You’ve seen him onstage with such rock giants as Ozzy Osbourne and Billy Idol. Now, legendary bassist Phil Soussan has stepped in the shoes for the late Jimmy Bain (R.I.P.) in Last in Line – the band made up of former Dio bandmates that originally included Bain, guitarist Vivian Campbell, drummer Vinnie Appice, and newcomer Andrew Freeman on vocals.
Last week, the band dropped their second studio album (and first with Soussan on board) simply titled II. Just days before its release I was able to speak with the ever-so-gracious Soussan over the phone about the new album, as well as taking over for the previously-mentioned Bain shortly after the band’s first album, which he says; “Well, I never really considered myself ‘taking over’ for Jimmy when I came in. It just seemed like the right thing to do for him, to at least perform that album, because he worked really hard on it, and I know it meant a lot to him. Jimmy was also a friend of mine that I knew for a very long time. We were all counterparts in our respective bands, cut from the same cloth. So I felt privileged to be able to get out there and honor him by playing those songs and bringing them to the fans. That was something I could do for my friend.”
Knowing Soussan is no stranger to songwriting himself (perhaps his best known writing credit is co-composing Ozzy’s 1986 hit “Shot in the Dark”), I inquired how the songwriting for II went, which he explained; “We wrote songs in what’s considered today to be a very unconventional way…together (Laughs). These days everybody has their own studio next to their coffee machines, but we did it collectively, as a unit. All of the songs were written equally between the four of us, which is why there’s no individual songwriting credits, and that’s how things really should be done.”
I also asked him how the new material has been going over so far live, to which he says; “Well, when you have bands together that have been established over many years (I like to call them “heritage bands”), a lot of the time you do have people that go to their shows just to hear the hits that they’ve grown to love, and the band doesn’t really get a fair crack at the whip when it comes to new material. Usually when the band says, ‘here’s a new song,’ everybody heads to the bathroom. But in our case, we’ve been very fortunate that the fans have wanted to hear new material, and we don’t take that lightly or for granted at all, and it’s probably the reason we’re still doing what we’re doing.”
He goes on to elaborate, “I’ve done a lot of records, and by the time you’re finished recording one, the last thing you wanna do is listen to it again. But every time I listen to this one, I hear something new I rediscover, and for that reason I have an element of confidence in it, and hopefully I’m right (Laughs)!”
Aside from music, Soussan, has also tried his hand at cooking over the years, having even owned his own restaurant in the past. I asked how he got involved with local Central, FL rocker Kenny Wilkerson’s upcoming cookbook “Rockin’ Recipes for Autism,” and he says; “Ken had basically contacted me asking if I would be interested in submitting something. I thought it was for a great cause, and cooking is something that is very near and dear to me, so it was something I jumped on right away.”
Unfortunately there are no Florida dates for Last in Line at the time of this writing, though those in other parts of the world will have a chance to catch the band in the very near future. Soussan informs me, “We’re very excited to have just gotten announced on the Download Festival in Britain this June. Vivian’s going to be doing double-duty that day, headlining with Def Leppard. The last time I played there was in 1986 (when it was still known as “Monsters of Rock) when Ozzy headlined, and the band opening for us at the time was Def Leppard, so it’s funny how life kinda flip things around on you sometimes!”