Dio offshoot band Last In Line have split with keyboardist Claude Schnell.
The move comes ahead of the launch of debut track Devil In Me, which arrives next week, and the release of their album Heavy Crown in February.
Schnell was a member of the original Dio lineup alongside guitarist Vivian Campbell, bassist Jimmy Bain and drummer Vinny Appice. They reunited under the Last In Line name in 2013, and recruited vocalist Andrew Freeman to front the band.
Campell, also a member of Def Leppard, says: “The initial idea was to reunite the original Dio band to play the songs we wrote and recorded with Ronnie in the early 1980s. It was a limited ambition, but one that brought us great joy in reconnecting to this great music, to each other, and to our collective history.
“Our ambition at that time didn’t extend to writing and recording any new music, but when we were offered the opportunity to do so by the Frontiers record label, we took that step forward.”
Campbell adds that the band decided to mimic the procedure they undertook with 1983 Dio debut Holy Diver, which was written without keyboards in mind. He continues: “After Holy Diver was recorded we brought in Claude to embellish certain songs in a way that the guitar just couldn’t do. From that time forward Claude became an essential part of the band’s live shows.
“In retracing our footsteps, we again started to write as a four-piece, keeping the emphasis on guitar-driven songs. In the course of doing so we have decided to continue on that path, and remain a four-piece band.
“We wish Claude every success and he remains a very close friend and confidant to all concerned.”
Last In Line will take part in Def Leppard’s Hysteria On The High Seas cruising festival in January. Def Lep released their self-titled 11th album via a Classic Rock fanpack last month. The package features the disc, a 116-page magazine featuring interviews with all five band members, a track-by-track guide, art cards and keyring.