Deep Cuts: Vivian Campbell

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:36 AM (PST)


Is there a name in metal and hard rock more fun to say in a fake British accent or L.A. A&R rep voice than “Mr. Vivian Campbell”? Seriously, it just sounds like the dude is supposed to be a rock hero from the 80′s…which he is. For the 5th and long overdue “Deep Cuts” we are gonna focus on Def Leppard, Dio and Whitesnake veteran guitarist Vivian Campbell. In November the Vivster announced he is in remission from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and so here’s some positive vibes sent his way.

If you don’t like Def Leppard (“Die Hard The Hunter” rules, even if it was pre-Viv) you are a whiny little death metal brat with smelly socks, probably. But you must admit Vivian’s tenure with Dio is legend.

So, we haven’t done a “Deep Cuts” installment over here at MR for awhile (and I do get asked about them). The last one on King Diamond was about a year ago! What have I been doing? Well, I think I was busy getting laid or actually listening to newer music and being a workaholic. Now that I am single and alone again (not a Dokken reference), I have more useless free time to write about things like Vivian Campbell’s career (sure to get my wick wet in no time).

Anyway, here are three deep cuts of rad Vivian-ness for ya! Click HERE!

1. Dio- “Eat Your Heart Out”

This is Vivian at his best. It also is one of RJD’s best vocal performances (like there are many bad ones!). The track is just alive and full of great shifts, technical playing and bluesy hard rock/metal riffage. Campbell makes that opening riff really charge, while the whole band really locks in on the verses. This is also a great song because Campbell really gets to noodle around texturally in cool little ways, but without it hurting the song. And the solo! One of his bests, a descending monster that then takes off into “You’ve been a bad, bad girl!”

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2. Shadow King – “One Dream”

As Highlander franchise songs go, it’s not Queen’s “Princes of the Universe”.  That is probably my favorite Queen song, believe it or not. It is just the most epic thing ever. BUT, it is impossible to compete with Queen. That said, the often forgotten Shadow King’s best song is this credits closing track “One Dream” from the mostly panned Highlander 2: The Quickening film.I have fond memories of watching this movie too many times as a child before I knew better. Isn’t it funny how Sean Connery, the dude with the most Scottish accent, plays Ramirez (who is a Spaniard of Egyptian decent) while friggin Christopher Lambert (don’t get me wrong, that’s my dude Lord Raiden! ) portrayed the film series’ main Highlander with his non-assuming weird guy voice? But I digress.

Shadow King (named after the X-Men villain, I wonder?) signed to Atlantic because they had Campbell and ex-Foreigner singer Lou Gramm. I like the very cool intro to this song and Viv is great as usual. ‘Nuff said.

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3. Def Leppard- “Work It Out”

Slang is an underrated Def Lep record where they brought in more world music elements and bonded as a band after some dark times. This is a Campbell penned track that they made a video for and I like how the group, despite kind of mucking about doing “we’re cool guys in a band in a video” stuff, seem to actually be really enjoying themselves. Not a bad tune, either. I saw Def Leppard about 6-7 years ago and they kicked ass live still, though I do wish they had never re-recorded Hysteria recently.

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Be sure to check out other installments of “Deep Cuts” like King Diamond, Korn, Sepultura and Soundgarden!

Live Vivian Campbell photo by Megan Thomas


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