Vivian Campbell: his career in rock has been quite the wild ride. He’s a legend in my eyes, so I jumped at the chance to chat with him.
I’ll give you a little bit of background just in case you’re not all-the-way wise to the Northern Irish guitarist. Vivian Campbell first strapped on a Telecaster at the ripe young age of 12. By the age of 15, he had formed the band that would become Sweet Savage, an act that was part of the new wave of British heavy metal.
In 1983, Dio guitarist Jake E. Lee joined Ozzy Osbourne‘s band to replace the late Randy Rhoads as lead guitarist. Campbell slid into Lee’s spot in Dio, just in time for the release of their breakthrough album Holy Diver. He’d spend the formative years of his early 20s with Dio, get fired, then get lucky again by joining another band.
Whitesnake had their self-titled breakthrough album recorded and ready to go in 1987. It was actually called 1987 at first. Frontman David Coverdale had such a hard time making the album that, by the time the process was over, he had fired his entire band. Once again, Vivian Campbell’s phone rang. And once again, he was joining up with a band poised for a breakthrough.
Five years later, in 1992, he would join Def Leppard, replacing the late Steve Clark. He’s held down that gig for over 30 years now. And those are only the big-name acts Campbell has played with! There’s even more on his musical resume.
INTERVIEW: Guitar God Vivian Campbell Talks to Adam 12
I talked to Vivian about his time in Whitesnake, playing Fenway Park with Def Leppard last summer, and the work he’s been doing over the last decade with Last in Line, who’s new album Jericho releases this March. Listen to my conversation with Vivian, then check out the video for their new song “Ghost Town.”