Still one of the most potent guitar duos in metal, Def Leppard's Phil Collen and Viv Campbell unleash an aggressive riff offensive on the band's new album, Songs From The Sparkle Lounge, that's more hungry and attacking than any they've previously plotted.
While Def Leppard doesn't stray far here from the combination of sweet, pop confections and dynamite-packed, sonic explosions that resulted in Hysteria, there is a sense on ... Sparkle Lounge that Collen and Campbell have added some bite to their solos and an incredibly powerful thrust to songs like "Go," "Cruise Control" and "Hallucinate."
How they actually work together and view what they do with Def Leppard is interesting. They talked about their partnership in a recent interview (posted as a podcast on www.goldminemag.com), and a story about Def Leppard and the new album will appear in the May 9 issue of Goldmine.
For Songs From The Sparkle Lounge, the pair recorded their guitar parts in real time together, and a lot of the songs for the album were recorded in a place called The Sparkle Lounge. In essence, it was a backstage area that served a tuning room on the band's last tour.
'It's a very honest title, and the genesis for those songs came from that room, and it was a different room every day," says Campbell.
While there was the spirit of collaboration was there, Collen says the album is really like "four little solo projects." Viv chimed in that there wasn't a lot of partnering up on the songwriting for the album.
One of Collen's pet projects was a song called "Tomorrow," which he wrote about the death of his father. A life-affirming ode to living every minute as if it's your last, Collen finds it therapeutic.
"I spent two months with my dad, and it was cancer actually, so it was really shitty," says Collen of the debilitating nature of the disease. "We had a really great time, apart from him being in really great pain. We laughed a lot, and it's one of the best times we ever spent together, actually. So, it was a bit of a weird one, and that's why I wrote about it. It was a bizarre experience, really. It was really sad by one token, and yet we had a great time just talking about everything. Marriage ... just everything, kids, the whole thing. We were just having fun, and I hadn't spent that much quality time with my dad in years."
To hear the full interview with Collen and Campbell, check out the podcast section of www.goldminemag.com. Among the subjects they discuss is Campbell's comparing his role in Dio with the part he plays in Def Leppard, and there's a wealth of conversation about the making of Songs From The Sparkle Lounge. Also, we'll be running the interview at 8 a.m. and noon on April 19 and 24 on Goldmine Radio.
And while you're scouring the Internet for more on Def Leppard, go to www.defleppard.com/ for tour dates, discographies, lyrics, multimedia files and a whole lot more.