BLACK STAR RIDERS’ DAMON JOHNSON DISCUSSES GOING ON TOUR WITH JUDAS PRIEST AND SAXON, ALSO WHY THE BAND IS HAVING A TOUGH TIME BREAKING IN AMERICA

Ruben Mosqueda of Metal Titans spoke with Black Star Riders guitarist Damon Johnson. Excerpts from the interview appear below.

“This [tour] is going to change things for us, there’s no other band you can name that embraces hard work like we do,” says an enthusiastic Damon Johnson…about opening for Judas Priest across North America this spring.

“This tour will absolutely bring Black Star Riders to the forefront and will get promoter’s attention and we will get some festival appearances.” Black Star Riders issued their 3rd effort Heavy Fire in February of 2017 [Nuclear Blast Records] and are bursting at the seams to play in America.

Johnson goes on to say, “I’m proud of this band, I’m proud that we have great people in this band and that we have mutual admiration and respect for one another. To break the band in the [United] States would simply be the icing on the cake…I can tell you that for this tour we’re doing stuff that’s heavier. You have to for the Judas Priest crowd.”

Metal Titans: Black Star Riders have released three albums; you’ve done great business around the world. Breaking Black Star Riders in North America has been challenging. This spring tour with [Judas] Priest and Saxon should help tremendously.

Damon Johnson: Ruben, let me start by saying that we are jubilant and elated to be a part of this tour with Judas Priest and Saxon. This whole thing happened because the Priest guys are friends and they have been so supportive of Black Star Riders, as far back as when we were still Thin Lizzy. I guess it’s great to have friends in high places, right? [laughs]

I won’t kid you, but to your point; America has eluded us. There are many rock n’ roll avenues [rock radio] in America that have helped us, but the reality is Ruben, they don’t reach enough people. Active radio nowadays only plays the same 12 bands and to get your band played on there is going to cost you more money than you can print. It’s been a challenge, it’s been really hard. There are people that want to hear Black Star Riders in America but we just can’t afford to bring all the gear, fly Scotty [Gorham] in and then get into a van and pull a trailer and play to 40 people a night. There’s just no awareness, that’s just the way that it is. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, I’m just looking at things realistically. That’s the hard facts and the hard reality. I thought to myself, “Man, this just isn’t going to happen for us in America,” then we got the call from Judas Priest in September [2017] about this tour. I can’t even begin to tell you how stoked we are about this tour.

Metal Titans: In between Priest shows, Black Star Riders and Saxon are doing joint shows. That must be gratifying that there’s interest from promoters to book the band?

Damon Johnson: Absolutely and in deed you’re right Ruben. We’ve book 5-6 show Saxon and we’ve booked 5-6 shows on our own. We did one in Buffalo [New York] last week and we have one coming up in Montreal [Quebec, Canada] and we just announced Seattle [Washington] within the last 72 hours.

Metal Titans: Black Star Riders have become its own entity; there’s an evolution from All Hell Breaks Loose to Heavy Fire. I hear little less Thin Lizzy with each subsequent record.

Damon Johnson: I never felt that we ever needed to deny or rid ourselves of our Lizzy origins or heritage. We absolutely wanted to grow the Black Star Riders name and allow it to grow it’s own enthusiastic fanbase. The idea to write a song that sounds like Thin Lizzy, if I knew the formula for that I would tell you right now. You know what I mean? It’s not like Scott Gorham will walk in wearing a particular suit, plug in and next thing you Ricky is sounding like Phil [Lynott] and the song sounds like Thin Lizzy circa Johnny The Fox! [laughs]

Metal Titans: You’re on tour with Priest and Saxon at the moment; what are your favorite albums by each of your tourmates?

Damon Johnson: I’m definitely familiar with both bands but I must admits Priest more so, than Saxon. I had one of my best friends playing drums in one of my high school bands. He was really up to date on all of the British metal bands; he turned me onto Saxon. What was the record? Wheels Of Steel? Did that have Princess Of The Night on it?

Metal Titans: That would have been Denim And Leather.

Damon Johnson: I’ve always love that. We attempted to cover that in our band. [laughs]

The Priest catalog; I’m super familiar with. My favorite album from Priest from top to bottom is Point Of Entry. It’s not one that people pick, that record just spoke to me. Heading Out To The Highway just spoke to me. And Desert Plains? Ruben, that song is my top 20 songs of all-time. I love that song so much, I wish they were doing that on this tour but I know it’s hard for them to fit everyone’s favorites in.

