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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.
Vivian Campbell Iron City Rocks Audio Interview

Wednesday, 26th June 2013

Vivian Campbell Sheffield 2008.
Pic by DefDazz/Darren

Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell was interviewed on 8th June by Iron City Rocks to promote Last In Line.

Vivian also spoke about Whitesnake and Def Leppard. The interview was conducted two days before he announced he was suffering from Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

During the 24 minute segment which starts after a DIO song at 5:40min (of a 50 minute podcast) he talks about how the Last In Line band came together, the UK tour, future plans, his thoughts on the Black Star Riders album, being in Def Leppard for 21 years (14mins in), recording, backing vocals and how he joined the 1987 line up of Whitesnake.

Iron City Rocks - Vivian Campbell 8th June Interview Transcript

21 Years In Def Leppard/20 Years since Don Valley

"When you sit and think about it obviously it's been 20 years but we've done a lot of shows since you know. It was a big day yeah - it was a big day for all of us. All of our families were there, our parents and whatnot you know. Even though I'm not from Sheffield, it's not my home town. But it was very, very special for the band undoubtedly to go back home and play a stadium show. It was just a beautiful day the weather even cooperated which is very unusual for the UK. So it was a great day all round."

Def Leppard Writing Process

"We are scattered geographically as to where we live you know. Three of us live in Southern California and two live in Europe. So it is difficult in the past we've done it all sorts of ways. We've gone to Dublin. Joe has a full studio at his house in Dublin and he has a lot of spare bedrooms so it's economically more convenient for us in the past to go to Dublin and just set up camp for months and months and try and work out songs there. And we haven't done that in recent years though with the advent of - the development of the internet and pro tools technology we all have little home studios and we do share files. You know we'll come up with ideas and send them to each other. So usually what we do is individually we'll actually write complete songs ad send them on to the others guys and when we get together we usually start tearing the songs apart!. It can be a frustrating experience writing with Def Leppard because there's always this inclination to want to reinvent the wheel. You know somebody could weigh in with a very reasonable completed song and it can get torn apart and 20 percent of it can end up being in the final product. It's really all ways it's whatever suits the needs of the day."

"We were in Vegas recently for our residency in March/April. We did almost four weeks of shows at the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas and we had a chance to sit down and work on a couple of new ideas there. When we were all together for the first time. It's been a while since we've done that. We're long, long overdue for new material with Def Leppard. We're all painfully aware of that you know. It's kind of embarrassing we need to come up with something new."

"It's not even monetarily motivated it's - yeah it's difficult to make money selling record these days but it's just because of the way things are. It's hard to get your new music to people's ears. So when you do go out and you do a show and you're playing Rock Of Ages and Photograph and PSSOM and then between all of that you're playing a new song that 30 people in the audience have heard. there's obviously gonna be a real lull in the energy because no one is aware of the song. Whereas in years gone by at least you had the support of terrestrial radio or MTV or whatever so you had a chance in advance to get that music to people's ears. That structure doesn't really exist any more so it's hard to achieve that kind of momentum with new music."

Background Vocals For Def Leppard

"The thing is and not many people would know this about me but I actually even back in DIO days I wanted to sing but Ronnie wouldn't let me. And I'm not saying that I couldn't sing back then. I was very, very unschooled. I'm not a natural singer. Some people are born and they can just sing the phone book and I think Lou Gramm is one of them. Ronnie Dio was one of them and other people they learn how to do it. It's a craft. But back in the day, not that we had many backing vocals but in DIO I wanted to kind of go up there to the mike and sing and bit and Ronnie said no. He specifically said to me Richie Blackmore never sang, Tony Iommi never sang so you're not gonna sing. Guitar heroes don't sing end of story and that was it so I put my head down and went 'OK'."

"But then actually by the time I was in Whitesnake I actually started taking vocal lessons and I really, really wanted to learn how to sing and I've got admit that David Coverdale was very supportive with me about this and he actually hooked me up with his vocal coach at the time and through the years I've worked probably with about a half dozen different vocal coaches. The most prominent being a guy called Roger Love. And it worked for me I've actually gotten to be pretty reasonable as a singer and by the time I got together with Def Leppard I was pretty far along in this ambition and I think I was very surprising to the guys in Leppard. And it's been something that I've developed even further since and it's something that we in Leppard we work on very diligently and we're very proud of our ability to do that because a lot of people actually think that we're miming. That the vocals are on a hard drive which is absolutely untrue. It's 100 percent live and it's kind of a backhanded compliment when somebody comes up to you and asks you that you know. So obviously there's a kagillion vocals tracks on a record like Hysteria and we've gotta try and replicate that live with five guys so we do a pretty reasonable job I've gotta say. But it's the result of a lot of hard work."

The last question is about Whitesnake and Vivian tells an interesting story of how he joined them. Segment ends at 24mins in.