Shelby Hartin of the Bangor Daily News spoke with Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott. Key quotes from the feature article appear below.

On how the band has managed to transcend generations:

“If I knew the answer to that, I would bottle it and sell it. If you catch people at a certain age and don’t mess up, you can keep them forever. Like Bowie had me forever. Mott the Hoople had me forever. Queen, T. Rex — all these bands that I caught when I was 12 or 13. You know, they were my bands. And all you can hope for is that we were the same for the generation down from us and that we were one of the bands that they clinged on to.”

Speaking about the band’s camaraderie:

“The fact that we’ve actually managed to stay together without beating the crap out of each other is miraculous. We’ve had plenty of things put in our way. It gives you perspective. When your first guitarist is kind of sacked, or asked to leave, because he has an enormous drinking problem, your other guitarist eventually dies of [an addiction], and your drummer, in between, loses an arm … those kinds of things that would split lesser bands, or lesser incidents that would split even better bands — we don’t really take them as seriously as most people would, because when you’ve had those obstacles, they kind of pull you together and give you perspective. We’re really fortunate that we’ve been on the same page, pretty much every day since we’ve been together. We’ve wanted to be as positive and uplifting as we can and make music that makes people smile.”

Talking about how the group’s music has endured through the the years:

“With us, it’s like pop rock, and I say that for all the best reasons, because we’re a rock band and we’ve done pop hit singles. At the peak of our power, we were rubbing shoulders with the likes of Janet and Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna, Celine Dion. We were the sore thumb in the top five. I thought that was fantastic, because we were representing rock in a pop environment. That meant that our music was more accessible than most rock bands and that’s because we were embracing more than rock. Most rock bands just listen to rock music, but we were listening to everything from the Beach Boys to Kate Bush to Tom Waits to R&B and Motown. We grew up just liking songs. I think that’s why we gravitated toward each other. We were never afraid to really like that song by Jackson 5 or by Marvin Gaye. … That’s all part of why we are who we are. We just want to entertain and have fun with it. It’s just where we came from. Our upbringing led us in that direction, and there’s no shame in that. There’s no harm in having a band that entertains. That’s what people want to see.”

Read more at the Bangor Daily News.


6 Responses

  1. Def Leppard survived a lot of adversity with its band members that would have doomed a lot of other bands. But Leppard was able to carry on and have the great success that they did. I believe the band deserves a lot of credit in this regard.

    My favorite Leppard albums are their first two albums, On Through the Night and High and Dry. These, to me, are the period when the band truly was a rock band. Beginning with Pyromania, I think they became a pop band, and I lost interest in them. I would love to see them perform more songs from the first two albums, but sadly, I don’t think that will happen because their pop fans would rather hear their hits, like Pour Some Sugar on Me, rather than a deep rock song, like No No No.

    I guess I simply prefer Ded Flatbird :o)

    1. I love Def Leppard as well. They were my favorite band until Judas Priest usurped them. However, my two favorite albums are High N’ Dry and Pyromania.

      While I can understand why you feel that Pyromania dips its toe into the pop pool, compared to Hysteria, it is a thrash album-LOL! With all due respect to Hysteria, I think Pyromania was the perfect blend of commercial appeal (Photograph, Rock of Ages, Foolin’) with a rock backbone (Jimmy’s Got A Gun, Die Hard The Hunter). After all, Too Late For Love is Pyromania‘s version of High N’ Dry‘s Bringin’ On The Heartbreak.

      Also, I agree with you, I would love to hear them return to their rock roots, it’s long overdue. But, if they have not done it by now, I am not very confident that they ever will.

      D 🙂

  2. The new CD is not only one of their best Leppard recordings, it is one of the best CD’s in 2016. Anyone who dwells on their first two albums is not giving their new music a chance. Also, their concerts are near perfection except the for that “Rock On” cover they do. I wish they could perform for 3 hours. Their concerts are too short. Oh, and I also wish they would give Tesla the middle slot instead of the opening slot. Once again, get the new CD .

  3. Your longevity and success is due to the Volvo driving soccer mom circuit. You could’ve been one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time, but you went the Bon Jovi route and sold out. Nothing since Pyro has come close. You peaked in 1983 and survived like cockroaches and styrofoam.

    1. Mutt got to ’em big time…lol…hey, when you look at how much money they spent on Hysteria, they had to sell something like, was it five million? just to break even, I don’t know, I don’t care for that record, but, kind of like Chinese Democracy, I admire the commitment that went into it, that’s really seeing something through..

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