Def Leppard will be back in action this spring, despite frontman Joe Elliott’s vocal problems that forced the postponement of 10 shows on the group’s most recent U.S. tour.
Elliott and the group had to put the shows off to ensure the singer’s long-term health, guitarist Vivian Campbell tells Billboard: “A doctor stuck a camera down his throat the day we postponed the last show (Feb. 2 in San Antonio) and told him that if he didn’t stop singing he’d have no career left. That’s the bad news. The good news is that same doctor is equally confident that he does not need surgery of any sort. He just needs rest for a couple months. He should be fine.” Elliott has also missed one performance during Def Leppard’s Hysteria on the High Seas cruise during January.
Def Leppard plans to make up the postponed shows in May and then go on with a planned North American tour in June. The window opened partially because Campbell’s other band, Last In Line, scrapped its spring tour after bassist Jimmy Bain died last month.
Meanwhile, Def Leppard is still riding high on the group’s self-titled album that came out last October and debuted at No. 1 on the Top Rock Albums, Top Hard Rock Albums and Top Independent Albums charts. “I still think it’s the strongest record the band’s made since I’ve been in the band,” notes Campbell, who joined in 1992. And he’s confident there won’t be another seven-year interim like the one that followed 2008’s Songs From the Sparkle Lounge.
“I do think it’s encouraged us a lot to the extent I think we’ll see another record a hell of a lot sooner than the time between this one and the last one,” Campbell says. “There’s always stuff around. There’s always ideas. Everyone in the band is reasonably prolific. With Leppard it’s never the question of not having enough songs; it’s a question of what kind of songs. Every Def Leppard album has to have all these different flavors and hit all these different marks. It’s not a question of just showing up with a dozen rock songs. So that’s what takes a lot of time.”
Campbell, meanwhile, is also using the unexpected time off to enjoy home life and manage his own health. He’s currently part of a clinical trial in Los Angeles (former President Jimmy Carter is also part of the trial) to treat his Hodgkin’s lymphoma with pembrolizumab, which the guitarist reports is going well. “The treatment I’m doing is very agreeable,” Campbell says. “It’s had good results so far. I have very, very minimal side effects, so I’ve been very lucky. It’s at least keeping it in check. The hardest part about doing it is scheduling and the extra travel to get injections every week or so, ’cause I can only do it in L.A. But it allows me to continue to work and that’s of paramount importance to me. I refuse to capitulate to this disease. I want to keep working while I can, so all good.”