Happy Birthday HYSTERIA

08/03/2014 - 15:04

On this day in DEF LEPPARD history - 3 August 1987 – HYSTERIA album was released!  HYSTERIA is Leppards’s fourth studio album which charted at #1 on Billboard Top 200 chart in the U.S. and  #1 on the U.K. Album Chart and spawned seven hit singles.

 

Watch this interview from 2012 as Joe Elliott & Phil Collen discuss Hysteria.

Jackson 30th Anniversary limited edition PC1 Custom (Splatter)

About 6 years ago Mike Kotzen, Artist Relations at Jackson Guitars was at my house and asked if I could think of anything that we could do to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Jackson Guitars. We came up with a plan to paint and personalize 30 guitars with a unique artwork that had me going to the Fender/Jackson factory in Corona, California at intervals for the next year (it's only a 35 minute drive from my house if the wind is blowing in the right direction). I loved the whole concept. I really got to see from the ground up what really goes into the deeply involved process that creates a custom Jackson guitar. 

 

Interestingly enough, although I've always loved art I hadn't drawn or painted anything since I started playing guitar at age 16 and soon realized I'd exchanged one art form outlet/expression for another and although I'd matured as a musical artist my drawing and painting absolutely sucked. I was where I had left off at 16 but any technique that I had, had left me 30 odd years ago due to lack of practice hence giving credence to the old "if you don't use it you'll lose it" phrase, a powerful metaphor for anything in life. 

 

This being said I opted out of a drawing or painting but instead chose to personalize the guitars in a paint splashing extravaganza ala "Jackson Pollock" style, where I chose 4 colors that would stand out. The first being "Fire Engine Red" that I would literally splatter like blood, resembling a CSI crime scene and wait for that coat to dry or with the aid of a hairdryer or the amazing drying room at Jackson which helped along the process. Sometimes the batch would be as big as 9 guitar bodies or as small as 3 and sometimes if the paint hadn't dried I'd have to come back another day to start the next color.

 

We finally finished the 30 guitars plus a few extra artist proof guitars of which this is one of two that I own. Mine have thicker necks than the other 30 guitars. This was just in time for the 2010 NAMM trade show. I also played it on the 2009 Manraze UK tour, when we opened up for Alice Cooper. I've since seen some of these 30 guitars as far away as Australia and Japan. I also gave the tattoo artist Kat Von Dee a PC1 Splatter as a gift for the beautiful job she did in creating tattoos for my wife and I. Kat had it on display in her shop which I saw on the show for several episodes. The original guitar on Kat's wall was my gift to Mike Kotzen-artist relations at Jackson Guitar. It was the only PC1 Splatter that had three pickups. When we finished the guitar for Kat we exchanged hers out and Mike got his guitar back. So for those who are really into detail and want to dig deep you might notice that the PC1 Splatter guitar on Kat's wall goes from having three pickups to two. I also hand splashed a custom Fender/Jackson hybrid bass for my wife as a wedding present. She's got the only PC Splatter Fender/Jackson 4 string left-handed bass in the world. I even included a blue (her fave color) gem in the body. It's included in the photo with my splashed amps.

 

The guitar isn't a standard PC1 as it has an ebony finger board with 1 Jackson shark fin marker on the 12th fret for a start and no middle pickup, just a Dimarzio Super 3 in the bridge position and a Jackson driver/sustainer/pickup in the neck position. My guitars are loaded with FU-Tone titanium bridge and saddles and have 13-54 gauge D'addario strings. Apart from the color splashing over a black body I wrote Phil in Japanese. I did so in white ink. Each guitar is also numbered progressively in the Japanese numeric system. To accomplish this feat I was coached by Dave Kurihara at Jackson Guitars. To practice these numbers and names I painted on anything and everything from paper to blocks of wood and even amplifiers (check out my Fender Cyber Twin when I played on the Jimmy Fallon show and on the Voice). 

 

I did a bunch of artwork on canvas and even went to the Fender Showroom in Corona, Ca to splash a giant Fender Strat that is on display in the Cleveland Rock & Roll Hall of Fame foyer (last time I saw it). There are permanent red splatter stains on the ceiling of the Fender Showroom's performance room to this day. 

 

Anyway if you want to hear this guitar it's featured heavily on Manraze’s second album ‘Punkfunkrootsrock’. It’s the rhythm guitar on ‘Over My Dead Body’ and the outro solo on ‘Edge Of The World’. I play it occasionally on the current 2014 summer tour on ‘Let's Get Rocked’. Tonight Sat Aug 2nd we're in Atlantic City. Think I'll play it tonight.

 

SEE MORE PICTURES HERE

Happy Birthday Joe!

08/02/2014 - 03:01

Our favorite singer is celebrating today in Boston as Leppard gear up tonight for the 2nd leg of their summer tour w/ KISS.  Have a great day, Joe!

 

With the recent tour break, Joe had some time to answer many of the great questions that were submitted last month to his Facebook Q&A.  Thanks to all that sent in their questions. For those who’s questions were not answered, we will do this again soon.  Look out for parts 2 and 3 of the Joe Elliott Q&A coming in the next few days!

 

Listen to Pt. 1 of Joe’s answers on SoundCloud NOW!

 

Joe discusses family life, touring with KISSDOWN 'n' OUTZ side project and more.  Listen NOW!

