DEF LEPPARD's VIVIAN CAMPBELL Will Never Retire: 'If I Stopped Playing Guitar, I'd Be Just Waiting To Die'

February 29, 2020

In a recent interview with Scott Rusk of the 98.9 KKZX radio station in Spokane, Washington, DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell was asked when he will know it's time for him to hang it up. He responded (hear audio below): "It won't be. When I'm dead, when I stop breathing, that's when I'll stop working. I have no plans to retire; I have no interest in it."

He continued: "To me, playing is is all I've ever wanted to do and I've been fortunate this is all I've ever done. I see no reason to stop working. I don't know what I would do. I think, in my case, if I stopped playing guitar, I'd be just waiting to die. Even when I was doing my cancer treatments, even at the worst of it, when was doing chemo and stem cell and stuff — well, not when I was stem cell, 'cause I couldn't leave the hospital…. I've been on tour when I've been doing hardcore chemo, and I didn't have any hair on my head, I didn't even have eyebrows, but I think it was a big part of helping me deal with it — the fact that I continued to be able to do my work. And on that subject, I'd just like to say I'm very grateful to my band mates in DEF LEPPARD that they took a chance on me and afforded me that opportunity, to work when I was in that state. But I think it helped me through it."

Campbell added: "We realize that there's a lot of hard work, and we know, 'cause we've put in the hard work over the years. But when you're out there on stage, and especially, like I say, when we see our audience growing — we're in our late 50s and a couple of us are in our 60s now — and to go out there and to see people young enough to be your children just really really, really enjoying the show and the energy that that gives, it's wonderful. We realize how blessed we are to be able to do this."

Campbell — who before joining DEF LEPPARD in 1992 was well known for his work with DIO and WHITESNAKE — went public with his Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis in June 2013.

Campbell underwent three separate spells of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, only for his Hodgkin's lymphoma to return.

For the past four years, Campbell has been treated with medication called pembrolizumab, which has only recently been FDA approved.

Pembrolizumab is the same immunotherapy drug former president Jimmy Carter has been using to treat his metastatic melanoma.

Immunotherapy is a revolutionary approach to cancer therapy, and the idea behind it is to marshal the body's own defenses and aid them in the fight against cancer.

DEF LEPPARD recently announced select "20/20 Vision" fall tour dates with very special guests ZZ TOP. Produced by Live Nation, this new leg of dates will immediately follow the group's massively successful summer stadium tour with MÖTLEY CRÜE, which has already sold more than 1.1 million tickets. The "20/20 Vision" tour will kick off on September 21 at Times Union Center in Albany, New York.

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