DEF LEPPARD Guitarist On Country Music, Band's Longevity

Rege Behe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently conducted an interview with DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

On the band's collaboration with country superstar Tim McGraw on the single "Nine Lives":

"There was never any intention of DEF LEPPARD going country. Nor are we influenced by it any way. . . It's basically a DEF LEPPARD song with a little bit of Tim McGraw. We tried to cash in on it, I'll be straightforward about it. We tried to exploit it as much as possible. We actually serviced that song to country radio, and they sent it right back to us. There was no way they were going to play it because it wasn't country."

On modern country music:

"They've brought a lot of the production sensibilities of '80s rock music to Nashville productions. Modern country music has a lot of what DEF LEPPARD was doing with (producer) Mutt Lange from a production point of view 20 years ago — in terms of really big drums, really building up the sonic landscape of the track."

On the band's ability to endure, especially when DEF LEPPARD's popularity waned in the '90s:

"We kept making new music, we kept touring, and we survived. We're kind of true to what we do. And also, being the new guy in the band for 18 years, other than me — and Steve Clark would be here if he were alive — it's the same lineup, it's the same band. I think that means something nowadays. There are so many other bands out there touring with one original member. Some people care about that, some people don't. But we've always tried to remain DEF LEPPARD and the music has always driven us."
On how a new swathe of fans latched on to "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "Animal" by way of illegal downloads:

"The bad news for the music industry is, that generation is not paying for music. The good news is, for more established acts like us, the younger generation is being exposed to our music, they're trading files with each other, and as a result they're coming to our shows. It's been this way for the last five, six, seven years. Our core audience is still in their mid-40s, our age. But a large percentage is young people coming to the shows. That's the upside of music piracy."

Read more from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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