TRIXTER‘s Steve Brown recently spoke to the 94.9 Jack FM radio station about the experience of filling in for both DEF LEPPARD guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbellwhen they were faced with two completely different medical emergencies four years apart.
Brown said: “I’ve been friends with those guys [for a long time]. They’re like my family. Phil is like my brother. Thirty years. I met them when I was a kid. It helps when you are the backup guy for one of your favorite bands in the world.
“Joe [Elliott, DEF LEPPARD singer] always says to people, ‘Steve knows all the bits that we don’t know. He knows all the Mutt Lange…’ ‘Cause when I went in for the first time in 2014, when I did the show, I was saying to Joe, ‘Oh, you guys don’t do this harmony in ‘Hysteria’. Can I do that?’ He goes, ‘Sure, man. Knock yourself out.’ And it’s true, because there are certain things [they don’t do anymore], [just because of] the way they’ve been just playing these songs for so long… But this past run that I did with them, of course, filling in for Phil and it was a serious, serious issue that I had to help those guys out with. Like I always say, they’re like family to me, so what we all do for our family that we love. Whenever they call, they know I’m always there for them. And they’ve always been there for me when I need them, in respect. So it was great. But what an experience.”
According to Brown, “the coolest thing” that happened on his most recent run of shows with DEF LEPPARD was when Neal Schon of tour co-headliners JOURNEY came up to him “after the first or the second” night and “said something like, ‘I’ve gotta tell you. I don’t know anybody in the world that’s ever filled in for both guitar players in a major band.’ And I said, ‘Wow, man! That’s awesome.’ I said, ‘I’ve gotta use that as my quote. I’ve gotta get that on tape.’ But it was very cool of him [to say that].”
Collen missed a few shows on DEF LEPPARD‘s tour with JOURNEY in May while he and his wife of eight years, Helen, awaited the birth of their son.
Brown previously subbed for Campbell at several shows in 2014 and 2015 while the DEF LEPPARD guitarist received treatment in his fight against Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Brown‘s first appearance with DEF LEPPARD took place in September 2014 during the pregame show for the first of three NFL International Series outings.
Steve told Sleaze Roxx in a 2017 interview that preparing for the DEF LEPPARD gig wasn’t as simple as some people might think. “The DEF LEPPARD catalog is not the easiest thing to learn,” he explained. “There’s some very intricate guitar parts, very unique guitar parts. [Late DEF LEPPARD guitarist] Steve Clark wrote things in shapes and boxes that I haven’t played before. So it was challenging, for sure. I have said this to friends of mine that are guitarists, ‘Man, the LEPPARD gig isn’t as easy as you think it is.’ It was a challenge to dig in and learn the Mutt Lange/DEF LEPPARD collection. They are not your typical cookie-cutter rock and roll band. They have a unique way of writing songs.”