Fans might wonder how would things pan out if Adrian Smith ended up joining Def Leppard back in the early 90s. After Def Leppard’s Steve Clark passed away in 1991, they were in search of a new guitarist.
One of them auditioning was Adrian who left Iron Maiden in 1989 due to his dissatisfaction with the band’s new creative direction.
In a recent chat with Eonmusic, Def Leppard axeman Phil Collen reflected on this audition process and why former Dio guitarist Vivian Campbell ended up getting the gig. He said:
“We invited five people we knew, five friends, and Vivian just fitted in straight away. It was like it was meant to be. Adrian’s great, [and] he’s a great singer, and that was one of the other things [we were looking for]; if you can sing.
“There was some other people. We played with John Sykes, also an amazing player, amazing singer, but Vivian’s voice was just unbelievable. But more than that, he just fit in the style of what we do.”
Going more into the matter, Collen pondered what Def Leppard would be like if Adrian had joined:
“With Adrian, he played in context with what we were doing when we were rehearsing. I mean, we were doing Def Leppard songs, we weren’t doing Iron Maiden songs, we weren’t doing Dio songs. So, whoever comes into our house has to play by the same rules.”
Looking back on the whole thing, Collen also opened up on how difficult it was for the band to deal with Steve Clarke’s passing. Replacing him had its emotional side and Phil explained:
“Like I said, there was only five people; we didn’t do casting calls or anything like that. It was still a bit painful after losing Steve, to be totally honest, so we wanted someone who emotionally, we could work with as a family member, and Viv did, straight off the bat.”