Metal Titans: And you have three records with Black Star Riders. If you had to turn to one of the three records to recommend to a new fan, which would it be and why?

Damon Johnson: [long pause] I think it would be hard to deny that the new record; Heavy Fire would be a good place to start. The record has so much diversity and great dynamics; in my opinion that is the most “Lizzyesque” thing about the record, that it just covers so much ground. Heavy Fire, the title track is in your face and Who Rides The Tiger is one of my favorite songs that I have ever written. There’s some great melodic stuff on there that is “Motown” influenced, which is something that Ricky and I are huge fans of, like; Dancing With The Wrong Girl and Testify Or Say Goodbye.

I have to add a footnote; there a song on our second album The Killer Instinct [2015] it has a song on there titled Blindsided to date that is my favorite Black Star Riders song. I thank our producer Nick Raskulinecz for really pushing us to the limit. I think we delivered in spades on that one. I love that song so much and can’t say enough about Ricky’s lyrics and his ability to tell a story.

Read more at Metal Titans.

source: metaltitans.com

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DEF LEPPARD GUITARIST PHIL COLLEN SAYS ANGUS YOUNG SHOULD RESIST THE URGE TO RECORD A NEW AC/DC ALBUM WITH AXL ROSE

Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen says that Angus Young should resist the urge to make a new AC/DC album with Axl Rose, insisting that the legendary hard rock band “has lots its integrity” through its recent lineup changes, reports blabbermouth.net.

Singer Angry Anderson of the veteran Australian act Rose Tatto said in a recent interview with The Rockpit that Angus told him he is at work on new AC/DC music and intends to have Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose — who took Johnson’s place on the road in 2016 — sing on the LP.

Asked in a recent interview with Forrest of the Boise radio station 96.9 The Eagle if Angus should record a new AC/DC album with Axl, Phil said: “No. I’m a huge AC/DC fan, and if the whole band’s left or gone… Malcolm [is] dead, obviously. Brian Johnson got kicked out. Cliff Williams retired and Phil Rudd got arrested. You’ve got one person [left], so it’s not really AC/DC. Maybe call it ‘A, With Axl Rose.’ It kind of loses its appeal. It becomes karaoke; it becomes something else, and it’s lost its integrity, really.”

He continued: “I wouldn’t do that, personally, if I was Angus. I thought Axl Rose [did] a great job, by the way. I thought he [did] amazing when he stood in for Brian Johnson. I thought he was amazing, actually. Full power to him — he’s done really, really good stuff. But I think as a band, if he was gonna do an album, it may sound good, but it’s not really the band anymore.”

Singer Brian Johnson was forced to leave the band mid-tour due to a dangerous level of hearing loss, while Rudd was dismissed following a drug arrest and Williams decided to retire at the end of the cycle.

Malcolm Young was diagnosed with dementia several years ago and bowed out before the sessions for Rock Or Bust began. He died this past November.

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WHO IS KISS’ RIGHTFUL FRONTMAN? PAUL STANLEY ANSWERS

Margie Goldsmith of Business Jet Traveler spoke with KISS’ Paul Stanley. Portions of the interview appear below.

Business Jet Traveler: You were born with microtia, a congenital condition that caused deafness and a stump in your right ear. Did kids make fun of you?

Paul Stanley: Relentlessly. I was very defensive and insecure. I just wasn’t comfortable in my own skin.

Business Jet Traveler: Would you say that microtia helped to shape your personality?

Paul Stanley: It certainly was at my core, and although I feel I’ve resolved most if not all of the issues, they don’t leave you. You just come to terms with them.

Business Jet Traveler: You’ve called the makeup you’ve worn in Kiss a defense mechanism to cover up who you really were.

Paul Stanley: I think it was an extension and a magnification of either a part of our personalities or who we would like others to believe we were.

Business Jet Traveler: There have been a lot of strange dynamics between the band members. How’s your relationship with them now?

Paul Stanley: It’s terrific, but part of that’s based upon getting rid of people with whom you can’t find common ground. The key to a great partnership in business, bands, and life is knowing its limitations. If you don’t expect anything unrealistic, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re looking for your band to be your family, you’re better off going out and finding someone to marry.

Business Jet Traveler: Gene Simmons implies that he’s the frontman for KISS and, in your book, you say you are. Who is?

