Rick Allen confirms Adrian Smith and John Sykes up for Def Leppard guitar gig that Vivian Campbell landed

Photo by Joe Schaeffer Photography

Rick Allen confirms Adrian Smith and John Sykes up for Def Leppard guitar gig that Vivian Campbell landed

Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen was recently interviewed by Eamon O’Neill for UK’s eonmusic.

Allen was asked about current Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith being considered for the Def Leppard guitarist spot left vacant when Steve Clark died back on January 8, 1991. Vivian Campbell (Dio, Whitesnake, Last In Line) ended up landing the guitarist gig in Def Leppard in 1992.

The drummer replied: “Yeah, I actually really loved the idea. I mean, there was a kid called Huwey Lucas that was a contender; there was John Sykes; there were all these people kind of lined up. I loved the idea. It’s interesting, you put somebody in a slightly different situation and new things are revealed about them, and it was cool. It was a complement that he was so into it. But I think ultimately, I think Vivian was the absolutely perfect choice.”

Smith left Iron Maiden in 1990 before rejoining the group in 1999 along with singer Bruce Dickinson.

Wikipedia states the following about what Sykes was doing around the time that he was considered for Def Leppard (with slight edits): “Blue Murder‘s self-titled debut album was released in April 1989, and it reached number 69 on the Billboard 200 chart. The band then embarked on a tour across America and Japan. While their debut album would go on to sell an estimated 500,000 copies according to Sykes, Blue Murder‘s success fell short of expectations.

Sykes felt Geffen Records did not properly promote the group, stating: “I think they were trying to get me and David [Coverdale] back together. They wanted me to get back with the ‘winning formula’. But the wounds were too fresh. I stayed with the same label. In hindsight, I would have done better with a different label.” During the recording of their sophomore effort, Franklin and Appice left Blue Murder, while Sykes put together a new line-up. At the same time, Sykes was being considered for the guitarist spot in Def Leppard. While no formal auditions took place, Sykes did jam with the group and sang backing vocals on their 1992 album Adrenalize. Ultimately the band would hire Vivian Campbell, formerly of Dio (and Sykes‘ initial successor in Whitesnake). Blue Murder, meanwhile, released their second album Nothin’ But Trouble in 1993. It failed to chart, something Sykes once again attributed to Geffen Records, whom he felt “didn’t do anything” to promote the record. In 1994, Blue Murder released a live album, Screaming Blue Murder: Dedicated to Phil Lynott, after which the band were dropped from their label and broke up.”

You can read the rest of the interview with Rick Allen at eonmusic‘s website.