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Is this record intended to serve as a bookend to a certain era, so you can begin another chapter for the band?
Collen: Not necessarily. I know we’re going to tour next year, so I don’t think we’re going to take time off to do a record. It takes a year to do that. We may do a few songs. I like the idea of doing three songs, because it goes back to the days of the Beatles, the Stones, Zeppelin, and Bowie. They would record one or two songs at a time. You can put more energy and effort into it.
So you feel like you can get better results and focus all your energy on three songs rather than, say, 12?
Collen: Absolutely. [With more], you end up watering some songs down and the main songs don’t get as much attention. That’s why those old songs sounded great—they got a lot of time. They just thought about that and didn’t have to spread themselves out and go crazy thinking about 12 songs.
How did you collaborate on the new songs, and how did you decide which ones would make it on Mirror Ball?
Collen: On these three songs, we didn’t collaborate at all [during the writing phase]. But everybody played and sang on each other’s songs. It was really easy and a great way of doing it. We had fully produced demos and they got the Def Leppard treatment.
Campbell: I wrote a song for the record, but the fourth song didn’t make it. Mine was the fourth song. It was decided that three was enough. Mine was the last to arrive and I was late to the party. “Kings of the World” was a Rick Savage song, which was something he had been working on for a long time. It just happened to have come to fruition when we needed it. That’s the thing about Def Leppard— we’ve never been precious about our individual songs. We have a tendency to be very critical of each other’s work, but not all the time. Sometimes somebody writes a song and we say, “Okay, that’s great. Let’s record it.” There’ve been other times when you bring a song to Def Leppard and you think it’s, like, a masterpiece—but then it totally gets torn apart and something like five percent of it remains! [Both laugh.] We have a healthy respect for each of our abilities, and we don’t take it personally. [Turns to Collen] You wrote the new studio track “It’s All About Believin’.” Did you have that song around for a while?
Collen: Only [since] last year. Me and my buddy C.J. Vanston, who I write with all the time, have written tons of songs together. We came up with this song, and it sounded so obviously like a Def Leppard song, so we played it to the guys and they loved it.
Campbell: When we were in New York last November doing the Celebrity Apprentice thing, Joe first played me his idea for the song “Undefeated,” which is the third song. That’s a great song, and we’re going to be playing it live this summer. It’s a very Def Leppard song, as well.
Collen’s Jackson PC1 features a mahogany body with a highly figured maple
top, a quartersawn hard rock maple neck, a DiMarzio Super 3 bridge humbucker,
and a Jackson Sustainer/Driver in the neck position.