DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell will receive a stem-cell transplant in September after doctors discovered his cancer had returned.
Campbell — who before joining DEF LEPPARD in 1992 was well known for his work with DIO and WHITESNAKE — went public with his Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis last summer, but announced in November that he was in remission.
However, Campbell has now revealed is still battling the disease with a new high-tech chemo treatment.
In a new interview with Utah's Daily Herald, he said: "The remission was a little bit premature. It came right back. I don't know if the cancer came back or it never totally went away, you know, but the initial scan I did last fall after doing my chemo, the scan came back clean. But there was something about it the oncologist was unclear about and didn't feel good about, so I was referred to another specialist.
"I suppose one of the advantages about being in this city [Los Angeles] that I dislike so much is that there's a lot of great medical facilities here. There's a place called City Of Hope just outside of L.A., and there's a specific oncologist there who's probably the leading oncologist with regards to Hodgkin's in the U.S., and he sent me to him. He had a look at my scans and, you know, everyone was a little bit apprehensive, and he said, 'Well, for now you appear to be in remission." I kind of took that ball and I ran with it, and, unfortunately, it turned out to be premature. So the followup scan that I did a couple months later showed that there was definitely some growth coming back. I ended up having a couple of biopsies — I did a needle biopsy in January and that showed that I was fine, but my oncologist said, and he was right, that needle biopsies are notoriously uncertain, and he suggested I do a surgical biopsy. So I went to Dublin and started to record with the band, we started work on a new record, and as soon as I got back from that, I did another surgical biopsy and that showed that the cancer had definitely come back."
He continued: "I'm actually doing this new high-tech chemo treatment, I'm about halfway through it already, and it's really kind of easy going. It's the first new drug that's been discovered for Hodgkin's since 1977 and they made this discovery in 2011, and it's actually being pioneered here at City Of Hope, so I'm part of this research clinical trial that's going on. It's very, very benign chemo, actually it just targets — I don't know how it works, obviously I'm not a medical person, but somehow or other it just manages to target the cancer cells. It's not like old-school, carpet-bomb chemo where it kills all the fast-growing cells, so I haven't experienced any hair loss or any issues with my skin or nails or anything this time around, which is good. And assuming that works, I'm going to have to continue a couple of treatments, actually, over the course of the tour, so that's awkward to work around, but not impossible. Assuming that it all works and I actually get to a perceived remission stage by August, then as soon as the tour is over in early September I'm going to get a stem-cell transplant, which I can't say I'm looking forward to, but I've been told if I don't do that, the cancer's going to just keep coming back every couple years. And every time it's a little bit more resistant. It is what it is. It could be worse — but at least I have health insurance. [laughs]"
Campbell, who has just joined his DEF LEPPARD bandmates on tour as they kicked off a 42-date trek with KISS last night (Monday, June 23), in Salt Lake City, Utah, believes that being on stage might be the best therapy for him. "It absolutely is," he said. "And when I was going through the chemo last year and the band said to me, 'We've been offered these shows. Can you do them? Do you want to do them? Or we can get someone to cover for you?' I said, '(Bleep) that (bleep)! I'm not having someone else do my job. It actually was very, very therapeutic for me to go and get on stage and do that. And the same is true this year. There's nothing worse than sitting around the house concentrating on the negative. I've always enjoyed my work, and I've always felt very fortunate to be able to do what I love. I am well up for the summer tour indeed."
Campbell's health setback is not expected to affect the recording sessions for DEF LEPPARD's' next album, the follow-up to 2008's "Songs From The Sparkle Lounge", which is being laid down in several sessions.
Campbell told a Florida radio station in April: "Our third and final instalment will be in November, to finish up the record. We're hoping for a release for early spring, 2015."
A radio special celebrating the release of the Deluxe Edition of DEF LEPPARD's classic 1996 album "Slang" can be streamed using the audio player below.
In addition to all the great music, the special includes brand new interviews with singer Joe Elliott and guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell who take you behind the scenes of this disc that they feel is one of their best.
The Deluxe Edition of "Slang" was released across multiple formats through DEF LEPPARD's own Bludgeon Riffola label on February 10.
The "Slang" reissue is available in three formats: a CD Deluxe Edition and Digital Edition containing the original 11 album tracks remastered and original rare bonus tracks made up of demos, alternate versions and mixes with a series of new songs recorded during the time the band was creating "Slang". Most of these additional bonus tracks have never been released. A special iTunes Digital Edition has everything from the Digital Edition, plus a further set of additional bonus tracks. A Double Vinyl Deluxe Edition is also available and features the original album, and its own set of exclusive songs.
The band released a special "Slang Video Collection" the same day exclusively on iTunes that features videos from singles "Slang", "Work It Out" and "All I've Ever Wanted".
"Slang" was first released in May 1996 and is considered the band's most underrated album. At the time of its release, the music industry was at the height of the '90s grunge scene and DEF LEPPARD with bands like NIRVANA, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS and PEARL JAM were dominating the airwaves. Despite this musical shift, "Slang" charted on the Top Five U.K. official chart and the Top 15 in the U.S. on The Billboard 200 chart. The album was also voted in the Top Ten Albums Of 1996 by the U.K.'s prestigious Q magazine.
