The “Animal House Radio Show” recently conducted an interview with DEF LEPPARD and LAST IN LINE guitarist Vivian Campbell. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether he thinks DEF LEPPARD should have been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame sooner:
Vivian: “I don’t really think about it much one way or the other, to be honest. It’s not one of those things that would keep me awake at night. You know, we are, of course, very flattered that we’ve gotten in. We’re even more flattered that it was on the first go and we’re even more flattered, especially that we got the largest popular vote and that’s always been where our emphasis has been — our fanbase. [DEF LEPPARD] fans are very passionate about the band and have been for many, many decades. That means more to us than any accolade in the industry. I always equate these sorts of things — I always think back to the Grammys in the 1980s, before I was a member of DEF LEPPARD, I was a fan from the early days of the band and had all the albums. I remember just being amazed that ‘Hysteria’, such a landmark record, coming on the back of another landmark record ‘Pyromania’, so it was back-to-back landmark albums. Not only did DEF LEPPARD never win a Grammy, DEF LEPPARD wasn’t even nominated for a Grammy. Back then, that sort of set my expectations about those sort of things, that, ‘Okay, here’s a band that creatively has just pushed the boundaries and commercially have sold back-to-back multi-million-selling records and are a worldwide phenomenon and are not getting industry recognition.’ Okay, then obviously that’s not what it’s about. What it’s about is getting fan recognition more than anything else. We’re certainly very grateful for the honor. It does bring a certain credibility. It feels like a very grown-up sort of a thing, that we would be immortalized in this way, I suppose.”
On how the dynamics in DEF LEPPARD compare to his previous bands, DIO and WHITESNAKE:
Vivian: “There’s no other band on the planet like DEF LEPPARD. I can honestly tell you that. Everything about DEF LEPPARD is thoroughly, thoroughly unique to DEF LEPPARD. The creative process, the thought process, the work ethic, the attention to details, it’s a very, very unique situation. There’s not another band like DEF LEPPARD and there probably never will be.”
On whether DEF LEPPARD feels as though they have to top themselves from tour-to-tour:
Vivian: “We always want to make the show better than it has been. In terms of what songs we perform, yeah, we want to make it a different show, but we are in many ways beholden to the band’s own success in terms of the songs. There are certain songs that we feel we always have to play at a DEF LEPPARD show. It’s not a bad problem to have. I know there are a lot of hardcore fans who would love to hear some of the more obscure songs and certainly it would be interesting for us to play those songs. Yeah, every time we go out, we change not only the show in terms of the production aspects, but we do try and change up setlists. But that said, there is the larger percentage of the show, like 75 or 80 percent, are going to be the same songs. You can present them in a different way and do medleys of them, but we’re always beholden to play ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’, we’re always going to have to play ‘Photograph’, ‘Rock Of Ages’, ‘Animal’, ‘Hysteria’, the really big hits that people come to expect. The majority of people coming to a DEF LEPPARD show expect and want to hear those songs. Our audience is growing, however, not only in terms of numbers, but more importantly in terms of generations. We’ve seen this for years and in 2018, more than any year, I would say 30, 40 percent of the audience is young enough to be our kids. They’re there because they want to be there, not because their parents forced them. There’s a new, fresh blood coming in. Not just to our audience, I think it’s to rock in general. It’s encouraging to see that there’s a bit of resurgence of interest in guitar-driven rock music with this younger generation. That bodes for the genre. But we feed off of that energy. When you get this more youthful injection into your audience, that energy, we can feel that onstage and LEPPARD, we need the energy of the audience back. When we play ‘Sugar’, we’re playing it for the millionth time, but the audience is really excited about it. We take that excitement and we mirror it. It’s a cyclical sort of situation where one feeds off the other and it grows and grows and grows. That’s of vital importance to us, the energy of the audience. I’m happy to say it’s heading in the right direction.”
On LAST IN LINE‘s forthcoming sophomore studio album, “II”:
Vivian: “Everything has really coalesced and gelled and we’ve really found our feet and our sound with this record. It sounds like there’s growth, like there’s ambition and development in the music. It’s a second album, it’s a solid second album. Nothing says that better than the number two. [Laughs]”
On the writing process for “II”:
Vivian: “It was exactly the same process that we’ve followed on the ‘Heavy Crown’ record with Jimmy [Bain, bass] when he was still alive. Phil Soussan has been with the band for a few years now. We’ve had the pleasure of doing multiple shows with Phil and he’s been able to find his feet with the band and become very much a part of it. But harkening back to the [DIO] ‘Holy Diver’ album in the end of 1982, when we were writing and recording that. We’ve always followed that same recipe, that principle, we go into a rehearsal room. Back then, we’d go into a room, Vinny [Appice, drums], Jimmy and myself and Ronnie [James Dio, vocals], we’d just kick around ideas, if somebody had a riff or an idea, we’d start growing something and the songs would develop very organically. That’s how you get the chemistry of the band, when you get to bounce ideas off everyone in the room. You have your hands on your instrument. It’s a very old-school sort of approach. It doesn’t work for every band. It’s not the sort of format that DEF LEPPARD, for example, would follow. But DEF LEPPARD, as I said before, is a thoroughly unique band and has a different roadmap to these things. What works for LEPPARD wouldn’t work for LAST IN LINE, and vice versa. That’s the ethos we’ve always tried to follow. Like I said, we did it on the ‘Heavy Crown’ album with Jimmy, and now we did the same thing with Phil. When Phil first joined the band and we were out doing some shows, he said to me, ‘I’ve got some songs that would be great for the next record.’ I said, ‘Keep ’em for your solo record. That’s not how we write.’ To his credit, Phil was quick to understand what we were talking about. I said, ‘Bring in a riff, bring in some ideas and inspiration.’ We built it from the ground up.”
DEF LEPPARD will be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame this spring. The honor comes after the British rockers got the most votes in the Rock Hall‘s online fan poll.
One of the top-selling rock acts of all time, DEF LEPPARD has been eligible for the Rock Hall since 2004.
The 34th annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony will be held March 29 at Brooklyn, New York’s Barclays Center. HBO will broadcast a truncated version of the ceremony later in the year.
“II” will be released on February 22 via Frontiers Music Srl. As with 2016’s “Heavy Crown”, the new disc was produced by DOKKEN and FOREIGNER bassist Jeff Pilson.