Musicpix recently conducted an interview with DEF LEPPARD guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Musicpix: DEF LEPPARD was once a curiosity and 34 years later, you’re globally adored. Can you talk about weathering success?
Phil: We just love doing it. The motivation has always been about the music instead of presenting the band. It’s never been about image or anything like that… it makes it more real. We’ve got a lot of ambition to go; that’s why we’re still here.
Musicpix: I was fortunate to be a teenager in the ’80s… I watch teens now gravitating to your music decades later and getting acquainted with the ’80s. Can you talk about why you think we crave that ’80s sound?
Phil: In general, I don’t think there are many new bands coming up that aren’t a real product of the industry. If there are those new bands, they don’t have the amount of hits that we’ve got. We never spilt up, so our technique remains very much intact as far as that goes.
Vivian: People have been bashed over the head with these songs for decades… these songs are branded in their DNA. Back in the ’80s, MTV was the driving force of the culture, so you couldn’t escape hearing what was popular. Today, we live in a very fragmented world where people only tune into what there’re interested in. There’s so much media everywhere… the Internet, cable channels, satellite radio, personal computers, cell phones… everyone is living in their own world. Back in that day, you couldn’t escape music so we were fortunate that we grew up in an era and we were a part of that, so our music is a part of that fabric and that’s what they want to hear. I think it’s different for musicians growing up these days… it’s got nothing to do with whether or not the music was any better in that era… nowadays it’s harder for stuff to stick. That’s fortunate for us. We have something that people want to hear and we enjoy playing live.
Musicpix: The phrase “you’re not getting, older you’re getting better” applies. You guys are now middle-aged and flooded with work. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do that you haven’t done?
Phil: Yeah, it gets more difficult with DEF LEPPARD, though. We had an album in 1996 called “Slang” and it was very different in the way we recorded it. We recorded it live. We didn’t spend a lot of time on the writing. We wrote it and recorded it. It was really cool, but lot of people didn’t like it because it was experimental. We found that you can’t really do that when once you’re established. It’s a very fine line with what’s acceptable with your fans and what’s cool versus selling out to wallpaper music… you want to make it cool. So it becomes more challenging, but we actually have become better writers and producers over time.
Read the entire interview from Musicpix.