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Def Leppard flying high in the USA

Like the last few decades never happened, Def Leppard are riding high, with a fine new album and a US arena tour. So where did it all go right for the Sheffield rockers?

Sure, man, Def Leppard: British royalty; bloodied but unbowed rock’n’roll survivors; the heroes of the hour – any hour. But hanging out backstage ina cavernous arena in St Paul, Minnesota with the band’s affable Irish guitarist of 23 years, former Dio axe-slinger Vivian Campbell, I finally dig up some dirt on the squeaky-clean firestarters: turns out Def Lep broke up Thin Lizzy. True story.

“I remember being in a club in 1983 when Pyromania had just come out,” says Campbell, “and Phil Lynott was in the club. He was really down. I asked him what was wrong and he said: ‘Have you heard that new Def Leppard record, Pyromania?’ I said: ‘Yeah, it’s great.’ And he says: ‘I’m thinking of breaking up Thin Lizzy.’ And I was a huge Thin Lizzy fan. And I said: ‘No! Why would you do that?’ He said: ‘That album is a game-changer. It makes us sound old-fashioned.’” 

And then he broke up Thin Lizzy. 

“Yeah,” Campbell says, laughing. “And then he fuckin’ broke up Thin Lizzy.” 


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