Vivian Campbell Discusses The Songwriting Process Of Def Leppard

Fresh off the launch of a new album, ‘Jericho,’ with Last in Line, and touring the world with Def Leppard, guitarist Vivian Campbell has shared some insights into the workings of the two bands. In a recent interview with Backstage Pass Rock-News, he discussed both bands’ creative process and working styles, saying that Def Leppard tried to ‘reinvent the wheel’ with every new project.

After the guitarist explained how the former Dio members came together to form Last in Line, the interviewer asked whether the band members’ work principle was gathering and playing in a room for a raw experience. He answered by saying:

“That’s exactly right. That’s how we do it. You know, we go back to the way we did the original Dio albums. You know, we get into a room where we can make eye contact with each other because there is a certain [thing] for that kinda music. I think it definitely benefits from having that dynamic that happens between players playing in a room together in real-time.”

In contrast, Campbell highlighted the different approaches adopted by Def Leppard:

“It’s definitely not the way that Def Leppard works. Def Leppard is much more crafted when we write and record records. We frequently just start with a click track because we’re always – We’re always still working on the song with Def Leppard because the craft of songwriting is very, very important to Def Leppard. You know, we’re literally trying to reinvent the wheel. We’re trying to up the bar.”

Giving more context, he added:

“Every day we go into the studio, we’re – We could be working on a song for two weeks, and somebody comes in and says, ‘You know what? I got an idea that’s totally different to what we’re doing, and you can scrap two weeks’ worth of work and start on a whole different interpretation of that song.’ That happens frequently, you know, and it’s worth doing if it elevates the song, which invariably does for us. But with Last in Line, we’re not trying to write hit songs. We’re just trying to capture a feel.”

Joining forces with Vinny Appice and Jimmy Bain in 2012 to form Last in Line has influenced the guitarist’s approach to performing with Def Leppard. A 2022 interview with Total Guitar revealed that his anxiety about playing with the band decreased after forming his side project.

Here’s what he said:

“I do feel that my playing is better than ever and certainly more comfortable. I have a lot less anxiety about it, probably because I’m doing it so much since I started Last In Line. The passion was reignited, and I’ve definitely built upon it. When it came time to do guitar solos, I didn’t have the pressure of other people in the room. You know, ‘Lunch is coming up. When is he going to do this?'”

You can watch Vivian Campbell’s new interview in the video below.