DEF LEPPARD's VIVIAN CAMPBELL Says Being A Good Parent Is His Greatest Achievement
Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell was interviewed at the Sweden Rock Festival in June and the full audio is now available.
Vivian spoke to the Rock Bottom with Erika podcast to promote the Last In Line II album.
The interview was conducted backstage on 6th June at the Sweden Rock Festival.
Vivian talked about playing with other bands, DIO/Whitesnake, Sweet Savage, early musical influences, His Guitar Playing Style, Joining Def Leppard In 1992/Staying Together As A Band, Sin City Residency, Defining Moments As Musician/Person, his dog Stuart, Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Defining Moments As Musician, Surviving Cancer/Being Thankful and his musical guilty pleasure/listening to music.
Vivian talked in length about the ambition of the band and how his biggest achievement is not musical but being a good parent to his daughters.
Listen to the full (and very interesting) 20 minute interview below.
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Rock Bottom with Erika - Vivian Campbell Interview Quotes - (Transcribed by dltourhistory)
Def Leppard Vocals
"Which is why I think I fit so comfortably with Def Leppard. You know because the emphasis with Def Leppard is about the melody and the song and our vocals in particular. You know I think it's fair to say that the real challenge for all of us in Def Leppard is to be able to play our instruments and to sing the way that we do, you know, in every single song."
"So to me I always music the simple equation music is like food. I love Indian food but I wouldn't want to eat it every day you know. So it's nice to have variety and it's wonderful. I'm very very fortunate that I got to play with so many great musicians and bands in my career. And I got to experience all these different influences and work with so many talented people."
Joining Def Leppard In 1992/Staying Together As A Band
"Well there's always been great ambition in Def Leppard. I will say first and foremost that having played with so many bands and having been fortunate in being of so many great bands prior to being in Def Leppard."
"Well there'e certainly an element of luck involved, but I gotta say that there is no other band on the planet like Def Leppard. You know what we do in Leppard is absolutely unique. Everything about this band I noticed from the first time I ever played with the band and got to meet the guys, 'Cause Joe was the only guy I knew. I knew Joe, not so much musically, but socially we knew each other back in Ireland. Joe's lived inDublin for many years. I'm from Belfast. So we would go to dinner together and go for drinks together and play soccer on the weekends and stuff."
"So about a year after Steve had passed away Joe called and asked if I'd like to meet the guys and maybe audition for the band. So the very first time I met the other guys and played with them in a rehearsal room in Los Angeles I knew that it was a very different experience. And everything about the band. Every facet of what it is we do is very very different from any other band on the planet. There's an incredible work ethic within Def Leppard. An incredible ambition and desire to be one of the biggest bands ever."
How does that manifest?
"We all have our different roles that we play within the band. I mean certainly some of them overlap. But there's just this ambition. I remember back then 27 years ago after I'd played a few times with the band and I finally realised that I was gonna be a part of Def Leppard. Joe sat me down and he told me about his ambition for Def Leppard. And when you think about, you know, how the band started. Leppard, you know, they collected some money. Did their own single. Sent it to John Peel. Got played on Radio One. Got Geoff Barton to write a review for Sounds and Kerrang1 and so on."
"So they really had that ambition. And Joe in particular. Joe said to me. He said I really want Def Leppard in decades to come. He said I want Def Leppard to be one of the great British rock institutions like Queen, Like The Who. The Rolling Stones. He said I want Def Leppard to be up there with that. And to his credit I gotta say that everything that this band does it's very deliberate, you know, is it the right career move for us. Is this the right record for us to put out at this time?. Is this the right festival for us to be playing at this moment."
"And it's worked. In the last couple of years our numbers have grown and grown. I mean around the world. Especially in North America which is our biggest market, you know, we're playing to 40 percent of our audience are young enough to be our children. So we've crossed that generational thing. We're no longer just a rock band. Like a Hard Rock band."
"You know even the musical ambition of Def Leppard is way beyond the scope of of any other hard rock band. on the planet because we really do meld those different influences of pop music and melody to hard rock. The hard rock sensibility, you know, it really is as Sav as always said it's like AC/DC meets Queen. And we all individually have different musical, I wouldn't say ambitions, but different musical tastes. You know like Phil is really into modern music and lot of Urban and Rap music as well as rock obviously. And I, as I mentioned, I'm really into pop and organic music and melody and vocalists and stuff like that as well as guitar players and rock in general you know."
"So we all have these different thing that we bring and Joe is probably the biggest music fan I've ever met in my entire life. I mean he's just an encyclopedia of of music and he's such a passionate fan about music. He knows everything about it. So it's just a unique collection of people and we all bring these different flavours and elements. And we all share this one common goal of making Def Leppard a legendary band. You know even years after we're gone we want people to, obviously it's about the music, it's not about the people. And that's the other think that I really noticed when I first joined this band is that we have in Def Leppard we have a collective ego. Not five individual egos."
But how do you do that?
"Because we all realise that the music is more important than any of us individually. And that our strength is together and with the music we make together. And, you know, if Joe were to leave and go solo tomorrow as the Joe Elliott Band. They would do well, but it wouldn't be like Def Leppard. You know and it would be the same for any of us."
