Vivan Campbell has revealed how Grunge icons Soundgarden heavily influenced Def Leppard as they were recording their 1996 album ‘Slang’. The guitarist made the unlikely revelation as a number of co-headlining festival dates across the U.S.A. featuring both acts have been announced.
Speaking exclusively to eonmusic, the former Whitesnake player, who was in Belfast performing with his band Last In Line, said that the making of ‘Slang’ had marked a particularly difficult period for the hard rock five-piece. Said Campbell: “We went into the recording and writing process for that record knowing only one thing; we could not make a classic sounding Def Leppard record. Other than that, we were clueless, so we were kind of making it up as we went along.”
Going on to single-out Soundgarden’s 1994 album ‘Superunknown’ as a key reference when the band were recording, Campbell said; “We were taking on board a lot of what was going on in the current music genre. One album that we listened to more than any other when we were making that record, which I think is the best record of the grunge era was ‘Superunknown’ by Soundgarden.
Praising the Seattle icons, the original Dio band member continued; “I love the songs, I love the sound of that record, so that was a very influential record for us when we were making ‘Slang’.”
Despite thinking that some of the tracks on the album didn’t quite come off as intended, Vivian remains proud of the release; “It’s an interesting record, and sonically, that’s one of the best sounding Def Leppard records ever, because of the nature of it”, said Campbell.
He continued; “There’s more of a vibe to it; it’s more of an organic record, and I love the way it sounds. You know, I think it’s kind of hit or miss with some of the songs, but I realise why we, as a band were doing that; it was 1995 when we were recording that, it was the middle of the grunge era.”
Released in May 1996, ‘Slang’ is widely viewed as Def Leppard’s attempt to ‘go grunge’. Featuring singles ‘Slang’, ‘All I Want Is Everything’, and the Campbell-penned ‘Work It Out’, the disc saw the Sheffield band abandon their trademark polished production and layered harmony singing style in favour of a more stripped back approach.
Campbell’s comments come as both Def Leppard and Soundgarden have been announced as headliners at next years’ Fort Rock festival in Florida, as well as North Carolina’s Carolina Rebellion, which take place in May and April 2017 respectively.
Click HERE for part one of eonmusic's exclusive interview with Vivian Campbell.