musical tastes, and at that time, that had very little to do with whether Vivian Campbell was in the band or not."
Campbell has maintained that he was fired from the Dio band after complaining about his pay and accusing Ronnie of breaking a "gentleman's agreement" made by the band before the first album.