As a testament to DEF LEPPARD's music transcending through time, "Slang" was recognized for its musical departure from the band's signature sound. The collection incorporated new sonic elements that gave the album a slightly darker introspective mood than their previous releases.
Guitarist Phil Collen tells Billboard.com: "It was an essential album for DEF LEPPARD. It was a drastic move, left-field for us. It was experimental. It went against the grain from what we normally were doing at the time. We felt like with 'Adrenalize' it started turning a little bit similar, so it was important to do something different at that point."
"Slang" debuted at No. 5 on The Billboard 200 and went gold, but was DEF LEPPARD's slowest-selling album in more than a decade.
"Y'know, I think we could've put out 'Sgt. Pepper's' or 'Dark Side Of The Moon' and I think it would have been the same because it was DEF LEPPARD and we had gotten lumped in with all the crap metal bands of the '80s that were kind of pale versions of us," Collen explained to Billboard.com. "NIRVANA had come along and everything had changed. What was very interesting was people said they didn't like it so much because it didn't sound like us, but we set up in a villa in southern Spain and pretty much recorded live, so it was actually closer to the mark than the other albums where we didn't play live and did the usual studio thing of putting one thing on at a time and building it from there."
"Slang Deluxe Edition" track listings:
CD / Digital Edition
DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen tells Artisan News that the band will enter the studio on February 1 to begin work on the follow-up to 2008's "Songs From The Sparkle Lounge".
"I saw Joe [Elliott, vocals], Vivian [Campbell, guitar] and Rick [Allen, drums] on Rick's birthday out here on November 1," he said (see video below). "And we were discussing and we were all excited and buzzing about new material. I can't even remember the last time we were like that about that stuff. 'Cause it's been a long time since we've had new recordings out, so it's like a brand new band; you have all these ideas and we're just gonna get together and bash it out."
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Collen revealed that the band has plans to record both an EP and full-length album. He explained: "An album would obviously take too long, so we're gonna do about four or five songs, get those out and then [later in the] year have an album come out, so it'll be an EP and an album."
Campbell explained to Billboard that DEF LEPPARD's next release will likely see them delivering elements of their classic tunes while also delving into new territory.
"The band is successful for a certain sound," said Campbell. "It's a brand like Coca-Cola and you've got to give the people what they expect. At the same time, you have to move on."
After completing the successful "Viva! Hysteria" residency in Las Vegas last spring that resulted in the recently released concert video and album packages, DEF LEPPARD is planning to return to Sin City later this year with a "Viva! Pyromania" residency, which will see the group perform the entire classic 1983 album "Pyromania" at each show. The move comes in time for the album's 31st anniversary rather than its 30th, but Elliott told journalist Gary Graff that commemorating that mark wasn't on DEF LEPPARD's agenda last year.
"We ignored the anniversary because I think a lot of these anniversaries are just invented by the record companies to rehash for some bullshit reason, to re-release an album that doesn't need re-releasing because it's never been deleted," he said.
"We agreed to doing the 25th anniversary of 'Pyromania' five years ago, where we put out the second disc which was... basically an extra live album with the Steve Clark lineup, if you like, the way that we were in 1983," he continued.
"The cupboard's bare. There's nothing left.
"They wanted to do a re-release of a 30th anniversary of 'Pyromania', and we just said, 'Absolutely no! The only thing that anybody is going to get out of this is some different liner notes.' I think it's just ripping off the kids, so we said no.
"If somebody wants 'Pyromania Deluxe', it's already out.
"We celebrated after 25 years; we don't need to do it again after 30."
According to The Pulse Of Radio, contrary to Internet rumors, DEF LEPPARD will not be suing pop group ONE DIRECTION. Some fans are up in arms over the similarities between the ONE DIRECTION chart-topper "Midnight Memories" and DEF LEPPARD's 1987 track "Pour Some Sugar On Me", which peaked at No. 2 in 1988. LEPPARD's two guitarists, "Sugar" co-writer Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell spoke to Billboard about the song, with Collen stating the songs are "very similar in structure" but nothing more. Campbell added: "The chords are one-four-five. Those are the blues. You don't get more basic than that. I think what's more reminiscent of the LEPPARD thing is the production, the sound, the vocals, the reverb and the way it's assembled. That is very flattering that all of a sudden these kids think it's a cool sound. I think a lot of people of their generation aren't going to connect their music to ours."
Phil Collen said that this situation isn't the same as the similarities between and ROBIN THICKE's "Blurred Lines" and MARVIN GAYE's classic "Got to Give It Up". "That's different," he said. "In fact, it's got the mayonnaise jar and people hooting in the background which Marvin Gaye had. I don't see that you can do that. The ONE DIRECTION one is very similar in structure, but it's all good."
Earlier this year, THE WHO was rumored to be contemplating a lawsuit against ONE DIRECTION for the production similarities between their "Best Song Ever" and "Baba O'Riley" — until Pete Townshend went public to dispel the rumors and state that he was flattered by them being influenced by his record.
DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen told The Pulse Of Radio he and his bandmates always look forward to playing their hits out on the road. "Every night when someone's singing along — especially when there's a lot of young kids there, 16-year-olds and that — it is fresh, actually makes you feel really good when there's a whole new breed of people just singing away to songs that you've done," he said. "It doesn't really matter whether it's a new so
DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen has revealed to Billboard.com that the band is planning a "Viva Pyromania" residency in Las Vegas at the end of 2014.
DEF LEPPARD's breakthrough 1983 album, "Pyromania", was certified at the RIAA's (Recording Industry Association of America) diamond level (10 million copies shipped) in 2004. Produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange, "Pyromania" benefited greatly from MTV's relentless airing of the album's first two singles, "Photograph" and "Rock of Ages".
The birth of MTV would definitely aid in fueling the success of DEF LEPPARD's third album, which lit the fuse for the pop metal bands so successful throughout the remainder of the decade, but as Elliott reveals to "In The Studio" host Redbeard, it was a challenge throughout the recording sessions to ignite those soon-to-be anthemic songs.
"About halfway through the 'Pyromania' album, I first noticed that it was getting difficult to create something that was as good as the top-notch artists," he said. "We weren't that little band from Sheffield anymore, we had to be better and bigger than BOSTON, FOREIGNER… you name it."
In an online post, Elliott commented on "Pyromania"'s 30th anniversary: "Wow... I can't believe it's 30 years since 'Pyromania' came out! It had been a labor of love to make (little did we know in comparison to 'Hysteria', it was a piece of cake!). Multiple studios in London, one guitarist out, one guitarist in, equipment breakdowns, tapes turning transparent because of the thousands of times they were rewound and fast forwarded for multiple overdubs, but we found our sound on this record with the help of a great producer in Mutt Lange, the new studio technology that we eagerly embraced (unlike many of our peers) and an incredible enthusiasm to 'make a record no one else had ever made. Whether we did or didn't isn't important. What is, is that we had made the record WE wanted to make, it had been percolating in our DNA for six years! We finally sounded like the 'us' we wanted to be!!!"
DEF LEPPARD's first Las Vegas residency at the Hard Rock Hotel this past spring saw the band playing its classic album "Hysteria" in full each night.
DEF LEPPARD "Pyromania" "In The Studio" interview (audio):
51-year-old DEF LEPPARD and LAST IN LINE guitarist Vivian Campbell, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma earlier in the year, has posted the following message on his Facebook page:
"For anyone who gives a toss, after doing another PET scan and all the other follow-up tests, then getting a second opinion, etc., I'm officially in remission from Hodgies. That's the good news. The bad news is: I no longer have an excuse to not go to the gym."
Campbell, who joined LEPPARD in 1992 after stints in DIO and WHITESNAKE, had been receiving chemotherapy since April.
"I feel fortunate that my cancer sent me an alarm call in the form of 'the cough that wouldn't quit,'" Campbell said earlier in the year.
Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system characterized by the painless enlargement of lymph nodes, spleen, or immune tissue.
"I did kind of want to not go public with it at first, because it is a weird kind of thing,"Campbell said in a June radio interview. "You've got to kind of learn to deal with it on your own terms before you can address the rest of the world about it. So, you know, I feel very comfortable going public about it. For the first couple months, I even tried to keep it from my children, because they were still in school and doing exams and stuff and I didn't want to add to their concerns. But after a while, it's inevitable that you, you know, something's going on and you have to kind of come out with it and kind of explain what the situation is. But I'm very comfortable with it. I'm very comfortable with the treatment. I'm very comfortable with how my body is reacting to it."
Last month, DEF LEPPARD's recent Las Vegas extravaganza hit the silver screen for two nights. NCM Fathom Events together with AEG Live and Network Live brought DEF LEPPARD "Viva! Hysteria" concert to over 250 theaters across the country with a full front-to-back performance of 1987's multi-platinum "Hysteria" album — along with a healthy dose of the band's greatest hits.
Bunim/Murray Productions, a Banijay Group company, AEG Live/AEG Network Live and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas have announced a new documentary series, "Living With Def Leppard". The multi-episode project will take viewers into the world of iconic rock band DEF LEPPARD, capturing the "VIVA Hysteria!" concerts which took place earlier this year at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel.
The series follows the band, one that has been together since 1977 and continues to perform to fans in sold-out arenas and stadiums worldwide, both on and off the stage throughout their stay in Las Vegas. Viewers will witness the band's camaraderie and spirit, which have kept them together for 35 years despite many challenges and temptations.
Bunim-Murray Productions and AEG Network Live filmed performances and documentary-style moments from the artists' own point of view, showing a side to the band, and its members, unlike any ever seen before. It is the band's story told by the band. The series also incorporates interviews with DEF LEPPARD fans, giving them the chance to tell their story of why they hold this band in such high regard and how the songs take them back to where the memories began. The docu-series has the potential to become a signature series, which will showcase multiple bands, all experienced through a similar format and storytelling technique.