Vivian Campbell’s musical journey has been both long and varied. Growing up in Belfast Northern Ireland, at 16 years of age Vivian formed his first band, Sweet Savage, widely considered one of the most influential bands of the ‘New Wave of British Heavy Metal’ movement, writing original music that would go on to influence bands like Metallica, who many years later would record a cover of a Sweet Savage song.
At age 20 Vivian found himself in Los Angeles writing and recording with Ronnie James Dio as part of Ronnie’s new band, DIO. Vivian wrote and recorded with the band during their most vital creative period on the “Holy Diver”, “Last in Line” and “Sacred Heart” albums from 1982-1985. It was during the DIO years that Vivian was first thrust upon the world stage as an up-and-coming firebrand guitarist.
In early 1987 Vivian joined an all-star line-up of the band Whitesnake for a world tour in support of an album that hit number 1 in multiple countries around the world. The tour was to last almost two years and saw the band perform to hundreds of thousands all around the globe.
Between 1989 and 1990 Vivian wrote and recorded with up-and-coming Los Angeles band, Riverdogs, who’s eponymous debut album has gone on to become a cult classic.
In 1991 he teamed up with ex-Foreigner singer, Lou Gramm, to release a record under the band name of Shadow King. The project turned out to be very short-lived, however, with the band performing only one show in support of the record before going their separate ways.
It was in early 1992 that Vivian finally found a permanent musical home when British rock legends, Def Leppard, called upon him to replace original guitarist, Steve Clark, who had passed away the previous year. Vivian has been a part of Def Leppard and the band’s continued success ever since and 2017 sees Vivian celebrate his 25th anniversary with the band.
Aside from his duties with Def Leppard, Vivian continues to write and perform with various side-projects and in recent years has revisited his past, releasing a new record and touring the world with a project called Last in Line, which consists of the remaining DIO band members.
2017 also sees Vivian releasing a new album with Riverdogs, too.