Vivian Campbell Talks Touring With Cancer: 'I Don't Feel Like Laying Home in Bed'

Axeman determined to fight off the disease, names drummer Rick Allen as ever-present inspiration.

Ultimate Guitar

Ever since he revealed his Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis couple of months ago, guitarist Vivian Campbell kept his spirits up, showing great determination to fight off the disease.

In a recent Huffington Post interview, the axeman opened up about his current state, underlining that missing out gigs was basically not an option.

"Hell, I didn't want to miss it," he confidently said. "I don't feel like laying at home in bed! But I didn't know at first. You never know how chemo is going to affect you - it affects people in different ways, depending on your cancer, what stage it's at, and what kind of treatment they give you. I told the guys in the band that I'd go as far as four chemo treatments and then I'd make a decision."

The guitarist then revealed his Def Leppard bandmate Rick Allen as an inspiration for going through hardship, naming one-handed drummer's story as a constant reminder of overcoming life difficulties.

"This band has always been a band of survivors," he pointed out. "We have the one-armed drummer! You go on stage with Rick Allen every night, and you're reminded of [how to] overcome adversity. I've been with the band for 21 years I replaced the original guitar player, Steve Clark, after he died. Some people say Def Leppard are an unlucky band, but one thing you can say about Def Leppard is we're a resilient bunch."

Finally, Campbell discussed hair loss, keeping once again an optimistic stance. In guitarist's own words, "a haircut was long overdue anyway."

"My hair!" he jokingly said. "I've had long hair since 11 years of age, that was when I started growing it. [Maintaining it] was many hours out of my day. I've never felt good about cutting my hair, but this has kind of forced me to do it. Right now I've got a military-style buzz cut, and with each chemo treatment it's falling out more and more. But I'm 50 years of age a haircut was long overdue anyway."

Apart from Def Leppard concert dates, Vivian is also busy with late Ronnie James Dio's original band, now known as Last in Line, and their tour schedule. He has no major health complaints at the moment and is clearly looking to fight the disease off with all he's got.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Good on him, dealing with things in the right way, doesn't even matter if you think he can play well or not, he's a legend - up there with Iommi. \m/ Rock on dude
    I've always found most of Def Leppard's stuff to be kinda boring (with a few exceptions), but there is nothing more badass or metal than a one-handed drummer, even if he isn't playing anything that complicated. I will always have respect for Rick Allen.
    I recently learned that my childhood friend's middle-name is "Allen", making him "Rick Allen [Surname]". I gave him praise by extension. Rick Allen isn't just a god. He is the Thundergod!