Viviancampbell-306 Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell has recalled the bitter experience of seeing the first song he’d written for the band bombing when it was released as a single, even though the track had been well-received.

He’s hoping to put the bad memories behind him now that Slang, the first Def Leppard album he played on, has been re-released.

Campbell joined the band in 1992 following the death of Steve Clark, and his first writing credits came with Slang four years later, including the single Work It Out.

He tells Death And Taxes, “The first single in the States was my first writing contribution – here I was, stoked that the label had decided to go with it, and I remember someone from the management calling me up to tell me the bad news. Modern rock stations had tested the song and got a great reaction to it. But they realized they couldn’t play it because DJs couldn’t announce: ‘That was new from Def Leppard.’ They figured they’d lose so many listeners. They were playing Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soungarden – they couldn’t slot in Def Leppard even though they liked the track.”

With Slang the band had made a conscious effort to move away from their 80s credentials in an attempt to remain credible in the grunge era. Campbell recalls: “The underlying brief was: ‘It can’t sound like a Def Leppard album.’”

He admits: “My personal opinion is we went a little too left-field. There’s no backing vocals, which was a big trademark. There’s no real sense of that melody, the hooks. Being the new guy I didn’t rock the boat too much, but I think we went a few degrees too far left.”

But the guitarist – who recently successfully fought off cancer – is optimistic about the re-release, saying: “It’s nice that it will get a second run and be judged by a different generation. We’re glad that, with the passing of the last twenty-odd years, we can put it back out there. Hopefully it will be judged impartially this time round. It is fresh sounding. It’s sonically very vibrant.”

Def Leppard have just begun work on a new studio album.

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  • Lee on

    No hooks… Def Leppard. He’s very smart. Too far removed. Shoulda thrown 1979 in the world’s face again.

  • Mike S. on

    Let me start off by saying DL are my favorite band. I did get Slang when it first came out. While it was not my fav from them, I would listen to it from time to time. Got the deluxe edition the day it came out and I’m really liking this album alot more now. Just wanted to say thanks to the guys for making this album and taking the chance to do something different when it would have been much easier to repeat the same sound and songs again. And to Vivian, Work It Out is a fantastic song and my favorite on the album. Looking forward to the new album whenever we get it from you guys. \m/

  • MikeyMan on

    So it was modern rock radio’s fault?
    That song was weak back then, as was the majority of Slang.
    I picked up the reissue of Slang. Gave it another listen and it still sucks.
    Haven’t played disc 2 yet, hopefully that will justify the whole 10 bucks I spent.
    Good writing and good songs will prevail in the long run.
    C’mon, C’mon Def Leppard, get back in the studio and Rock On!

  • flashrockinman on

    Maybe they should have shortened their name to Leppard during the grunge era, sort of like Starship (Jefferson Starship) did in the 80s. Lol.

  • Brian on

    I loved Work It Out. Overall, I liked about half the album. The songs I liked, I loved and the others were just boring. The only song I’ve seen them do live is the title track. That was not one of the songs I like and wish they’d stop playing that one. There’s several others I’d rather hear live.

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