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Interview:
Def Leppard members keeping busy in and out of band
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

It's been a busy -- and dramatic -- year since Def Leppard's last summer tour.

The group -- formed in Sheffield, England -- though with members living on both sides of the pond these days -- has collectively juggled myriad outside projects as well as health concerns. Guitarist Vivian Campbell, for instance, continues to battle Hodgkins lymphoma but has had success with experimental treatments. And the group had to postponed some shows earlier this year due to frontman Joe Elliott's throat problems, which have since been rectified.

But the silver lining of that, says Campbell, was an opportunity to sit back and use some of the enforced time off to contemplate a follow-up to last year's "Def Leppard" album, which was the group's first set of new material in seven years.

"I do think it has encourages us in Leppard a lot, to such extent I think we'll see another record a helluva lot sooner than the time between this one and the last one," Campbell, 53, says by phone from Los Angeles. "There's always stuff. There's always ideas. Everyone in the band is reasonably prolific.

"With Leppard it's never the question of not having enough songs; it's a question of what kind of songs. That's part of the Leppard M.O. when it comes to making a record."

There's been no shortage of music-making outside the band, however. Earlier this year Campbell rolled out "Heavy Crown," the debut album from the band Last In Line, a partnership with other founding members of the 80s group Dio. The death of bassist Jimmy Bain in January has put that project in limbo, but Campbell and drummer Vinny Appice aren't necessarily calling it over just yet.

"We're all really, really proud of this record -- Jimmy was, too," the guitarist says. "We all really believed in it. We knew it was gonna be good and we were super thrilled that it came out even better than our expectations.

"It would be sad to just let it go, so we'll see what the future holds."

Def Lep's other guitarist, Phil Collen, has plenty on the side as well. The self titled album by his blues band "Delta Deep" came out in 2015 -- featuring a guest vocal by Elliott -- and was followed by a memoir, "Adrenalized: Life, Def Leppard, and Beyond," that allowed Collen to take stock of his time in the band, and in music.

"I didn't really want to do it," Collen, 58, says by phone. "I think memoirs and books like that are a bit egotistical, and I don't really like them." He did, however, get got talked into the project by co-author Chris Epting, and now Collen says he can foresee writing a second volume at some piont down the road.

"I certainly know that (life) is still in constant change," he says. "There's still stuff going on all the time. The fact that Def Leppard have been together for 30-something years and you have these experiences -- birth, death, marriages, divorces -- you have them all together. You're a work in progress, and that never changes."

Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon and Tesla

7 p.m. Friday, July 15.

DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $29.50-$125 pavilion, $25 lawn with a $75 lawn four-pack.

Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.




Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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