Vivian Campbell On How Gary Moore And Rory Gallagher Shaped His Sound In Def Leppard

In a new interview with Total Guitar, Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell talked about the differences between his and Steve Clark’s playing styles. The guitarist thinks he brought a heavier element to the band’s sound.

The guitarist Pete Willis and bassist Rick Savage formed Def Leppard in 1977. The lead singer Joe Elliott also soon joined the two. While they were looking for a second guitarist to add to the band, Willis met Steve Clark at a technical college and invited him to come and audition. Although Clark didn’t show up in the first place, he finally came down for the audition when Willis and Elliott asked him again. He officially joined Def Leppard in 1978.

The guitarist contributed to most of the band’s songs during his tenure and earned the nickname ‘The Riffmaster’ due to phenomenal guitar riffs. Although he rose to fame with the band and had an incredible career at the time, he struggled with alcohol addiction. His untimely death due to respiratory failure caused by a lethal mixture of alcohol and prescription drugs came in 1991. Following Clark’s death, Vivian Campbell replaced him in 1992 and has been a band member.

During a recent interview, Vivian Campbell reflected on the differences between his guitar playing and Steve Clark’s. The guitarist stated that they have very different styles, so they both brought new elements to the band’s sound. Campbell thinks he adds more percussive elements to his playing. According to the guitarist, he plays pinch harmonics a lot and has a heavier approach to the guitar than Clark due to his Gary Moore influence. Campbell considers he brought a heavier element to Def Leppard’s sound primarily due to his early influences.

Here are Vivian Campbell’s words on the differences between his style and Steve Clark’s:

“I play very differently from Steve. I play a lot of palm muting, so there’s a much more percussive element to how I play lead guitar parts. I think there’s definitely a heavier approach. I pinch harmonics a lot because of my Rory Gallagher influence. I just can’t help myself.

I got a really heavy vibrato, thanks to my Gary Moore influence. We’re all made up of our influences, so I bring a heavier element to the Def Leppard both in the studio and when we play live, but we all share that same mentality of being in service of the song.”

Def Leppard’s long-awaited new studio album finally arrives on May 27. The album was preceded by three singles, ‘Kick,’ ‘Take What You Want,’ and ‘Fire It Up.’ The band will support the album with their upcoming ‘Stadium Tour’ that will kick off on June 16 with Mötley Crüe and Joan Jett.