Guitarist Vivian Campbell Splits Time Between Thin Lizzy and Def Leppard
“It’s certainly nice to re-connect and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing,” Thin Lizzy guitarist Vivian Campbell excitedly tells Noisecreep about playing with the classic rock outfit. “When you do anything for a long time, you have a tendency to become a little complacent, jaded perhaps. When something is your hobby, your passion… you do it for entirely different reasons.”
Campbell has also been playing guitar with Def Leppard since 1992. Both Campbell and Leppard singer Joe Elliott cite Thin Lizzy as a major musical influence, as well as a precursor to some of Def Leppard’s massive success.
“We grew up listening to the same music, and the BBC was our conduit,” Campbell says of his and Elliott’s shared interests. “Thin Lizzy were a major band in the UK back then in the mid ’70s — they were one of the rare breeds… the only band I can think of that were actually a bonafide hard rock band, but also a bonafide top 20 band because they had so many singles. It was a fusion of rock with commercial success, which went on to be a template for Def Leppard.”
While Campbell is a touring member of Thin Lizzy, his loyalties lie with his day job in Def Leppard. The Lep will hit the road for a summer tour with Heart providing support. All that touring means less time for Thin Lizzy, but Campbell already has that worked out.
“The situation as it stands with Lizzy is that they’ve very generously said that I could come and go as my schedule dictates — that they’ll find someone else to play with over the summer while I’m touring with Def Leppard, and then I’m free to come back.”
Campbell doesn’t rule out the possibility of new Thin Lizzy music and he says he’d like to be part of the songwriting if and when it happens.
“I know my heart is in the right place and I feel the same is true of [singer] Ricky Warwick. Ricky embodies a lot of the same soul and spirit that Phil Lynott had. He has a lot of the same characteristics to his personality and he’s very authentic at what he’s doing. He’s not trying to be Phil Lynott, he’s trying to be Ricky Warwick fronting Thin Lizzy. I think we’ve won over a lot of skeptics who said Thin Lizzy shouldn’t even be playing with the name Thin Lizzy… and taking it one stage further. I do think that at some point in the near future the band might want to experiment, to write new songs and see what happens.”
Watch the video for ‘Whiskey in the Jar (live 2011)