Eric Schelkopf of Northwest Herald recently conducted an interview with DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Northwest Herald: This looks to be a long tour, going until the end of September. Are you looking forward to it?
Vivian: Yeah, but that's actually a short tour for us. This is probably the shortest we've ever done. It's 50 shows total. But there's nothing wrong with that, you know.
Northwest Herald: What should people expect from the shows?
Vivian: This is the first time in our career that we've ever toured without a record to promote. So it will definitely be a catalog show. We're dipping in and pulling out a couple of more obscure songs that we've never played before for our more hardcore fans. It's a balancing act. You can't please all of the people all of the time. But we realize that there's a certain percentage of hardcore LEPPARD fans who saw us on the last tour, and who will come out to see us this summer, and we have to do something different for them, as well as for ourselves.
Northwest Herald: Last year, you released "Yeah!", which was a tribute album to the band's musical heroes. Are you working on anything new?
Vivian: We just finished a new album. That will be mixed while we are on the tour. We're also waiting for one, maybe two songs from Mutt Lange, our longtime producer and collaborator. We're holding off on the release of the record until we get that done.
Northwest Herald: What should people expect from the new album?
Vivian: It's really influenced by the covers album, in terms of that project taking us right back to our musical roots. We've avoided the ballads and long drawn-out album cuts. It's very melodic and sort of high-energy for us.
Northwest Herald: Was it hard filling the shoes of Steve Clark?
Vivian: Yes and no. On a musical level, no, not at all. On a personal level, yeah. Those guys had never worked with anyone other than Steve. Steve was one of the founding members of the band. I'm sure it was extremely difficult for the rest of the guys in the band. By the time I joined DEF LEPPARD, I had already been a member of DIO and WHITESNAKE and couple of other projects in between. For me, it wasn't unfamiliar territory joining a new band.
Northwest Herald: DEF LEPPARD has had to endure its share of tragedy, with the death of Steve and drummer Rick Allen severing his left arm in a car accident. Has that really toughened the band?
Vivian: I suppose so. There's a lot of unity in the band. I think what's kept this band together is that there is a collective ego in DEF LEPPARD, as opposed to a bunch of individual egos. We're all realizing that the music is bigger than all of us, and that's what it is about.