Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell surprised the rock world earlier this summer when he revealed he was being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The even more shocking news was that the axeman was determined not to let his chemo treatments stop him from joining the band on their summer tour.
While on the road, Campbell opened up about the way his treatments forced him to hop between continents in between Def Leppard gigs.
“The band has been very accommodating,” he says. “We’ve been able to [make it] work because there have been enough gaps in the schedule. Chemo treatment number six I did on the 18th of June, and then the next day I flew to France to join the band. And then I [flew] back to LA on the 7th of July for my seventh treatment, and I [left] for Canada the day after that.”
After each treatment is over, Campbell says he “won’t be feeling well for a day or two, but for the most part it’s been something I’ve been able to handle.”
However, the Def Leppard guitarist, who has also played with Dio and Whitesnake, adds that continuing to rock in the face of cancer wasn’t necessarily always his plan.
“Hell, I didn’t want to miss it. 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. By [then], I was pretty confident I was going to be able to do this.”
Interview continues after slideshow