During an interview with UG’s David Slavković, Def Leppard guitarist and a member of the original Dio band, Vivian Campbell, talked about his ongoing battle with cancer.
As reported, Vivian announced he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma in June 2013, and continues to tour with the band. You can check out the conversation below.
Several years ago, you revealed that you have Hodgkin’s lymphoma. How has this affected your life as a musician and what would you recommend to musicians facing these or any kind of similar issues with health?
“Well… I’ve never really thought about it too much. Yes, I think when you get a life-altering disease like that, I think whether you’re conscious about it or not, it definitely does reflect how you think about your life. I can say that ever since I’ve got my cancer diagnosis, I’ve never been so busy in my life. Working with Last in Line, with Def Leppard, and even with Riverdogs – we did another album in 2017 [‘California’].
“And when I’m not on tour with Def Leppard, I’m constantly on tour with Last in Line… I’m putting the effort in it because I really believe in the project and I really enjoy it.
“So I definitely think that it possibly accelerated things for me. Whereas I looked at my lifetime as being not this open-ended thing and realizing that time is, indeed, very precious and every day should be celebrated. But the most important thing for me was that I continued to work.
“Even at the worst of my cancer, when I was doing very hardcore chemotherapy, I still managed to go on tour with Def Leppard. And I had a hard time convincing Def Leppard, and in particular the Def Leppard management at the time, that that was the best thing for me to do. I think that they really wanted me to stay at home and just concentrate on my treatments. Whereas for me, I would have considered that a death sentence.
“You are what you do in life. I’ve always been a guitar player, I’ve always been a musician, and nothing brings me more joy. So I figured that the best way to tackle cancer was to actually immerse myself in my work more than ever. And that’s what I’ve done.
“And so far, it seems to have worked on me. I still have cancer. I’ve been very fortunate, however, that for the last three and a half years I’ve been able to take this process called immunotherapy, one of the newer cancer drugs. I was part of the clinical trial and discovered that it’s really worked for me.
“It’s really kept the cancer at bay. I still have tumors but they haven’t grown in three and a half years. And I’ve been able to continue my work with minimal side-effects.
“So I’ve been very, very fortunate that way. But I’ve never really capitulated to the disease, or even thought that way. I’ve never, for one second, thought that I was gonna die from cancer. But it definitely did make me want to work even more, you know? And to appreciate work even more.”