VIVIAN CAMPBELL Recalls How He Joined DEF LEPPARD In 1992 (Audio)
Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell was interviewed by New York radio recently and the full audio is available.
Vivian spoke to Pat Calamari for The Pat Show on WBXO Radio to promote the 4th May Last In Line show in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Vivian talked about making new music, playing new songs live, first musical inspiration, T. Rex, Last In Line/Passion For Music, Phil Soussan Joining The Band, Joining Def Leppard In 1992, Playing Guitar Live With Def Leppard, Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction, His Current Health Situation and his dog Stuart.
He explained how he joined Def Leppard in 1992 and talked of how much he is enjoying his guitar playing since he was diagnosed with cancer in 2013.
Listen to the full 27 minute interview below.
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The Pat Show - Vivian Campbell Interview Quotes - (Transcribed by dltourhistory)
New Music On The Radio
"It's exciting as a musician to continue to exercise the creative muscle you know. Whether as a member of Last In Line or Def Leppard you know. We still put out new records every few years with Leppard. And it's just, it's always a challenge to get stuff played on the radio you know. But it is what we do, you know, you gotta continue making new music and being creative and that in its own way kind of energizes the old music you know. It's certainly energized what we do with Last In Line and with Leppard."
Playing New Music Live
"Well we're trying with Last In Line and again with Def Leppard to try to find the right balance. You know with Last In Line our classic catalogue is the songs we wrote, recorded and toured with Ronnie back in the early 80s. You know the first three DIO albums were Holy Diver, Last In Line from where we take our name and Sacred Heart. Although we haven't played anything from Sacred Heart in a few years you know. A large part of the catalogue and the show is made up of classics fro mHoly Diver and Last In Line. And we try and, you know, intersperse that with songs from our own two albums. From Heavy Crown from 2016 and from our newest album the II album."
"So yeah it can be a challenge. We try and find the right place in the show to sandwich in the right songs and I'm happy to say that for the most part people seem to appreciate it. And they seem to respond well to the new songs. You know we're playing Landslide from the new album. We're playing Blackout The Sun. We're playing Give Up The Ghost. We're playing Year Of The Gun from the new album. We're trying to fit them all in there. We're very aware obviously that we, we understand that people are coming, they wanna hear Holy Diver. They wanna hear Don't Talk To Strangers. You know they wanna hear Stand Up And Shout and all those great songs. So we always try and balance the set out to the best of our ability."
Last In Line/Passion For Music
"I feel doubly blessed because not only do I play in one of the greatest rock bands ever Def Leppard. You know when I'm not doing that I'm playing this music with these incredibly talented musicians in Last In Line. And life is good Patrick you know what I mean?. I can't complain."
Joining Def Leppard In 1992
"Well I'd always been a Leppard fan. Even going back to my very first band called Sweet Savage I formed back in the late 1970s back in Belfast. And you know we never really reached any great level of success, you know, we got big in Ireland did a couple of tours around the UK opening for bands. But we never really broke big, but one of the bands that was coming up at the same time as us and that we were hearing about and reading about on the radio was Def Leppard."
"And so I'd always followed Leppard's career very closely and I'd always had good admiration for the band's musical ambition. So long story short I got to know Joe when I was with Whitesnake was the first time I actually met Joe. and I met the other guys in the band briefly but it was really Joe was the only one I kind of gelled with and sort of half knew. And it was Joe who called me about a year or so after Steve had passed away. And he said, you know, the band had finished the Adrenalize album and they had decided that they wanted to continue as a five piece band."
"And they had a shortlist I believe of three people they wanted to get together and play with and see how it worked out. And I was one of the three. So the band came to Los Angeles and we got together a couple of times over a period of about a couple of weeks to play in a rehearsal room and...but we did more than that. I mean we went out to dinner. We even went to, I remember we went to the IMAX movie theater to see The Rolling Stones movie you know. It was like a courtship. We were kinda getting to feel each other out."
"They knew I could play guitar. I played three albums and toured with DIO. I'd been in Whitesnake for about a year and a half you know. They knew what I could do. I'd been with a band called the Riverdogs. I'd done the Shadow King project with Lou Gramm. I mean there was no doubt that they knew I could play guitar. What they didn't know was my personality. They also didn't know that I can sing. Which was a great bonus to Def Leppard 'cause they. Def Leppard are such a vocal heavy band even though we're ostensibly a hard rock band. I mean nobody in the field of hard rock or heavy metal or whatever you want to call it has vocals anywhere close to the strength that Leppard has."
"So the fact that I could sing was a real bonus for them and something that they weren't at all aware of. You know and then for me they wanted to get to know what kind of a person I was because with Leppard it is really is a very close knit and very unique band. And we're not the sort of band where you (inaudible part)....and if Steve was still alive I can guarantee you he'd still be with Def Leppard."
