DEF LEPPARD’S JOE ELLIOTT ON “THE STADIUM TOUR,” “WHEN PEOPLE SAY, ‘ROCK IS DEAD,’ [THIS TOUR PROVES] ‘NO, IT’S NOT.'”
Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott was a recent guest on Eddie’s SiriusXM show, Trunk Nation. Transcription of some of the interview appears below, courtesy of blabbermouth.net.
When as if he was surprised by immdiate success of the band’s, Stadium Tour, with Def Leppard Mötley Crüe, Poison and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, he replied, “When you put something on of this magnitude, you hope for the best and kind of expect — well, not the worst, but expect normality, I suppose. Def Leppard have notoriously never [sold out] shows out of the box, [but] we’ve always closed really well. So we’d be turning up to a gig sold out, but sold out 20 minutes before we went on stage. This is kind of like Hysteria all over again, really. Obviously, a lot has to do with the fact that we’ve got Mötley on board and you’ve also got Poison and Joan Jett. It is an enormously attractive package, is what it is. But the fact that we had shows selling out within minutes of going on sale — if that happens in a club, you’re kind of chuffed and happy; if it happens in a theater or an arena, you’re ecstatic; but when it happens in a stadium, you’re kind of gobsmacked. You’re standing there looking at the phone when your manager is telling you this, going, ‘Are you kidding me?
I’m a nerdy fan as well; I’m not just a businessman or something like that. I’m just this guy that… I’m inside this big, giant machine, but I’m trying to look at it from the outside of what it was like when I heard that Led Zeppelin put Knebworth on sale and it sold out in a day. As a fan, you’re really so happy for your band, that this band that you’re a big fan of are doing so well; it justifies your faith in them and that kind of thing. I try to look at it from two heads, really — as a fan and as a guy in one of the bands. So it really was unbelievable when they said, ‘Well, we’re gonna be adding shows, because it’s really taking off.’ I mean, who knows where this could go? Because this is just the beginning, potentially. It all depends on everybody’s availabilities and staying power to carry this on, but this tour could add even more shows maybe not even this year — next year. It’s all up in the air; nothing’s written in stone. But these 22 that were initially put on has at least gone to 28, and 10 of them are pretty close to sellouts, if not already sold out. So, it really is a testament to the fact that when people say, ‘Rock is dead,’ the four of us artists can stand there and look everybody straight in the eye and go, ‘No, it’s not.'”
Discussing if Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe will have equal set times:
“I think they’re still working on who gets [to close the show] where. We’re very flexible when it comes to stuff like that. If somebody’s got a favorite town or it’s their hometown, they can have it. We did that with Journey— we let them have San Francisco, because it was the honorable thing to do; we got New York. So, yeah, it’s 30 shows, and it’ll be 15 each. But everybody gets their full production. Everybody gets the same amount of time. It’s more like a carnival where it doesn’t really matter what order everybody is in. You’ve gotta remember — Joan Jett’s gonna go on first. I mean, just look at the catalog of songs that she has…we’ve toured with her twice before. She’s an incredible artist and such an energetic — just a ball of energy….
Talking about whether Leppard feels any pressure due to the Crüe’s elaborate stage setups:
“That doesn’t worry us; it never did. And I don’t mean this as a slight on any other band, but when we’ve got a catalog of songs like we’ve got, we’ve always kind of — not shied away from massive pyros and all that kind of stuff… We’ve tended to think that sometimes bands overuse stuff like that because there was something else missing. It’s not always true — I think with KISS and Mötley and, to a point, Metallica, you use it for effect, and that’s cool. What we use for effect is lasers, and there’s back screens with the history of the band playing away in the background or some abstract art that goes with the song very well. So it’s eye candy. You’ve gotta remember — when people come to stadiums, they’re not just listening, they’re watching, so you do have to put some kind of a show on. But the way that we’ve always been is I’ve never been flashy like, say, a David Lee Roth or something like that; I’ve always just been more — just that British restraint that Brian Johnson has or Robert Plant has, where you just do your thing. And that’s what Leppard have always been. We’ve always tried to just put on a classy show — that’s always what we’ve tried to do. And [without paying attention to] what the band before or after us does…And I think that over the years, people have got to know what we’re like live.. But trying to outdo Mötley”s roller coaster or basses exploding or Gene Simmons’s blood dripping out… We never went there — we didn’t see the point. It wouldn’t be real if we started to do things like that, because we never did it in the past. I could come out on a bicycle, I suppose. [Laughs] Rob Halford has done the motorbike to death. I could come out and roller skate. I mean, I don’t know. We’ll just come out there and play our songs, and interact with the crowd as people. It’s what we’ve always done.”
The Stadium Tour will begin on June 21st in San Antonio, Texas and will include newly announced dates in Kansas City, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Nashville, Cincinnati and Cleveland.