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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.
Joe Elliott/Vivian Campbell Off The Record Full Transcript

Saturday, 5th October 2013

Joe Elliott Sheffield 2008. Vivian Campbell Sheffield 2008.
Pics by DefDazz/Darren

Def Leppard members Joe Elliott and Vivian Campbell were interviewed for the Off The Record radio show today and the full transcript is available.

They talked to host Joe Benson about how the VIVA! Hysteria residency idea came about in 2012, the video montage, the Love And Affection single, Vivian's singing, Ded Flatbird, Phil's vanity case, playing the Vegas shows after his diagnosis and going public with his news, the Living With Def Leppard documentary, not telling people about Vivian while being filmed and the possibility of new music and the filming of the Vegas writing session.

Read the full transcript below and listen to an audio clip of Vivian's part.

Off The Record 2013 - Interview Highlights By DefDazz/Darren

The Las Vegas Residency

Joe - "When they asked us - simple as that. You know we're not very forward people, we're very polite, British folks. I think we were just coming towards the end of the tour of America last summer when the offer came in via our agency. They'd been approached by the Hard Rock. Would we be interested in doing a residency there having heard and seen what Motley Crue, Guns N' Roses, Cheap Trick and Elton John had achieved in Vegas we thought it might be a really cool thing to do. And when they said we want you to play the entire Hysteria album we said absolutely fine let's do it then because we've refused to do that on numerous occasions. Mostly because we've been touring and we've been promoting a different record and we didn't want the album Hysteria to overshadow anything new that we were promoting and so we always said no.."

VIVA! Hysteria Video Montage/Did his buddies back in Sheffield give hive grief about it?

Joe - "Well most of them can't because as much as they may laugh at my hair none of them have got any left. So you know it's not really an issue. We can't all be judged on our past. Lots of people love to make fun of - the three big ones is myself, Bowie and Bono regarding the mullet. It is what it is, we were what we were and it worked at the time and it may appear funny now but who knows it could be the next big thing in 2014!."

Love And Affection

Joe - "Actually not. We played it in 1986 on the Monsters Of Rock tour. When we were bored out of our brains in the studio and we got offered a month's worth of festival shows with Ozzy or the Scorpions headlining ourselves and Motorhead and a brand new band called Bon Jovi on like - not at the bottom of the bill but maybe half way up it. In 1986 we played Love And Affection then a year before it came out but we haven't played it since and Vivian had never played it at all."

"Had we carried on promoting the record it would've been the next single but we actually said enough already. You know, we need to go home, we need to make a new album. maybe with hindsight we should have put it out. I was reminded of that by Sav and Phil you know it was gonna be the next single which is why we said well let's make it the first single off the live version then cause it's the logical thing to do."

Vivian On His Live Singing

Vivian - "I'd been wanting to I mean even back in DIO days I wanted to sing and I remember asking Ronnie hey can I have a mic can I sing backup?. And he shook his finger in my face and said guitars player's play guitar, singer's sing. And you can just imagine, anyone who knows Ronnie just imagine him you know scowling and telling me that. And he said Richie Blackmore never sang, Tony Iommi never sang. I don't want my guitar player to sing. You're not singing end of story. So I never asked again. But I really wanted to sing. I've always been attracted to the human voice. I mean it's the greatest instrument. It really is the most expressive instrument so I really wanted to do. And I've learned from all these people as I've gone along and I've taken lessons for years and years. But yes finally it was only really when I joined Def Leppard that I became serious about it because Leppard we're just such a vocal heavy band."

"That was kind of tough for me in Vegas because I had this horrible cough, which is how I knew I had Hodgkin's cause I just had this cough that wouldn't quit for a year. And it's exacerbated by exertion so obviously when I'm on stage and I'm singing I'm exerting and that's when I would be coughing. So I haven't actually seen the DVD yet so I don't know if they have any of it in the footage but I would have to turn round and look at Rick Allen and pretend that I was just rocking out with Rick when really I was coughing up a lung. So I'd come off the mic after singing some part and I'd run over to the drum kit and just cough at Rick and he'd be looking at me just shaking his head and then I'd go back and sing more."

Ded Flatbird

Vivian - "Ded Flatbird is kind of an in band joke. When Phil Collen's first wife was giving birth to his son the nurse at the time asked. She said what's the name of your husband's band. And she said Def Leppard and the nurse didn't hear right and she said Dead Flat Bird?. So you know like even back then 20 years ago we had T-Shirts made up with Ded Flatbird with a picture of a squashed bird and the Def Leppard logo so you really had to do a double take to look at it to see what it would say because at a casual glance it just looked like Def Leppard with the logo. So in Vegas we were Ded Flatbird. We were our own opening act and we'd go out on stage and we'd play basically anything that wasn't on Hysteria was fodder for the Ded Flatbird set. There' was some really obscure songs in there."

"We played a song called Good Morning Freedom that I had never even heard of. That I didn't even know existed and I'd been a Def Leppard fan since day one. And I've owned the albums and stuff but Joe sent out an email to all of us saying I think we should do Good Morning Freedom. And I didn't say anything for a couple of days waiting for someone else to reply on the email chain to say and that would be on what album? And then after a while I just had to bite my tongue and so I'm typing back Joe I'm really sorry but what's Good Morning Freedom. I've never even heard this song. Apparently it was some B-Side of something way back when. So he had to send me the mp3.So those songs we actually - I mean they were much less complex than the songs on Hysteria obviously but you know we still had to put our hours in to learn those."

