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Seasoned rockers serve what fans want

Rock band Def Leppard is working on new music, which will be released next year.
Rock band Def Leppard is working on new music, which will be released next year.
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Vivian Campbell has played for some heavy-hitting rock bands.

Dio, Whitesnake and Def Leppard are all on his résumé. But it’s with Def Leppard that Campbell has found a home.

“I’ll be celebrating 20 years with the band in a less than a year,” he says during a recent phone interview. “We’ve been able to continue to make music and tour the world. It’s a blessing.”

Def Leppard With Heart WHEN: 7:30 tonight WHERE: Hard Rock Casino presents the Pavilion, 5601 University SE HOW MUCH: $31-$111 at www.livenation.comRock band Def Leppard is working on new music, which will be released next year.Online
With Heart
WHEN: 7:30 tonight
WHERE: Hard Rock Casino presents the Pavilion, 5601 University SE
HOW MUCH: $31-$111 at www.livenation.comRock band Def Leppard is working on new music, which will be released next year.OnlineHeart’s Ann Wilson, left, talks about new music and how the band has sustained nearly 40 years in the music business. Visit ABQJournal.com/venue for the full story.

Campbell joined Def Leppard in 1992 and immediately became part of a great family. The band had already established itself as a successful rock band with singles such as “Photograph,” “Pyromania,” “Love Bites” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”

“We all really love what we do,” he says. “It’s about thanking the fans for sticking with us. That’s the reason we continue to tour.”

Since Campbell joined Def Leppard, he has played on 10 albums and toured the world with the band.

“With each record we are getting stronger,” he says. “We’ve never abandoned the tenacity that the band started with. We are building a legacy and have a great place in music history.”

Campbell says the band is working on new music it hopes to release in 2012.

“It’s our intention to release a record, although it’s up for argument on what constitutes a record these days,” he says. “It might have 10 songs, it might have six. We don’t know what it’ll be, but it will be new music.”

Campbell says the writing process for the band has evolved and stands as an individual thing right now. Each member of the band is an experienced songwriter and will bring almost complete songs to the table.

“I would want it to be more collaborative again,” he says. “When we’re all together and the songs come from all of us, the audience gets to see more flavor from the band.”

When asked to choose a favorite song from more than 30 years of hits, Campbell says that’s difficult.

“Usually the best song to be is the newest one because it’s the freshest,” he says. “Sure I enjoy playing all of the hits, but on this tour we’re playing the song ‘Undefeated,’ which is off of the live album. It’s fun because I haven’t played it a million times.”

Def Leppard is currently on a co-headlining tour with Heart.

“Each band is very successful and we’ve been able to maintain our careers,” he says. “This bill just works for us.”

Campbell admits that being on the road for all of his adult life has taken a toll and is difficult for his family, but it’s what he was born to do.

“I discovered electric guitar at 9 years old,” he explains. “It’s been an honor and privilege to be able to make a living doing something that I love.”

Looking back at his career in music, Campbell says he only has one regret.

“I wish Sweet Savage, my first band, would have stayed together to take it further,” he says. “We formed in 1979 and we sounded like what Metallica sounds like. They even covered one of our songs. I wish we would have gotten a break. But then again, if I would have made it with that band, I wouldn’t have been afforded all of my opportunities since.”

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