Paul Stanley: A frontman is the person who does the talking and who gives a group its identity and communicates to the audience. There’s only one person on the stage who does that. If that’s the definition of a frontman, then it’s undisputable [that I’m the frontman]. If you interpret frontman as something else…if it’s being in the media, well then, it’s different.

Business Jet Traveler: What has KISS tried to accomplish musically?

Paul Stanley: We’ve tried to stay true to ourselves. I believe in the law of commonality, which basically means that we are all very similar, and if I fulfill a need in myself, then I’ll be fulfilling a need in someone else.

Business Jet Traveler: What did it mean for you to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?

Paul Stanley: It was a victory lap. We have historically been despised by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and we have been eligible for 17 years. Being inducted was overdue.

Business Jet Traveler: At your concerts, you lead the audiences in saying the Pledge of Allegiance—very unusual for a rock concert.

Paul Stanley: We needed to reinforce that patriotism and loving your country is always cool. It doesn’t mean you always agree with the people in charge, but we should be proud of the basic tenets and what the Founding Fathers envisioned.

Business Jet Traveler: What are your politics?

Paul Stanley: They vary. I am reluctant to get too deep into politics, and I don’t expect politicians to get too deep into music.

Business Jet Traveler: You’ve said that Rock & Brews is supporting the Wounded Warriors Project and local school programs.

Paul Stanley: At every opening, the first people through the doors are vets to whom we serve lunch. It’s a way to give them a quick thanks and take advantage of media coverage to spotlight organizations that help to bring these people back into society and to try to do for them what the government doesn’t. Freedom is only free for the people who don’t pay the price, and the people who do and make it possible are owed so much on their return. It’s a crime how they get shortchanged. Rock & Brews champions the military and first responders and makes sure that we support local organizations.

Business Jet Traveler: Three years ago, you started Soul Station, a group that plays ’60s and ’70s soul classics. What made you create this band?

Paul Stanley: I’ve always been steeped in soul music, Motown, Philly soul. I just thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to be able to recreate those songs the way they are supposed to be played?” What makes these songs so great is the groove and the lyric. The idea of being able to faithfully and respectfully and reverently recreate them was something that I thought would be amazing. And to be on stage with these consummate players who have played with everyone from Smokey [Robinson] to Stevie Wonder to Whitney Houston—we all love this music.

Business Jet Traveler: What do you think about the state of rock music today?

Paul Stanley: Too much of it is faceless and interchangeable; between that and autotuning and mechanical beats, there’s a loss of what made all the music that came before so great. What we loved about Motown and Philly soul and the Beatles era was its imperfection and spontaneity. You’re missing that now.

Read more at Business Jet Traveler.

source: bjtonline.com

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GUITARIST RITCHIE BLACKMORE ON GLENN HUGHES JOINING RITCHE BLACKMORE’S RAINBOW, “WE ENDED IT AMICABLY BEFORE IT EVEN STARTED”

Gary Graff of Billboard spoke with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Highlights from the interview appear below.

Billboard: What led you back to rock, and Rainbow, again?

Ritchie Blackmore: It was kind of like I was 70, and I just felt like playing some rock n’ roll on a few dates. So I basically put together the right players to do a few shows, just playing the old rock stuff, Purple stuff and Rainbow. I was doing it, one, for the fans and, two, for the nostalgia, and the singer I found (Ronnie Romero) is very exciting. Candice found him on YouTube, so I auditioned him and he passed. He’s got a great voice, a cross between, like, Dio meets Freddie Mercury. So this would mean kind of exposing a new singer to the masses, and I’m sure he’ll become pretty famous because of his voice, so that was interesting.

Billboard: How has it felt returning to that band and that particular musical style?

Ritchie Blackmore: It is good fun. We wrote some good songs back then. It’s always nice to kind of blast out on the Stratocaster for a while. But I still prefer the music of Blackmore’s Night because it’s so far-reaching and the spectrum of musical stuff is so more vast than being in a rock band. But at the same time I knew there were a lot of fans that wanted to hear the old Rainbow songs, so I did six weeks on the road playing rock n’ roll and then did the more classically inclined acoustic music.

Billboard: Was there a time you’d written off the idea of playing in a rock band altogether?

Ritche Blackmore: No. I just wanted to pursue other avenues of music, especially Renaissance, which is still my main music that I listen to and play.

Billboard: Talk about this lineup. How do each of the players distinguish themselves and how is it different from other lineups of Rainbow?

