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Def Leppard will be doing more than playing — and causing a little — “Hysteria” during its upcoming residency in Las Vegas.
The quintet has signed on for a special edition of Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp that will take place April 4-7 in Sin City, in the midst of the Leps’ nine-show stand at The Joint in the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel. The group will serve as mentors and instructors, guiding campers through their songs as well as general playing and performing techniques.
Def Leppard’s Phil Collen, who along with fellow guitarist Vivian Campbell has taken part in previous Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camps, tells Billboard he’s looking forward to putting the group’s stamp on the program.
“It was actually really cool, although I lost my voice the last time,” Collen recalls. “You’d go work with the different bands they have there, and it’d be like, ‘Can you sing this?’ It was ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ in one room, ‘Foolin’ ‘ in the next room. I came away from there kind of beat up, actually, but it was actually really fun. So I’m looking forward to that as well. I know what’s in store. I know the hard work the mentors do.”
Collen says it’s the camp’s diversity that he found most appealing. “It was like that Bruce Lee movie Game of Death. There were literally 10 different rooms, and each one you’d go into was very different. Ronnie Montrose would treat it in a different way than George Lynch. That was really the exciting part for me.”
Fantasy Camp founder David Fishof says it’s only the second time he’s produced an event dedicated to a single band (Lita Ford and others will also be part of the program, following Cheap Trick a few years ago).
“My philosophy is why not get the best musicians who came together and collaborated on the music as a band?” Fishof explains. “People were telling me, ‘Hey, you should get [Def Lep singer] Joe Elliott; he’d be great.’ And I said, ‘Y’know what? They’re going to be out here. Let’s get the whole band.’ To me it’s the ultimate experience of Def Leppard for musicians and singers.” Information on Def Leppard Fantasy Camp is available at rockcamp.com.
Collen says the band members are preparing individually for the Hard Rock stand, which will feature performances of 1987’s Hysteria in its entirety as well as a set of hits and “deep cuts” from throughout Def Leppard’s history.
“We’re all at home doing our homework,” Collen reports, with band rehearsals slated to start during the second week of March. “Some of the [Hysteria] songs we’ve actually never played; we did do ‘Excitable,’ but only a couple of times, and some of the songs Vivian’s never played, ever. There’s so many subtleties and weird things going off in all the arrangements, so we really have to pick them apart and figure out what we were doing all those years ago, and then re-create it.”
In addition to the shows, Def Leppard hopes to write some material for its next album, the follow-up to 2008’s Songs From the Sparkle Lounge, which made the Top 10 in the U.S. and U.K.
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