Andy Greene of Rolling Stone spoke with Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott, after the announcement that the band will be inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. Excerpts from the interview appear below.

RS: Congratulations!

Joe Elliott: Thank you! Appreciate that.

RS: How do you you feel?

Joe Elliott: It’s one of those situations that’s been on the back burner for a couple of months because once we actually got nominated we were like, “OK, cool. That’s stage one.” I talked about it a lot with some media people in October/November and I said, “We’re not going to get overly excited until, if, we are inducted properly.” Then we saw what the fan vote was doing. We aware that people around the planet were watching it on a daily basis. We were being informed daily how we were nudging ahead of Stevie [Nicks] and then there were comments like, “Do you know that every winner of the fan poll over the past six years has been inducted?” We were, “OK, cool. That’s interesting to know.”

Then we finally find out we’re in. Now we can stop holding our breath and go, “Great! How wonderful to be in the same club as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles and the Who and Queen and etc., etc.” It’s nice. It’s a good club to be in.

RS: Who told you that you were in?

Joe Elliott: Mike [Kobayashi], our manager. He’d just got a call. He’d come in on a daily basis and say, “You’re doing really well on the fan vote, but we won’t know anything until December.” Then yesterday morning, I think, he told us. He gave me a big hug and said, “Congratulations!”

RS: Do you think that original Def Leppard guitarist Pete Willis will come?

Joe Elliott: Yeah. Pete is invited. Absolutely. Whether he comes or not is up to him. We might have to drag him there by his hair. But he deserves to be inducted since he was involved in the first three albums. A lot of people aren’t aware that he did play until halfway through Pyromania. He contributed as much as anybody on the first two albums. Of course he deserves to get in. I haven’t seen Pete in 14 years. I don’t know if he’s aware yet. We’re going to reach out to him over the next day or two now that the dust has settled and we’ll see if he wants to come.

RS: Are you going to play with him that night?

Joe Elliott: I haven’t thought about that, but I don’t think we’ll be playing anything from that far back. But being there is part of the thing. Pete has kind of moved away from this kind of stuff, so he might just be a little reluctant to come along. The truth is that it’s obviously right that he gets in and he gets his statute, or however it works, but the success of the band was mostly to do with everyone else. I think that anybody would rightly say that the reason we got nominated is more likely to be because of the work we did after Pete left.

He helped us lay the groundwork for what was to come, but the success of the band was more with Phil [Collen] and Steve [Clark] and then with Vivian [Campbell]. It’s like a rocket that goes to the moon. The bit that gets ejected two minutes into the flight is still an important part when it sets off. It’s just not that important when it gets into orbit. Pete is kind of that guy I suppose. He was an integral part of the band when we started off, but we went our different ways. It became clear that we couldn’t go any further with him in 1982. We had four years together, but we’ve been together for 40. There are 36 other years in this band that he had nothing to do with. Playing with him might be a bit weird, but I don’t see why he couldn’t come if he wants to. He’s totally welcome.

RS: How do you think Steve Clark feel about this if he was still here?

Joe Elliott: Good question. The Steve that I knew, which was for more than 13 years, I think he’d enjoy it. It’s a difficult question since a lot of what we’ve done to get where we are we did with Steve. And then everything since then has been building the fan base. It’s kind of like asking what Peter Green would think of Fleetwood Mac getting in. I think if this was to happen to 1988, Steve [would] be like, “Yeah! Awesome!” If a 60 year-old Steve were around today, I don’t know if he’d care. I don’t know. It’s an impossible-to-answer question. I’m just speculating.

RS: Bands often play three songs. Can you think of which three ones you’ll want to do?

Joe Elliott: Yeah, but not right now. I don’t know what we’ll choose. I don’t think it’s going to take rocket scientists to figure out which ones we’ll probably play, but we’ll make that decision probably a week or so before we do it. Something could happen between now and then that influences the decision, so that would make a December decision redundant. I doubt we’ll be playing anything off the first two records though.

RS: To wrap up here, what does the Hall of Fame mean to you on a personal level?

Joe Elliott: I don’t know yet. I think it is a nice badge of honor. I don’t think it’s going to make too much difference to many people. It was something that we weren’t overly concerned about until the fan vote thing became a major part of it. The people that really matter to every band are the audience. You have a filter to it. You have to go through media, radio, TV, A&R men to get to an audience, but the audience is the prime target to any artist. Now the people on the [nominating] committee, none of us know who they are. But once the fan vote became an important thing and that’s when we started thinking, “OK, now this starts meaning something.”

Read more at Rolling Stone.

In a press release sent from the band, other members also commented on the impending induction, here are their statements:

Phil Collen, “We started 2018 off at the Royal Albert Hall and to now cap it all off with a nod into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is brilliant.”

Rick Savage, “Being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame puts Def Leppard in a class of peers that we’ve always appreciated and admired. We’re looking forward to the ceremony.”

Vivian Campbell, “Coming into Def Leppard after stints with other bands, it was immediately apparent to me that Leppard had ambition far beyond most. As a fan from the early years, I’d heard that ambitionin the music, blending genres to craft the unique Leppard sound. After 26 years as the new guy, I can assure you that the work ethic and the collective focus of this band is just as strong to this day.”

Rick Allen, “What an honor for Def Leppard to be included in this year’s induction with so many other talented and deserving artists.”

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12 Responses

  1. All is right in the universe today, I am so glad they got in.

    Also, Taskerofpuppets if you read what Elliott said, the fan vote does seem to matter. To quote him, “Do you know that every winner of the fan poll over the past six years has been inducted?” Despite Ulrich’s complaining, I am not sure if Deep Purple’s induction was also a result of a fan poll, I think it might have been, as well?

    1. If you read the interview, Elliott said they will not be playing anything from their first two albums, at the induction ceremony.

    2. The fans been begging for years, I was only hoping they would have done a Pyromania tour.

      On one the tours, that I attended, sorry I forget which year, they performed 3/4th of the first side of High N’ Dry. That was only after Eddie had been harassing them for several years, prior.

    3. Brother Doug! High N Dry is my fave Leppard album! I was hoping they would at least play the song “Bringing on the Heartbreak” with Pete Willis, cuz I knew there’s no way in hell they’d play “Let It Go” or “High N Dry”. But I guess even that hope is gone now… :o(

      Does anybody know why Judas Priest, who we all know is too cool, but worthy, to be in the RRHOF, was not on this year’s ballot even though they were on last year’s ballot?????

    4. I agree bro, if by some miracle they do play something from HND, it would be Heartbreak, which would be good with me!

  2. Congrats to Def Leppard on being inducted into the RRHOF. They definitely deserve to be there. While I would love for them to play something off of “High N Dry”, that’s just not going to happen. They will play tracks that were their most popular, stuff like “Photograph”, “Love Bites”, or “Hysteria”. And it makes sense, because those are the tracks that made them the most popular.

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