DEF LEPPARD and LAST IN LINE guitarist Vivian Campbell recently spoke with Jake Taylor of the Edmonton, Alberta classic rock radio station K-97. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On DEF LEPPARD's upcoming induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame:
Vivian: "Who would have thought? That puts a cherry on top of what was a great 2018 for DEF LEPPARD. We had a really, really busy year — a bunch of sold-out shows; a bunch of kids coming to see us old men; and now we get that as a Christmas present. It was great. We're very flattered."
On the success of the band's 2018 tour:
Vivian: "We did a million tickets in North America with our co-headliners JOURNEY. We even played a bunch of the iconic baseball stadiums like [Chicago's] Wrigley Field and [Boston's] Fenway [Park] and sold them out. It was great. We've noticed for years, but especially last year, a large, large percentage of the audience now are young enough to be our children, so we're not just playing to our own generation anymore, and with that youthful influx comes more energy from the audience. We really feed off of that, so in turn, we give more, and our show goes up, our energy level. It's a good thing."
On the group's upcoming Canadian tour:
Vivian: "We've always enjoyed playing in Canada. Historically, it's been a great country for us to play in, and in fact, going back to the '80s, when people actually bought a lot of records, Canada has always been DEF LEPPARD's strongest market per capita when it comes to record sales. We always make a point to get there whenever possible. We frequently play Toronto and Vancouver, and Montreal on occasion, but it's nice to actually get to do a more comprehensive tour and get to places like Edmonton and Calgary and Winnipeg – just get out there and spread a little love."
On tour openers TESLA:
Vivian: "There's a lot of history with DEF LEPPARD and TESLA... They're lovely guys, and they're really easy to work with, and very talented people. We like to go on tour with people that we can relate to. TESLA are one of those bands that we count amongst our friends."
On his belief that DEF LEPPARD is getting better with age:
Vivian: "We always try to make it bigger and better every time we do it. DEF LEPPARD's always trying to reinvent the wheel. We always put back into our show and think, 'How can we make it more spectacular than it was last time?' The music itself is very high-energy, so the show has to reflect that. We throw all the bells and whistles in — everything but the kitchen sink. We have a big staging, the biggest, most high-definition video wall you can imagine... and mostly just our performance. We actually get better as a band. Phil [Collen, guitar] and I, we talk about this constantly. We come off stage and we compare notes. Maybe we're crazy, and maybe it's just us that notice it, because it's a subtle change, but from year to year, from tour to tour, we get stronger at what we do. That's one of the great things about being a musician as opposed to, say, an athlete. [If] you're an athlete, you have this finite window of time when you're on top of your gig. As a musician, you get to get better. We get better as singers, as players. I feel much, much more confident and more comfortable as a guitar player than I've ever felt. I think I'm absolutely playing better than I've ever done in my life, and I think the band is playing better than we've ever done. We're just buoyed by this resurgence that's been around the band in recent years — the million tickets sold in 2018 and getting the Hall Of Fame nomination. It's just been spectacular."
On the band's professionalism:
Vivian: "I've had the pleasure to play with a lot of different artists and a lot of different bands over my career, and the one thing that immediately struck me 27 years ago when I joined DEF LEPPARD was the level of effort that goes into every single aspect of what this band does. The work ethic is off the charts. It doesn't matter if it's songwriting or recording or rehearsing for the show or delivering the goods live — every aspect is just so, so meticulously attended to. It's as good as it can be. We don't settle for average. We take a lot of pride in our work."
On LAST IN LINE:
Vivian: "When I'm not working with DEF LEPPARD, I'm working with LAST IN LINE. It eats up all of my time, but it makes me so happy. It's like a different muscle that I get to exercise from DEF LEPPARD. [It's] two very, very different musical experiences on two very different levels, obviously. It's hard, hard work, but it's cathartic to me. It validates me as a musician and makes me feel alive. It's a wonderful thing."
DEF LEPPARD's 11-date Canadian tour with TESLA will kick off July 12 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
LAST IN LINE's sophomore album, "II", will be released February 22 via Frontiers Music Srl.