His Illness/Was he worried something would happen on stage?

Vivian - "No, no I wasn't I mean I just felt really tired. I was completely anaemic so I was weak and tired and coughing a lot. But that was it I mean it's hard work but it's not like working in a coal mine. You know what I mean it's not - and we only had three shows a week so there was a lot of time to recuperate in between and as I told you before we went on air. I mean I was actually in the gym trying to build up muscle mass because I'd lost so much weight. It's funny that you can lose weight and you don't even notice cause I don't get on the scale. You don't when you're at home you don't wanna be reminded that you're gaining weight every week you know."

"So I hadn't been on a scale for a year and a half. So I stepped on a scale and go oh my god. I couldn't believe how much weight I'd lost. So while we were in Vegas for those days off I was actually in the gym with Phil Collen's trainer Jean Carrillo. (French accent) He said Vivian you really need to build thee muscle mass. So I'm in there like ughhh - I'm really lifting heavy weights and trying to bulk up so and I'm very thankful for that. That actually has helped me with my chemo a lot as well cause when I did start it I was as fit as I could possibly be for a sick guy."

Does Phil's trainer run around shirtless as well?

Vivian - "They all do. You know those guys. When those guys have a six pack they just want to show the world don't they. ."

How much product does Phil travel with to get the shiny chest look?

Vivian - "There's a whole road case dedicated to that. It's called the Vanity case."

You realise that you're in a band of bothers?

Vivian - "Well yeah. But I mean I knew that before. But we always have been. We're very close as close as a band can be. People always kind of assume oh you're in a band together you go on holiday together and you wear matching pyjamas and sleep in one big bed like the Monkees. No it's never like that you know and there's certain relationships within the band. And obviously some are tighter than others. But the band did help me obviously I told them as soon as I knew. You know I told my family and I told the guys in the band but I didn't want anyone else to know. I didn't wan it to be public knowledge. I just didn't know how it was gonna be and you know it was only a couple of months down the line. This June actually, late June we did a month's worth of shows starting in Europe and it was only before that that I started to lose my hair. And I actually had a wig made. And I was gonna do the whole wig thing because I didn't want people to know. And then I put the wig on and looked in the mirror and I couldn't do it. I took it right off. It lasted about 13 minute my girlfriend timed me. And I thanked the guy who made it he did a fantastic job and I paid him a lot of money for it and I put it in a closet and it's been there ever since."

"And I just - I went on my facebook page and I kinda announced that I was going on tour with Def Leppard and that I have no hair and I kinda came out of the chemo closet with it. And you what I feel a lot better for it because to me I put the wig on and as much as I love the guys in Steel Panther. I was like is this what this is? Am I gonna be like Steel Panther. Like where do you draw the line. Do you put it on just before the stage or do you put it on in the hotel lobby. Or going through airports or and then what if they make you take it off in security. So you go through this whole process and I thought - I'm not gonna do this and I feel so much better for it you know. It's also been part of the catharsis for me. It's like it's a weight off my shoulder to just let everyone know OK this is what it is and you know what it's not as bad as I thought and it's gonna be fine."

Living With/ Being Def Leppard Documentary Series

Joe - "We shot a documentary. It's tentatively called Being Def Leppard. And it literally is just cameras pretty much following us. Most places. There are obviously some sacred ground where you don't let the cameras in. And it is what it is you know. I mean we're not exactly the most exciting people backstage. We kinda just mess around a bit, play guitar, eat a bit of food. Drink a few cups of Tea. Just a quick chat you know it's not a groupie fest or anything like that most of us have had our family with us and the kids were there and stuff. So you just see us as we are which is - we're pretty normal people when we're not on stage. When we're on stage we like to kind of plug in to the mains and get electrified. But we don't really take it off stage we hang the ego on a hook and just become Mr and Mrs normal. You know and there's plenty of stuff there."

"For example just the fact that it picks up on how Rick dos everything with one arm. We addressed retrospectively, after the Vegas run was finished, Vivian's cancer which we didn't allow them anywhere near while we were actually in Vegas because he announced to us the day we actually started rehearsing that he had it. And he said look I don't want it going out until my Children know. And I don't want my Children to know until I'm getting better. So we just circled up the wagons and said not a word to anybody so nothing in the documentary initially was - would've picked up on the fact that Viv had cancer - has cancer."

I understand you're working up songs for a new studio album?

Joe - "Actually I'm working up on, myself I'm working on a bunch of different things. But yes we did have a writing session in Vegas because the cameras were on us one of the few things they said we're not asking you to fake anything but is there any chance we could film you guys trying to write a song? So we said well yeah you know why not. We might actually get a song out of it. So we did actually start writing and we came up with in a couple of hours a pretty good backing track. Which in fairness we haven't taken much further yet because we've been touring this summer and like I said with Vivian's treatments it's difficult for us to get together all the time."

"But Def Leppard are constantly writing individually to get together collectively to tear them apart and build them back together again. So yes as Def Leppard there will be more new music. I don't know whether we'll make a record Joe in fairness. As in a 12 track or 10 track record. I think maybe the thing to do these days is to do two or three great songs like we did for the end of Mirrorball and put them out like a new Def Leppard EP or something. Do that a few times and then gather them all together and put a record out. Instead of people waiting five years they get three new songs every year instead. I think I would rather have that if I was a Leppard fan you know."