Ritchie Blackmore: The bass player (Bob Nouveau) plays in a rhythmic sense and has good understanding of guitar chords and progressions. The keyboard player (Jens Johansson) is one of the best in the world. I was a bit apprehensive about using him because he was known for his flashy ability, but when I spoke to him he loved playing a more supportive role in the vein of Jon Lord’s style. The drummer (Dave Keith) I believe should always be able to play like a metronome, and he has an inbuilt sense of rhythm, so I knew that he could do the job.

Billboard: Glenn Hughes has said you invited him to be part of the new Rainbow but he declined. Is that true?

Ritchie Blackmore: Through a mutual friend, a conversation came up saying it would be good to have him in the band. I said, “Would he be up for being just the bass player and we would have another singer singing?” My mutual friend said “Of course. I’ve spoken to him and he’s up for it.” I said, “Fine — as long as he knows he isn’t the singer, that’s great.” Fast forward to day before rehearsals and we contacted Glenn to see when he was going to fly in, and he wasn’t aware that he wasn’t going to be the lead singer at all. So I understood his situation and I told him we would have to get someone else, and he was fine. We ended it amicably before it even started.

Billboard: Are there more future plans for Rainbow?

Ritchie Blackmore: I don’t have any at the moment except for the five dates we will be doing in Europe in April. I heard tickets are doing well, so I’m happy about that.

Billboard: You’re a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer now, with Deep Purple. How do you feel about it now that it’s happened? Any regrets about not attending the ceremony?

Ritchie Blackmore: I have no interest in that type of thing. I don’t believe in people being in the position where they can say who is in and who is out in the music business. Rock n’ roll is all about freedom, not having a panel of phantom arbiters discussing who is going to be in and who is going to be out. I think Steve Miller said it best when he was inducted. Check YouTube for that.

Read more at Billboard.

source: billboard.com

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SONS OF APOLLO ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF SPECIAL SIX-TRACK EP OF LATEST SINGLE, “ALIVE/TENGO VIDA”

Sons Of Apollo–former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force)—released a six-song EP today, Alive/Tengo Vida, which includes three versions of the latest single, Alive, from their number one debut album, Psychotic Symphony, as well as three versions of the song in Spanish, Tengo Vida. It’s available now on all digital outlets worldwide.

Here’s the complete track listing:

Alive – album version
Alive – radio edit
Alive – acoustic version
Tengo Vida (Alive Spanish version) – standard
Tengo Vida (Alive Spanish version) – radio edit
Tengo Vida (Alive Spanish version) – acoustic version

The Vicente Cordero-directed for Alive is now available in both versions.

The English version can be seen below.

The Spanish version can be seen below, as well.

“It was discussed we should do a Spanish language version of Alive before our first tour in South America and I was excited to make it work,” explains singer Jeff Scott Soto. “I brought in my close friend Alex to help with the translation as well as coach me on my enunciation. I am not fluent in Spanish so it was a difficult process, but it sounds pretty damn cool now that we made it work. I think my favorite part is hearing Bumblefoot singing in Spanish.”

Guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is excited about offering these new versions of Alive to their fans. “I love stripping down a song to its simplest form, showing the core of what the song is,” he says. “The acoustic version of Alive has that naked vulnerability, and shows what a great lyricist and melody-maker Jeff is.”

In touring news, Sons Of Apollo is set to launch the second leg of their first-ever highly anticipated world tour on April 19th in Montreal, Quebec at the Corona Theatre. The band has now added more shows in Mexico, Japan and Europe, including stops in the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic, and Toulouse, France for the Very Prog Festival on October 12th. For more information about tickets and on sale dates, fans should visit SonsOfApollo.com.

As Mike Portnoy declares, “Ever since this lineup assembled to make Psychotic Symphony, the thing I’ve been most excited about is anticipating how insane I know this band is going to be on stage. Well, the wait is almost over. Here are the first U.S. dates that will get to witness this ‘five-headed musical spectacle’ live on stage in February. We plan on being on tour all year long, all over the globe, with plenty of dates now being announced for summer festivals throughout Europe, but these are the very first shows that will get to witness this amazing lineup in person for the first time. We can’t wait.”

Released October 20th via InsideOutMusic/Sony, Psychotic Symphony is available as a 2CD Mediabook (featuring a second disc of instrumental mixes and extended booklet with an exclusive Studio Diary), Gatefold 2LP vinyl + CD (which comes with an etching on side D and the entire album on the CD), Standard Jewelcase CD & digital download. It was produced by the dynamic production duo of Portnoy and Sherinian, also affectionately known as “The Del Fuvio Brothers,” which is the nickname given to them over 20 years ago during their time together in Dream Theater.

