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Leppard man changes this spots, goes to the dogs and is confirmed as a legend.

Andy Rawll
12th September 2017

vivian campbell

It's shaping up to be a great finish to a fulfilling year for the Def Leppard guitarist. Having just celebrated his birthday (25th August), Vivian Campbell can look back on the past twelve months with some satisfaction.

For the first time, since its inception in 2012, he had the opportunity to tour extensively with Last In Line, in support of the weighty 'Heavy Crown' opus, with over fifty shows across the US and Europe. Fine performances at European festivals, including the memorable opening night at the Ramblin' Man Fair, saw the man relishing the chance to unleash his searing and articulate guitar style on the sunburnt and muddy masses.

vivian campbell

At the same time, the ravenous touring animal that is Def Leppard remains well fed with an impending South American tour over September and October and promises of a global 'Hysteria'-theme trek for 2018 have already been made by Joe Elliott at the recent launch event for the boxset.

For many, the best news was to hear that his playing had gone to the dogs, resulting in a long-awaited new album, 'California,, from the much-missed band that preceded his joining Def Leppard.

The Riverdogs were a short-lived but acclaimed melodic rock band that hinged on the twin talents of Campbell on eloquent guitar and the wonderful voice of Rob Lamothe. Yet, the band's potential was never truly realised, with Campbell leaving to collaborate with Lou Gramm and ultimately to leap at the chance to become a Def star.

Given the quality of the album, and a possible gap between the Last In Line tour, which finishes by year end, and the next Leppard tour cycle unlikely until well into 2018, here's hoping that Vivian and his three fellow Riverdogs (Mark Danzeisen, Nick Brophy and Rob Lamothe) can transform into road-dogs for a few months and play some live shows.

You can read Andy Rawll’s review of the album here:

vivian campbell

Riverdogs: 'California'

Viv and Rob's Excellent Adventure Resumes. It's the dogs.

It's a triumphant homecoming to California for one of the great coulda-shoulda bands of the early 90s. The comet like beauty of their 1990 debut album, blazed brightly for a short time, illuminated by the coruscating lead guitar of Leppard-bound Vivian Campbell and the arrestingly soulful voice of Rob Lamothe.

Planets have realigned and, following the relatively lacklustre and short 'World Gone Mad' release in 2011, the 'dogs are back with an album that simmers and shimmers as brightly as the debut. Alongside original bassist/songwriter Nick Brophy and drummer Marc Danzeisen, shooting stars Viv 'n Rob have created a work of rock power and blues passion.

Unleashed from his normally hysterical constraints and fired-up from his time with Last In Line, Campbell's joyously intense playing dominates, but never overpowers from the understated Kossoff-like 'Something Inside' to full-on Tremonti-style shredding on 'Heart Is A Mindless Bird'.

Yet, it's the hypnotically agile voice of Lamothe that elevates this album to bewonderment, particularly when the song arrangements provide the space to stretch his lugubrious larynx, with 'Ten Thousand Reasons' and 'Don't Know Anything' quite exquisite.

Don't be put off by the gang-vocal bluster of 'American Dream' that opens the album. It's fun, well done but ultimately emotionally bereft. It's with track two that 'the revolution starts tonight' and the unique Free-meets-GnR template of the band reveals itself on the remaining ten songs.

Simply outstanding.

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Finally, coming right up to date, MetalTalk were delighted to learn that Vivian is due to receive one of his homeland's top honours for his contribution to the musical industry. On 11th November, following a live performance at Belfast's Mandela Hall, Vivian will be presented with the prestigious 'Oh Yeah Legend' award.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Vivian stated:

"I've been very fortunate that my life's work has also been my passion. It's an honour to be recognised for that, and especially so when that recognition comes from my fellow countrymen."

Oh Yeah centre chief executive officer Charlotte Dryden said:

"Vivian Campbell is a global rock name and he's fully deserving of this award. Rock has played a massive role in the story of music in Northern Ireland and Vivian is one of the trail blazers."

Previous recipients of the Oh Yeah Legends Award include The Undertones, Therapy?, Divine Comedy and Ash.

vivian campbell

LAST IN LINE: 'Heavy Crown'



Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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