DEF LEPPARD's VIVIAN CAMPBELL: 'I Don't Think I've Ever Played Better In My Career Than I Have In Recent Years'

July 10, 2023

In a recent interview with Jordi Pinyol, Vivian Campbell was asked about the differences in his guitar-playing approach in the two bands that he is currently a member of, DEF LEPPARD and LAST IN LINE. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It's very, very different, especially in DEF LEPPARD. Most two-guitar bands in hard rock, they both essentially play the same thing; they just reinforce the sound and one does the solo or they do harmonies or whatever. In DEF LEPPARD, we very, very, very seldom are doing that. We tend to orchestrate the guitar parts, try and make it more musical. 'Cause on the record there's usually a lot of guitar parts, and when we play it live, we have to listen to it and break it down into two guitar parts — one for Phil [Collen] and one for me. But we try and orchestrate more than most hard rock bands do. And obviously it's easier when you have two guitar players; you're not doing all the heavy lifting.

"I do enjoy the freedom to experiment a bit more in LAST IN LINE, 'cause I am the only guitar player; I am the only melodic instrument in that band," he continued. "So it does really require me to focus more, to be a hundred percent. That's another benefit for me for doing the LAST IN LINE project. It's really elevated my playing. Because I'm playing so much with LAST IN LINE, when I go back with DEF LEPPARD, I am absolutely one hundred percent confident in my guitar-playing abilities. I don't think I've ever played better in my career than I have in recent years, and it's been because of being in two bands. There's a different discipline as a guitarist when I play with LAST IN LINE than when I play with DEF LEPPARD. In LEPPARD, we play for the song. In LAST IN LINE, it's much more loose; it's much, much more freeform. We can go off on tangents. In DEF LEPPARD, it's a very scripted show; it's very high production. We have to stay within the parameters of what the show is. And also the vocals in DEF LEPPARD — that's really the challenging part, is to play guitar to the level that Phil and I play in DEF LEPPARD but to also sing to the level that we do on top of that. That's really what is the difficult aspect about being in DEF LEPPARD. Conversely, in LAST IN LINE I refuse to sing. Even though Andrew [Freeman, LAST IN LINE singer] always wants me to sing background vocals to help him, I just refuse to; I just wanna put my head down and murder my Les Paul. So they're two very, very different disciplines for me as a guitarist, but I think that both bands really benefit from my being in the other band. It's really given me so much more confidence in my ability as a player in recent years."

DEF LEPPARD and MÖTLEY CRÜE's co-headline tour hit Latin America and made its way around Europe before it comes to the U.S. in August. Produced by Live Nation, the U.S. leg of the world tour kicks off on August 5 in Syracuse, New York.

DEF LEPPARD is continuing to tour in support of its latest album, "Diamond Star Halos", which sold 34,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in its first week of release in May 2022 to land at position No. 10 on the Billboard 200 chart. It marked the band's eighth top 10 LP.

LAST IN LINE — the band featuring Campbell and Freeman alongside bassist Phil Soussan (ex-OZZY OSBOURNE),and original DIO drummer Vinny Appice (ex-BLACK SABBATH) — released its third studio album, "Jericho", on March 31 via earMUSIC.

Formed in 2012 by Appice, Campbell and bassist Jimmy BainRonnie James Dio's co-conspirators and co-writers on the "Holy Diver", "Last In Line" and "Sacred Heart" albums — LAST IN LINE's initial intent was to celebrate Ronnie James Dio's early work by reuniting the members of the original DIO lineup. After playing shows that featured a setlist composed exclusively of material from the first three DIO albums, the band decided to move forward and create new music in a similar vein.

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