Sons Of Apollo on the road:

4/5 Monterrey, Mexico Escena
4/6 Mexico City, Mexico Circo Volador
4/8 Santiago, Chile Teatro Teleton
4/10 Buenos Aires, Argentina Groove
4/12 Porto Alegre, Brazil Opinião Bar
4/14 São Paulo, Brazil Tropical Butanta
4/15 Belo Horizonte, Brazil Music Hall
4/19 Montreal, QUE. Corona Theatre
4/20 Toronto, ONT. The Opera House
4/21 Grand Rapids, MI The Intersection
4/22 St. Louis, MO Delmar Hall
4/24 Lawrence, KS Granada Theater
4/25 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
4/27 Las Vegas, NV Brooklyn Bowl
4/28 Sacramento, CA Ace Of Spades
4/29 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theatre
4/30 Seattle, WA The Showbox

5/2 San Francisco, CA The Regency Ballroom
5/3 Los Angeles, CA The Belasco Theatre
5/4 Anaheim, CA House Of Blues
5/5 Tempe, AZ Marquee Theatre
5/7 San Antonio, TX Alamo City Music Hall
5/8 Dallas, TX Canton Hall
5/9 Houston, TX Scout Bar
5/11 Nashville, TN 3rd & Lindsley
5/12 St. Charles, IL Arcada Theatre
5/13 Minneapolis, MN Varsity Theater
5/15 Cleveland, OH House Of Blues
5/16 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of Living Arts
5/18 New York, NY Playstation Theater
5/19 Worcester, MA The Palladium
5/20 Washington, D.C. The Howard Theatre
5/26 San Juan, PR Centro de Bellas Artes Luis A. Ferré

6/22 Clisson, France Hellfest
6/23 Dessel, Belgium Graspop
6/24 Milan, Italy Teatro Degli Arcimbodi
6/26 Prague, Czech Republic Futurum
6/27 Leipzig, Germany Hellraiser
6/30 Barcelona, Spain Be Prog My Friend

7/1 Maidstone, U.K. Ramblin’ Man Fair
7/2 Motherwell, Scotland Motherwell Concert Hall
7/3 Belfast, Ireland Limelight
7/4 Dublin, Ireland Tivoli Variety Theatre
7/6 Knislinge, Sweden Helgeafestivalen
7/7 Brighton, U.K. The Haunt
7/8 Nottingham, U.K. Rescue Rooms
7/14 Eindhoven, Netherlands Dynamo MetalFest

8/3 Wacken, Germany Wacken Open Air
8/18 Warsaw, Poland Prog In Park
8/19 Budapest, Hungary Barba Negra Track

9/10 Osaka, Japan Big Cat
9/11 Tokyo, Japan Liquid Room
9/12 Tokyo, Japan Liquid Room
9/15 Raismes, France Raismes Fest
9/19 Moscow, Russia Glavclub
9/22 Plovdiv, Bulgaria Roman Amphitheater* (* A Very Special Evening with Sons Of Apollo and the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony)
9/24 Athens, Greece Fuzz Club
9/26 Tel Aviv, Israel Barby Club
9/30 Glasgow, Scotland The Garage

10/8 Zurich, Switzerland Complex
10/12 Paris, France Elysee Montmartre
10/13 Toulouse, France Very Prog Festival
10/15 Lyon, France Radiant-Bellevue
10/16 Strasbourg, France La Laiterie

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DEF LEPPARD ANNOUNCE FIRST OF FOUR PLANNED CAREER-SPANNING BOX SETS

On June 1st, Bludgeon Riffola/Mercury/UMe fires the first salvo in Def Leppard’s projected four-volume career-spanning box set series, when the appropriately dubbed Volume One appears in multidisc LP and CD collections. The collection arrives in time for this summer’s highly anticipated Def Leppard co-headline tour with Journey.

This first volume of the band’s complete recorded output comes in both limited-edition 180-gram heavyweight vinyl and CD box sets, each featuring Def Leppard’s first four studio albums — along with some choice bonus live and studio material — all spread across 8LPs and 7CDs, respectively.

