VIVIAN CAMPBELL: 'I'm A Very, Very Physical' Guitar 'Player Because Of My Influences'

January 11, 2024

In a new interview with Sweetwater, former DIO and current DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell was asked what it was about Gary Moore's playing style that was such a huge influence on his own guitar-playing approach. Vivian responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "The intensity. He just was all in. He was committed to playing."

He continued: "There's a certain thing about playing. I'm a very, very physical player because of my influences. When I started, Rory Gallagher was my first album, first concert, also my second concert, also my third and my fourth and my fifth, 'cause nobody else came to Belfast in the '70s. So I used to see Rory at [Belfast's] Ulster Hall every Christmas; he'd do a series of shows. But Rory was a very physical player. He was a blues player. He bent the strings, heavy strings too, pinch harmonics, so a very heavy approach with the right hand, palm muting. And then, when I discovered Gary Moore's playing, it was that times 10 or times 100, whatever — just really, really, really physical, intense vibrato, heavy, heavy, palm muting."

Vivian added: "When I went to L.A. the first time [in the early 1980s] when I was doing making the 'Holy Diver' album with Ronnie [James Dio] and the guys, there's so many great guitar players. And we were just talking before we went on air here about some great guitar players in L.A. who are just, like, 'Oh my God. This is unbelievable. How do you play like that?' And the way they play like that is 'cause they barely touch the strings. And I just couldn't do it. So I spent several years — my first years in L.A. — being intensely frustrated, trying to reverse my style, 'cause I wanted to play like those guys. I wanted to play like Paul Gilbert, but I couldn't because I'm too heavy handed or hamfisted; depends how charitable you might be feeling."

Vivian was with diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2013.

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.

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

Five years ago, Campbell underwent spine surgery.

Vivian and his DEF LEPPARD bandmates were finally inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in March 2019 — 14 years after the British rockers first became eligible.

DEF LEPPARD's latest album, "Diamond Star Halos", arrived in May 2022 via UMe.

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