The guys in Def Leppard know they probably aren't going to sell a million copies of their new album, but as guitarist Vivian Campbell sees it, that only freed them up to make the record they truly wanted to make.

"Frankly, candidly, we could go year after year playing our hits," Campbell pointed out in an interview with The Province. "A record for us is kind of a loss leader. A new record is something we do for us."

This time around, they started by setting up and playing live in the studio — which, as Campbell conceded, isn't exactly out of the ordinary for most bands, "but we haven't done it since 1996." That was just the start of a tinkering process that drew out a few new wrinkles in the Def Leppard sound.

"There’s a lot of talk before we make an album," mused Campbell. "With this album there wasn’t as much talking but there is an awful lot of experimentalism that goes on with a Leppard record. Once we find our direction, we’re very quick. Everybody brings something to the table."

That's truer than ever with this LP, which features lead vocals from every member of the band. "We’ve never done that before," pointed out Campbell, who quickly insisted the results were worth the risk. "It’s diverse, but it all sounds like Def Leppard. It’s the best album we’ve made in 23 years."

That experimental streak ends, however, when the group returns to the road for its next round of tour dates. "We’re beholden to the hits, and we’ve got a lot of them," he pointed out. "We’re always going to play 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' ... we’re always going to play 'Photograph.'" But in Campbell's eyes, that still covers plenty of ground: "We’ve been able to progress and still we’ve been true to our hard rock roots. We’re one part AC/DC and one part Queen."

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