Steve Baltin of Rolling Stone recently interviewed Def Leppard guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell along with drummer Rick Allen about the new concert film, Viva! Hysteria and the band’s future. Portions of the interview appear below.
RS: A lot of bands are uncomfortable watching themselves. Have you seen the concert film yet?
Phil Collen: I’ve seen it. I think it’s fantastic. We actually really sing our stuff. Everyone touches stuff up, but this is really us being live. We use different stuff from different nights, and the angles – they shot over two nights so they used the best parts. This is phenomenal. It’s mind-blowing.
Vivian Campbell: I don’t like watching myself, I took that in consideration when I stood in front of the bedroom mirror pretending to be Marc Bolan. I was also really, really sick when we filmed this. When I look at pictures I look very pale because I was anemic and everything, so I’m not in a hurry to go see myself on the big screen.
RS: How does Def Leppard keep the passion up?
Campbell: The problem with being a musician is it’s hard to keep up that passion. You start doing it for the right reasons, then it becomes a job, like anything. We’re all different, we find separate things to motivate us, but we’re in a good place right now. I think I’m playing guitar better than I’ve ever played in my life because, unlike an athlete, it’s not like a physical thing where your body packs in when you’re 30. You actually get better and better. Every time we’re on tour, I have a moment where I think, “Fuck, this is really fucking good.” And also having this whole fucking chemo and cancer bollocks, the fact I’ve been able to work through it has really helped me mentally. And I’m really enjoying playing my instrument again, which I wouldn’t have honestly been able to say 10 years ago.
Collen: There’s a fire there. Normally as you get older you get comfy. You’re a great player, but the fire goes. This is the opposite, for whatever reason. We’ve all got it, and it’s actually captured on this [film], which is pretty amazing.
Rick Allen: It’s like an out-of-body experience. You’re listening to it, the whole band, and you’re going, “Am I actually doing that? Are they actually doing that?” It really does sound that good.
RS: What’s the status with the new record?
Collen: We’ve got a shitload of new songs anyway, it’s just implement them and then, “What direction are we gonna take? Who are we gonna get to produce it? Are we gonna do it ourselves? Are we gonna do multiple stuff?” An album would obviously take too long, so we’re gonna do about four or five songs, get those out and then next year have an album come out, so it’ll be an EP and an album.
Read more at Rolling Stone.