DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell will only miss the first two shows of the band's current tour while he continues to battle cancer. TRIXTER guitarist Steve Brown, who's been on hand to fill in for Campbell in the past, will once again sit in for him. LEPPARD, along with special guests STYX, and TESLA, open their summer tour on June 23 at Tampa, Florida's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.
In a new post on his Facebook page, Campbell writes: "So, so happy to report that I've dodged the bullet of radiation. I was due to start a course that would have sidelined me for most of the first leg of the U.S. tour, but my brilliant doctors have steered me towards an alternative course of treatment that will enable me to rejoin the tour this Saturday night in Birmingham, Alabama. Furthermore, they've tailored future treatments to accommodate the tour schedule so I won't have to miss any more shows."
He continued: "I'm so happy and so indebted to the wonderful physicians who have worked so hard on my behalf to make this happen."
Earlier this year, Vivian told the 106.5 WSFL radio station: "I got a cancer diagnosis a couple of years ago. And I gave it three runs of chemo, and that didn't quite do the job; it kept coming back. So I did a stem-cell transplant after last summer's tour. So in October I went to the hospital for a few weeks. All indications are that it's been successful. I mean, the scans are good, the bloodwork's good, my strength is coming back, my fitness is coming back. So it's kind of really corrected my life course in a lot of ways that are very positive. So I wouldn't change a thing. I mean, I've learned a lot from going through this — a lot of very, very valuable lessons. I'm kind of grateful for it in a way."
In an interview with the "Eddie Trunk Podcast", Vivian spoke about what it was like to find out last year that his cancer had returned after first announcing in November 2013 that he was in remission.
"For anyone who knew anything about cancer, they'd probably say, 'Well, that's not unusual,'" he said. "But I didn't. I got my diagnosis in the spring of 2013 when we were doing the Las Vegas residency with DEF LEPPARD. And as soon as we were done with that, I started six months of chemo. And I just kind of naturally assumed you do the chemo, you do a scan at the end of the chemo and it shows that you're good, and that's it. But apparently not. It was, like, ninety-something percent gone, and it was what they couldn't see on the scan that came creeping back. And it came back so fast. That's why the doctors advised me to do the stem-cell transplant — to try and kill it at the microbiological level. So it's pretty much rocket-science stuff; I mean, it's amazing technology. I personally feel pretty good about this right now. I feel that it's gone. But, like I said, you never really know, and you've gotta keep your eye on it. If it's gonna come back, it's gonna come back in the next couple of years. But hopefully not, you know?!"
Asked if he has had an opportunity to speak with some of his fellow musicians, like BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi, and other people who have gone through similar ordeals, Vivian said: "Funny enough, actually, I think that Tony Iommi and I have the same cancer — Hodgkin's lymphoma — as far as I know. But obviously I don't know what stage his was at. Now I don't know Tony personally, so I haven't talked to him about it. But I've talked to a lot of people. It's amazing. Even just through my Facebook page. I mean, you put this kind of stuff out there, and I personally was amazed by how rampant it is, how many people have been affected by it to some degree, or people that are close to them in their family. I've had a lot of advice, but to be honest, I'm just pig-headed and Irish, and I just do my own thing. The main thing for me was to continue working, and in fact, to continue my life unabated, and to not let it compromise me as much as possible. And I think that's been a big part of my mental recovery on this."
Campbell — who before joining DEF LEPPARD in 1992 was well known for his work with DIO and WHITESNAKE — went public with his Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis in 2013.