The Volume One collection includes bonus material, including Live At The LA Forum 1983, originally released as a bonus disc in the deluxe CD version of Pyromania, making this the first-ever vinyl offering of the complete show. This 2LP version comes with a new sleeve and inner bags.

Rarities Volume 1 has been specially compiled by Joe Elliott, containing rare B-sides and recordings from Def Leppard’s early years, all in a newly commissioned sleeve. Finally, rounding out this collection is the 7-inch vinyl single and 3-inch CD of Def Leppard’s original, self-titled EP.

The fiery Volume One collection contains all of Def Leppard’s iconic 1980s recordings with reproductions of the original packaging in both formats, plus the added bonus of a replica 7-inch single and 3-inch CD of the band’s original independent EP, the self-titled The Def Leppard E.P..

Each album in the box set was mastered by longtime band producer/soundmaster Ronan McHugh and cut by Greg Moore.

Housed in rigid boxes, the Volume One collection also contains a hardback book with rare photos by longstanding band confidant Ross Halfin and liner notes by Classic Rock’s Paul Elliott. Def Leppard bandmembers Joe Elliott, bassist Rick Savage, drummer Rick Allen, and guitarist Phil Collen have all also contributed their personal introductions to the collection.

Volume One is an extraordinary early chronicle of a band whose global impact only continues to grow. Def Leppard have a cumulative sales tally of over 100 million albums worldwide, not to mention putting on consistently sold-out world tours. The band recently authorized their entire recorded catalog for access on streaming and download platforms, a move that resulted in a nearly 400 percent surge in catalog sales on the first day alone, as well as appearances in the iTunes Top 10 charts in over 30 countries worldwide.

Volume One begins with Def Leppard’s 1980 debut album On Through The Night, which immediately put the rock world on notice that the band were destined for big things, having charted at No. 15 in the U.K. and No. 51 in the U.S. Produced by Tom Allom (Judas Priest, Black Sabbath), On Through The Night features many of the band’s live favorites (Rock Brigade, Hello America), along with updated versions of early singles (Rocks Off). The album achieved platinum status in 1989, and the version included here is the rare Australian gatefold-sleeve version.

Released in 1981, High ‘N’ Dry was Def Leppard’s second platinum album and the first to be produced by Robert “Mutt” Lange (AC/DC, Foreigner). It reached No. 26 in the U.K. and No. 38 in the U.S., having garnered much impactful FM airplay with the propulsive Let It Go and one of the band’s most popular signature tunes to this day, Bringin’ On The Heartbreak.

Pyromania, released in 1983, saw the band become indisputable rock legends. It was the first record to feature guitars by Phil Collen, who had replaced Pete Willis. The album contains massive MTV hits Photograph and Rock Of Ages, as well as fist-pumper Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop). Pyromania reached No. 2 in the U.S. and went diamond, with over 10 million album sales.

Def Leppard released Hysteria in 1987, the band’s best-selling record to date having sold over 25 million copies worldwide. It went to No. 1 in the U.K., U.S., and Australia, and is also the band’s second album to achieve diamond status in the U.S.. Notes Collen, “Not many people even get platinum albums anymore. Going diamond is going 10 times platinum in America, which is a huge deal — and we’ve got two of those. We’re really pleased that we got them. It’s pretty cool that we’ve achieved that.”

Produced by Mutt Lange, Hysteria took over three years to make, ultimately featuring seven charting singles (including No. 1 smash Love Bites and Pour Some Sugar On Me), and has been rightly nicknamed as “heavy metal’s Thriller.” Clocking in at just over 62 minutes, Hysteria was then one of the longest albums ever issued on a single vinyl record — but for this special box set release, it has been made into a double LP for maximum sound-quality purposes.

Def Leppard’s collective vocal prowess is but one of the many things that helped cement their unparalleled standing in rock history, as Joe Elliott explains, “The way we did our harmonies was based on the multitracking abilities of a band like Queen, but we took what they did to the next level. Queen maybe tripled or quadrupled their backing vocals — but we did it like 20 times. We wanted it to sound like the quality of Queen but have the size of Slade. The way we did it gave us a unique sound. And that’s the whole point of an album, really — capturing a band’s unique dynamics.” Adds Phil Collen, “The American bands had beautiful vocals, with all those wonderful harmonies. But we added a bit of a punk ethos in there with ours, where it became a bit more charming and anthemic with screaming and shouting. And that was a very British thing, I think, that made us different from a lot of the American bands.”

For the full track listing, please go here.

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