PHIL COLLEN AND VIVIAN CAMPBELL TALK
ABOUT THE UNUSUAL NECKS ON THEIR
FAVORITE AXES, THE BRUTAL PROCESS OF
WRITING NEW DEF LEPPARD MATERIAL,
AND MIRROR BALL: LIVE & MORE—the ’80s
juggernaut’s first-ever live album.
BY OSCAR JORDAN
PHOTOS BY ASH NEWELL
It’s amazing that, after a 34-year career full of hits and sold-out are- nas, Def Leppard is just now releasing its first live album. Mirror
Ball: Live & More bristles with the same raw, visceral excitement that
made the band’s music the inescapable rock soundtrack of the ’80s.
It’s a power-packed, two-CD set culled from the best performances
of their 2008-2009 tour. Staples such as “Foolin’,” “Rock of Ages,”
“Too Late for Love,” and “Photograph” are served up with gut-level
urgency, while three additional studio tracks round out the package.
Though the band first got attention based on the work of original
guitarists Pete Willis and Steve Clark—as exemplified by hits like
“Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” and “High ’n’ Dry (Saturday Night)”—
Phil Collen replaced Willis during the recording of Lep’s 1983 breakout hit, Pyromania. In 1991, Clark died from an accidental overdose,
and in 1992 former Dio and Whitesnake guitarist Vivian Campbell
took his place. Since then, Collen and Campbell have constituted the
band’s 6-string team, though both have also moonlighted in various
side projects to keep their creative juices flowing in directions not
quite fitting the Leppard mold: ManRaze is Collen’s edgy, punk-funk-dub project starring Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook and former Girl
bassist Simon Laffy, and Vivian Campbell is finishing up a dream gig
touring with one of the greatest rock bands of all time—Thin Lizzy.
PG caught up with Collen and Campbell just before Leppard’s
2011 tour to talk about the new album, their creative process, and
the gear they love.
Phil Collen (top) onstage with his Jackson PC1 signature model, and Vivian
Campbell playing live with his Les Paul.