Vinny Appice recalls final Dio and Lennon gigs

Veteran drummer Vinny Appice has recalled playing with Ronnie James Dio and John Lennon on their last ever shows.

He’s revealed that when Dio brought him into Black Sabbath for 1981’s Mob Rules, the first track he played was Sabbath’s Neon Knights – which was also the last song he played live with the iconic singer before his death in 2010.

Appice tells The Classic Metal Show: “Before I met Black Sabbath I met Tony Iommi the night before. The next day I went down to the rehearsal studio and I met Ronnie, Geezer Butler, Geoff Nicholls on keyboards and Tony again.

“The first song we played was Neon Knights – the first song I ever played with Ronnie and the last song I ever played with Ronnie. It’s a weird trip between 30-something years from the first time to the last.”

He only recently discovered that he was also behind the kit for Lennon’s last-ever performance, shortly before his murder in 1980.

Appice says: “We did the show at the Hilton and it was a live worldwide telecast. That was his last appearance ever – and I fucking played on it. I didn’t know that until a magazine called _Guitar Aficionado _came out last year.”

He and drummer brother Carmine are currently on the road in the US with their Drum Wars Live show. An album based on the performance is out now featuring Dio’s Holy Diver and Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train.

Vinny is also currently working with Dio offshoot Last In Line, who are expected to release their album in the coming months after inking a deal with Frontiers Records last year.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.