Rick Allen Recalls The Time Def Leppard Approached Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith

In a recent interview by Eonmusic, Def Leppard’s influential drummer Rick Allen has remembered the time when Def Leppard has contacted Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith to join the band as the guitarist.

After their widely-appreciated fourth album ‘Hysteria’ which was released in 1987, Def Leppard quickly started to work on their fifth record. At that time, Steve Clark was dealing with alcoholism and constantly going to rehab affecting the band’s progress. As a result, he left the band for a six-month period and then died on January 8, 1991, from drugs and alcohol. The band continued working on the album though, and Phil Collen mimicked Clark’s style of playing the guitar on the parts where he was supposed to play.

Between late 1991 and early 1992, Def Leppard started to look for another guitarist and commenced auditions. Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith was known to be included among the guitarists who auditioned for Steve Clark’s place along with John Sykes and Gary Hoey. The band then chose Vivian Campbell in 1992 to take Steve Clark’s place.

Speaking to Eonmusic, Rick Allen has remembered those times when Adrian Smith was a candidate along with other musicians to be the guitarist of Def Leppard. Rick stated that he actually loved the idea of having Adrian in the band and added that it was interesting that there were all these people lined up for the position. He then mentioned that he considered it as a compliment that Adrian was interested in being a guitarist of Def Leppard, although saying Vivian was the perfect choice at that time.

The interviewer told Rick Allen that:

“I couldn’t let you go without asking you about Adrian Smith’s connection to Def Leppard. I spoke to the Iron Maiden guitarist last year, and he confirmed that he had been in contention for the role that Vivian Campbell eventually filled.”

Rick Allen then responded, saying:

“Yeah, I actually really loved the idea. I mean, there was a kid called Huwey Lucas that was a contender; there was John Sykes; there were all these people kind of lined up. I loved the idea. It’s interesting, you put somebody in a slightly different situation and new things are revealed about them, and it was cool. It was a compliment that he was so into it. But I think ultimately, I think Vivian was the absolutely perfect choice.”

In the interview, Rick Allen also mentioned that he will have two art exhibits at Wentworth Galleries in Atlantic City and King of Prussia between the dates of July 10 and 11. Def Leppard’s Stadium Tour, during which they will be accompanied by Mötley Crüe, Poison, and Joan Jett & The Black Hearts, is officially postponed until 2022.