(Gibson) Hard to believe, but more than three decades have passed since Def Leppard launched their career with their debut album back in 1980. Coming of age during that decade, the group subsequently released two albums – Pyromania and Hysteria – that remain essential touchstones for any fan of classic pop-metal. Overcoming harrowing adversity – drummer Rick Allen had an arm amputated in 1984; guitarist Steve Clark died in 1991 – the band has since solidified a career built on impeccable songcraft and a spectacular live show.
Mirror Ball: Live and More, the group's latest album, documents Def Leppard's power as a live band officially for the very first time. Spread across the two-disc set is all the familiar fare, plus three newly recorded studio tracks that prove the group's songwriting mojo remains fully intact. As has been the case for 20 years, the tandem force of guitarists Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen propel the action forward. Prior to embarking on the current Def Leppard tour, Campbell and Collen shared their thoughts about their influences, their different styles and the future of Def Leppard.
Why has it taken so long for Def Leppard to release an official live album? CAMPBELL: The focus has always been on creating new music, during my tenure with the band. That's always been the goal. The other thing is, it's always taken a minimum of one year, in the past, to write and record a new studio album. After that, there's a promotion cycle and then a touring cycle. For those reasons a live album was never considered. But several years ago, we decided to start archiving live material, with the idea of perhaps releasing a live album. We amassed all this material, and our sound engineer, Ronan McHugh – who's also our studio engineer – made note of which songs were especially good. In the end, he and Joe went through that wealth of material and cherry-picked the best performances. Read the full interview here