 

DREAD - Jackson custom PC1 with reverse Jackson headstock

If you've seen any dates on this tour I play DREAD on "Armageddon It" and "Pour Some Sugar On Me". This guitar is one of my touring guitar favorites. It's basically a PC1 body with the Jackson driver/ sustainer in the neck position and a DiMarzio Super 3 in the bridge position. You can't see the pickup as it has a plastic cover on it to enhance the extremely elaborate paint job executed by the excellent visual and graphic artist Johnnie Grez. I heard that this paint job took 52 hours to complete. When you hold the guitar up to the light you can see why-especially on the back. Some of the water designs and dreadlocks are raised which you can feel when you touch it with your hands and/or look at it from a distance. It's almost 3D. The other thing is that Johnnie painted DREAD with glow in the dark paint (my other glow in the dark Jackson BELA gets much love and is currently imprisoned in a glass coffin at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. Check it out if you're in Cleveland cause I'll be bringing it out for that one show only for those of you who keep asking about the 'vampire' guitar).

 

The subject matter of DREAD is a deadlocked monster loosley based on the creature from the movie "Predator" hence the name DREAD. We skipped the middle pickup on this guitar to give Johnnie a little more artistic freedom plus I never use the middle pickup when I play live. It has FU-TONE titanium block and bridge saddles and a Floyd Rose tremolo bridge. It's equipped with 13-54 gauge D'addario strings.

 

This guitar also has a few different features for me. I wanted to go back to the classic Jackson headstock that I have on my 80s Jacksons only reverse it-really a tribute to Jimi Hendrix from me. There's an ebony fingerboard which apart from having a different feel has a completely different sound. It's smoother and creamier-great for lead tones and shredding for some reason. The neck has a good chunk to it that transfers to the sound when you're playing rhythm. I'll get the neck sizes to you guys later as I'm now in cahoots with Kurt Walton at Jackson and he'll be getting the exact specs as all this stuff is recorded. Pretty cool huh?

 

Another little detail related to this guitar is if you look closely at the chain I have hanging off my hip it's actually the "Predator", or the head at least, making the chain links. You'd have to zoom in on that so we've actually done that for you in the photos CLICK HERE

 

Oh, by the way if I'm not mistaken, I believe there was another guitar made for someone out there with the same spec and artwork as DREAD, so if you're out there I'd love to see some photos.

 

Joe’s side band DOWN ’n’ OUTZ have released a video for their cover of the Mott the Hoople classic “One of the Boys”, taken from their critically acclaimed album “The Further Adventures Of…”.   The single was originally the b-side to MOTT THE HOOPLE’s “All the Young Dudes” and is a classic slice of Hunter/Ralphs song writing.

 

Read the article and watch the video now on Classic Rock Magazine HERE

 

April 2014 saw the release of the album The Further Adventures Of…, which is the third instalment of the project fronted by Joe, and features tracks connected to Mott the Hoople. Click here to purchase on iTunes & Amazon.

 

UK & Eire dates include:

5th  Dec - Bristol (Bierkeller)
6th  Dec - Trecco Bay (Planet Rockstock Festival)
8th  Dec - London (Garage)
9th  Dec - York (Fibbers)
11th Dec - Sheffield (Corporation)
12th Dec - Wolverhampton (Slade Rooms)
14th Dec - Newcastle (Riverside)
15th Dec - Glasgow (Garage)
17th Dec - Belfast (Limelight)
18th Dec - Dublin (Academy)

 

Ticket are priced Bristol, London, York, Sheffield, Wolverhampton, Newcastle and Glasgow are £20. Belfast £17.50 and Dublin €25.  Tickets on sale now at all usual outlets.  For all details visit DownNOutz.net

Next in my guitar blog is Jackson PC1 Natural (BIG BOY)

This is one of my classic signature models from Jackson Guitars-the PC1. I've been playing BIG BOY on "Let's Get Rocked" most nights on this tour. It's named BIG BOY cause it has a big neck. I like massive necks because it improves the tone of the guitar and prevents the neck from warping especially as I play really aggressively and use heavy strings by rock guitar standards (D'addario 13-54 string gauge). My guitars take so much punishment on our tours. They'll be drenched with sweat. Yeah I know its gross but I ooze when it's 100° on stage. Then the next day they may get blasted with ac. So I find bigger necks respond better to such violence plus I like the way they feel. This is something I custom order when my guitars are made. The standard necks are way smaller. Big Boy is a brother to one of my other natural PC1s. I use it as a touring guitar and the other one stays at home since I record with it a lot. In fact you can hear my other natural PC1 on "All I Wanna Do" by Manraze. It also appears on what is probably my favorite solo that I play on "Mistreated"-a song on the Delta Deep album that'll be released sometime this Fall.

 

The PC1s have a mahogany body with a beautiful maple top, a maple fingerboard, Dimarzio pickups (a Super 3 humbucker in the bridge position and HS2 in the middle). The neck pickup is also a sustainer/driver by Jackson that allows me to get all that screaming feedback and emulate the sustain that I used an ebow for on the Hysteria album. It sounds like a keyboard or strings on the record especially when you multi-track it. I have a Floyd Rose bridge with FU-Tone titanium saddles on the bridge and a titanium block. Just for those who wonder what a block is here's a photo. The block connects the springs on the back of a 'floating bridge guitar' to the bridge. The more vibration you get from the guitar the more lively and better it sounds. Titanium is a great vibration conductor. The other thing about this guitar is that there is no varnish per say. It has what's called an oil finish so the wood's almost raw. This helps the sound as the wood breathes better. Now I'm being ultra picky here as I have some guitars that sound incredible with 20 gallons of paint on them. But this guitar screams when you want it to and moans with mellow pleasure in an instant.


The PC1 has been around since 1996 and has so much versatility and that's why it's been my main guitar. Sorry, if I went on too much with the guitar geekdom but these are the questions people always ask me. The photos are of Big Boy in action and some tech closeup shots taken backstage with my tech Scotty Appleton at yesterday's show in Tampa, FL. It was baking hot. By the way one of the photos show two compartments on the back of the guitar. They house two batteries for the sustainer.  CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL PHOTOS!