"So and with me to be honest I was approaching it. I was a little bit wary also I mean I knew Joe but he was the only guy I knew. And I always liked Joe and I always liked his personality and I knew that he was a very down to earth guy. But I didn't really know the other guys. And I'd had bad experiences as well with bands. I'd been with DIO and as you briefly touched upon I was fired. And it was a very very bad situation the way that it all went down. It left a really bad taste in my mouth. And, you know, I'd been with Whitesnake and that didn't work out very well either."
"So I kinda was a bit wary about joining another band. At the time Joe called me I was actually plugging demos and working with songwriters and I had a record deal of my own with Sony Music and I was gonna make my own record and like I mentioned I can sing. So I was actually gonna step up to the mic as uncomfortable as I found that 'cause I never really wanted to be a lead singer. But I was gonna do my own record and see how it went."
"But it's not everyday you get a call and the opportunity to join one of the world's biggest bands. So obviously I had to give it serious consideration. I'm happy to say that over the course of those two weeks we got to feel each other out and it's been over 27 years. And, you know, here we are it's obviously working out."
Playing Guitar Live With Def Leppard
"Yeah when we do the classic stuff which to be honest constitutes at least three quarters of any Def Leppard show. Yeah I will always play Steve's stuff and I always try and play Steve's solos as faithfully as possible. I mean they're not 100 percent because no two guitar players can ever play alike. No matter how good you are. I always, when I first joined the band I didn't always do that but I very quickly realised that Steve's solos were so melodic and so well structured and so much a part of the Def Leppard songs that like I say I very quickly realised that I have to pay homage to that and do it as faithfully as possible. Nut I do have a certain style of my own that will always come across even when I'm playing Steve's solos and yeah that's how it works. If Steve played the solo on the record I'll do that solo. If Phil played it on record obviously Phil's gonna play that solo. ."
Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction
"One aspect of it now is that we've become voting members and you mentioned about that. Def Leppard without question deserve to be in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. But now that I'm in and a voting member I'll be doing everything I can to make sure that the DIO band get nominated and gets into the Hall of Fame."
His Current Health Situation
"Well I would say it's made me a better musician because, when it first happened obviously I mean it's very shocking when you get a cancer diagnosis at first. You know and I thought about the future. I though OK well assuming I survive this would I still be able to continue to go on stage and play. And it's interesting when you first think about. One of the first things I thought about was my hair's gonna fall out from chemotherapy I'm gonna need a wig. I can't go on stage without...It's funny how we let these things define us."
"So I went and I paid a lot of money to a very very good theatrical wig maker here in Los Angeles. And so a few months later my hair was falling out and I went to see the wig guy and made the wig and I put it on and it was so good there was no way you could tell it wasn't my hair. But I started driving back home and I was in the car for about ten minutes and my wife was with me and I pulled the car over and she said what are you doing?. And I took the wig off and I never put it back on. And at that moment I just had an revelation that it was just, it felt so unnatural."
"Different people might have different responses. Certainly women I can understand going out with no hair that's a very challenging thing. But I found it very liberating and very cathartic and so I went home that day and you know I kind of posted something on Facebook. And I went out on tour that summer with Leppard and I had no hair. I had no eyebrows. All I had on stage was my talents and my skills as a musician and you know my vocals and my guitar chops. That was it, you know, because there was nothing attractive about it. You know the hair thing. The thing that I found that I've c0ome to learn over recent years is the only thing that I miss about having long hair on stage is that I realise it was hiding my eyes. So I panicked, you know, but in a way having no hair and letting go of all of that and all of the ego and all of the vanity and anything that's associated with it, the appearance. Is that it really was liberating. It really opened up my soul as a musician and it's made me a better guitar player as a result."
"I have never played guitar so well as I'm playing right now. And that has been the ultimate reward for me as a player. And that's why I continue to work so much because I am enjoying it so much I realise what a gift it is and what a joy it is. And in my 20s and in my 30s even I stressed over all this minutia and all this bullshit that really doesn't matter so much. And it inhibited the way that I played and now like the floodgates are open and I'm just so so enjoying my work even more than ever and like I said earlier it is such a gift for me to not just play in one of the world's greatest bands but in one of the world's greatest bands that you've never heard of Last In Line you know."
"And like I said life is good. I work all the time and I consider it a blessing you know. And hair or no hair. You know now I've got a proper grown up haircut. And yeah there are times on stage when I wish I had more hair so I could hide behind it you know. But that's not what it's about. It's about the music you know."
Rock Star Stu Instagram Account
"Yeah he's a little rags to riches success story. Stu for anyone who doesn't know. Stuart is my small dog that my wife and I rescued many years ago from the dog pound in LA. They were gonna put him down. So we went and we weren't even gonna keep him at first. We just sponsored him to get off of death row. And he turned out to be such a great dog and we've kept him and he travels the world with us. He's travel size, he's only about 18 pounds so the perfect size for travelling and he's been around the world with us. He's been on private jets and hotels. He's had his picture taken with all these rock stars. Brian May is one of his closest buddies you know. He is a rags to riches story."
"Here's the thing he only tours with Def Leppard. You know in Last In Line we travel in a splinter van. In Def Leppard it's a bit more luxurious and Stuart he doesn't do vans."
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