"You know so we all realise that the most important thing is to build this huge catalogue and this body of work and to make it as good as it can be. Like I said the work ethic is unbelievable. You know when we go into the studio to write a song good is never good enough for Def Leppard. We're always trying to reinvent the wheel. ."
Sin City Residency
"Well we've done one before. We did it for the first and only time in 2013 we did the Hysteria album in sequence and we built up a show around that. And it was very very successful. Ot was a lot of fun and so we've been invited back to a different venue in Vegas and obviously it's gonna have to be a different show. And I wish could tell you what the show is gonna be but I honestly don't know. We have yet to determine what it's gonna be but we know that we need to start rehearsing some more obscure songs. I think it's August 14th is the first show I believe."
Defining Moments/Person/Rock Star Stu/Parenting
"You say defining moments, being a parent. That I would say is my biggest achievement. Better than the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. better than million selling albums."
Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
"Yes in March Def Leppard got into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. It did take some time but it's all good. But yeah my children, being a good parent is my greatest achievement. I'd like to think that I'm a good parent. I'm not always there because I'm travelling, but, you know, I do what I can and I think that that's what the world needs more of is good parenting. You know because to raise good people so that a lot of the bad shit doesn't happen."
"Really for me especially it makes me realise how important it is to me. So when I am home I devote all my time to my family. That's the important thing."
Defining Moments As Musician
"There's been a lot. I don't tend to dwell on them. I really kind of, I like to look forward in life. You know as I said earlier I'm still trying to, every time I go onstage with a guitar I'm trying to be a better guitar player. Even if I'm not playing anything that's challenging me a lot but I can still play it better."
"So I'm a Virgo and so for me I'm always seeking perfection I suppose. And that's been difficult for me because the intellectual side of me realises that you can never be perfect. It's an art form and a live performance. It's never going to be 100 percent. So I should never try to strive for it. So it's always trying to find that balance to just go out there and try and find a peaceful spot in my soul to where I can still be trying to push myself but still let the music come through me."
"And I've been very fortunate in my life that all I ever wanted to do since I was about nine years of age. I saw Marc Bolan and T. Rex on television one Thursday night on Top Of The Pops. And that was an epiphany for me. I wanted to do that, that was my life."
Do you remember the song?
"I don't actually. I don't remember if it was Ride A White Swan or Bang A Gong I can't remember. I was just so taken in by the whole thing. I've been really fortunate that's all I've done with my life and like I said I've played with so many great bands."
"So life has been good that way, but I don't, I need to stop and think about career highlights you know. Certain nights of whatever, but I've been fortunate to have a lot."
Surviving Cancer/Being Thankful
"I'm a cancer survivor so everyday I'm thankful. Like I wake up and it's like Hey I'm still breathing you know!. But I'd like to think that even before the whole cancer thing, you know, I always had that sort of an attitude. My glass was always half full you know. But when you go through a cancer thing I really think it makes you."
Yeah me too so I know what you're talking about
"Yeah so we know life is short and you just gotta live it."
His Cringe Song
"Do I listen to it or do I not want to listen to it?. So is it one of my favourites or one of my least favourites?. What are we looking for here?."
Well your favourite but something that would surprise yours fans/A guilty pleasure
"Well like I said Crowded House. I love pop music you know. I love Neil Finn's melodies. I think he's the modern day McCartney and Lennon all in one. And so I think a lot of people expect because I'm a guitar player in all these multiple hard rock bands over my career. I think, you know, a lot of people expect that that's what I listen to. I get up in the morning and I listen to hard rock. That's not true."
"To be honest I don't listen to music very much at all. I don't like to cheapen the experience. And I think that this is one of the things that has happened to music in recent years because of the age of the Internet and satellite and cable television and cell phones. There's so much distraction that people, music doesn't mean what it used to mean. When I was growing up it was like a religion. When you had to go and find an album and go through the racks on a Saturday afternoon."
"Hold the sleeve yeah. And many times I would buy a record based upon the sleeve. If the sleeve was really cool I'd say Oh I've gotta check this out now to listen to it. And If I liked it I'd buy it. So I think it's different now. I think a lot of people treat music as wallpaper. Just like it's background and I never wanna do that. I don't listen to the radio in the car. When I listen to music I like to put on headphones and I like to listen to an album from start to finish. Like in bed when it's dark and I just wanna immerse myself, I wanna wrap myself in the music. I wanna feel it. I don't like it to just be on while I'm doing something else."
"And I know a lot of musicians can do that. Like Joe is constantly listening to music. Even if he's doing something. He's always got music on and many different varieties, but for me I want to immerse myself in it when I listen to it you know."
"Other than that I don't think I'm really doing it a disservice."
"So no cringe song, but I also, I like so many different kinds of music. In the morning I would like to listen to baroque classical music. In the evening I'd like to listen to Ella Fitzgerald. You know it's..Ray Charles. But I still want rock. I still want guitar. Jeff Beck I think is the greatest living rock guitar player. So I listen to some Jeff Beck which at times I can find equally inspiring and deflating because he's so good. You know so I'm not sure why I listen to that."
"But music, like I say it's like food. There's all these different varieties and it's nice to have a varied diet."
Buy 'Last In Line II' Online
- Vinyl Collection: Volume Two -
- CD Collection: Volume Two -
Buy 'The Story So Far...The Best Of Def Leppard' Online
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