DEF LEPPARD’S JOE ELLIOTT DISCUSSES BEING A FAN OF MUSIC, THE BAND’S UPCOMING TOUR WITH KISS AND THE ROCK N’ROLL HALL OF FAME

joeelliot400 Steve Baltin of The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott. Excerpts from the interview appear below.

HR:How much fun it is for you to get to live in both worlds, that of KISS on tour and the Mott covers project [The Down N’ Outz], clearly a labor of love?

JE: I love that. The last time the Down N’ Outz played, it was as the opening act for Paul Rodgers on an arena tour of Britain. But the juxtaposition is interesting. It’s what keeps me ticking because doing Def Leppard for 35 years, you start looking for alternative ways to get out of the hamster wheel of album, tour, album, tour. So, for us, it was phenomenal fun to work with Taylor Swift, and then to do Viva! Hysteria Vegas. We just came out of a writing session in February with 12 new songs. We’ve got this tour, then we’ll finish the album after that. We’ve never been this busy, really.

HR: Paul Rodgers is one of the great vocalists of all time. How did that inspire you on a nightly basis?

JE: I had the opportunity every night to sit on the side of the stage and listen to this great singer. There’s no competition; I can’t sing like Paul Rodgers. Never could. But it doesn’t matter. To me, Joe Elliott and Paul Rodgers sharing a stage on the same night is no different than, say, Dylan sharing a stage with Otis Redding. They are both valid. One of ‘em can’t sing and the other is probably the best singer in the world. But as long as Dylan does his thing, people buy into that. It’s not about being the best; it’s about being an individual.

HR: Do you ever lose that sense of wonder that Robert Plant calls you to hang out?

JE: Not at all, you never lose that. I’ve known Ian Hunter since 1980, but when Mott just reformed again for the second time this past November, I went to every gig, standing with all the fans. There’s no wonder in watching from the side of the stage; it comes from being down there and seeing the spectacle everybody else has paid to see. The enthusiasm to do it never goes. And the fan is always there. I met Bowie twice and I really have to double-check myself not to sound like a journalist because all I wanted to do was ask him a thousand questions and I can’t, I just can’t, so I went in a totally different direction. I held his attention much more. We discussed his early work, like Uncle Arthur, Sell Me a Coat, Silly Boy Blue… stuff like that. He was astonished that I even knew those songs.

HR: Will you be sticking to the hits on the KISS tour?

JE: We’re not in competition with KISS, but we’re not stupid. They’re gonna play their top tunes; we’d be f**king stupid not to. We don’t want to come across as, “Well, you just handed it to them by playing B-sides that came out in Holland and Japan to an American audience.” I don’t care what the critics think. If you can’t handle the responsibility of a hit record, don’t write one.

HR: Do you care about getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

JE: I haven’t thought about it until literally today because they’re asking us our opinion on the KISS thing. I imagine the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame as this board table with six Mr. Roboto’s sitting around, faceless tuxedo-wearing prats. This is the way I look at it as there are two hats. They pull out the one, “Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Kiss, Motley Crue, fuck that, no.” “Leonard Cohen, John Cougar Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, REM, the Pixies, we want all them in because they’re cool. We don’t want Ratt, we don’t want Poison.” I was really happy when I saw Johnny Rotten tell them to go f— themselves. That’s what I would do … even if I did get talked out of it by the other guys in the band. But I don’t care. I don’t gain anything from it. If you get an Oscar, your next film you’re gonna be offered five times the money of your last film, and better scripts. When you get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the next day you wake up in the same bed. You don’t get tours thrown at you to open for Led Zeppelin or find out Paul McCartney wants to write a song with you. It’s rubbish. There’s no gain from it.

Read more at The Hollywood Reporter.

Comments

  1. man they need to get with mutt lange again and make a REAL album. they haven’t had a decent once since pyromania.

  2. Just listened to some of that early Bowie stuff…yep, it’s terrible.

  3. Eric Heaton says:

    I agree…I do like his opinion about the rock hall tho..lol

  4. I don’t get why so many people are fascinated by Paul Rogers singing. I have nothing against him, but I don’t think his singing is that spectacular.

  5. KISS and Def Leppard, two bands that should stop immediately.

  6. Dale Barak says:

    I totally agree with Bil. Mutt Lange has the midas touch.

  7. Shirt?

  8. Joe “Pro Tools” Elliott. I wonder when his face melts off. Def Leppard puts out crap & rehash & hit repackages like the lost band they are. Get Mutt and try doing it like 30 years ago even though the band’s writing blows. Next year with Heart/Journey/Foreigner…a foursome like golf.

  9. Give me a fan who says Def Leppard needs to make a “REAL” album like Pyromania or High N’ Dry, and I’ll tell you to go listen to tracks like Day After Day, Scar, Go, Gotta Let It Go, etc… from the last 10-15 years.

    It’s 2014 and nobody spends two years in the studio racking up million dollar recording expenses. To expect Def Leppard to spend a fortune to hire Mutt Lange and lock themselves away for 24 months to make the next rock masterpiece only to sell 375,000 copies is pretty unrealistic. The industry doesn’t work like that anymore. So let them make the kind of records they want to make. As a fan of pop, rock, hard rock and heavy metal, I’ll always support Def Leppard’s new material.

  10. i like joe he is a straight shooter in alot of ways i think he is totally right about how they choose bands in the rock n roll hall of fame

  11. MikeyMan says:

    “album, tour, album, tour”?
    How about releasing some NEW music? Sparkle Lounge (2008), X (2002) It’s been 6 years, anyone notice a pattern here?
    Geez, I thought it took forever between Pyromania and Hysteria.

  12. They can’t write. Get Desmond Child when all else fails on the hook & riffs. Mutt would get 40% of the thing but it would get airplay and more units than another dull one.

  13. The idea of getting back together with Mutt is interesting. Both are now more experienced and it would not take as long to produce another stellar album today. New music would indeed create (always needed) momentum.

  14. Gene and Paul replaced the real Def Leppard with look a likes,hey why not!!
    You have idiots going to see this KISS tribute band sham with the fake Ace and Peter.
    Hey Tommy Thayer your nick name is “Fake-Ace”

  15. Mutt would cost a ton of $. He made so much money off his ex wife’s albums he can ask any amount and not care if it was turned down. Some bimbo from the Hustler store on Sunset could introduce Kiss, Gene doesn’t care.

  16. Joe Lara says:

    Joe Eliot has great perspective

  17. Def Leppard shouldn’t stop touring & creating music….kiss on the other hand should just STOP……completely. IMHO the last 2 cd’s they did were AT BEST, fair……Joe in The Cuse

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