Def Leppard Featured on The Guardian ‘We had this inner demon of pop wanting to come out’

Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott: ‘We had this inner demon of pop wanting to come out’

Read the full story on The Guardian HERE

Joe Elliott of Def Leppard has the look not so much of a rock star, but a character actor playing a rock star. The clothes are expensive, the hair carefully coloured, but the 58-year-old’s face – slightly downturned – could be that of a Yorkshire butcher fretting about his Barnsley chop supplier. His physique, reassuringly, is not that of a man who spends eight hours a day in the gym (“I’m not going to go out there wearing a union jack shirt and leather trousers and do a split-jump,” he says). He is also delightfully fannish still – we discover a mutual love of the Italian band Giuda, and sing their hit Roll the Balls to each other.

Def Leppard may have passed into the heritage rock business these days, but that business is big. They are on a massive tour of US arenas, then they will perform Hysteria, the 1987 album that became hard rock’s Thriller, in full across Australasia and the UK. Oh, and a box set of all their 80s recordings has been released. That’s a whole lot of Leppard to go round this year, and Elliott is in the mood to talk about it.

“We always had this inner demon of pop wanting to come out,” he says of the single that turned Def Leppard from an up-and-coming metal band into stars of MTV and the biggest rock band of their era. “[Bassist] Rick Savage loved bands like Queen and T Rex; I loved T Rex and Bowie and Sweet and Slade. We were always aiming to do something like that, but we could never really pull it together until Photograph.


I remember the first time I heard the riff through the studio wall: me and a couple of the crew went” – Elliott pulls an amazed face – “and when that happens collectively, you know somebody’s hit on something.”Photograph’s parent album, Pyromania, went diamond in the US – platinum sales 15 times over – but to achieve that level of success meant putting the band before everything else, even friendship. Partway through the recording, they had to sack guitarist Pete Willis, who had founded the band, because of his drinking. “It was holding us back,” Elliott says. “We all drank, don’t get me wrong, but when we drank we just told dirtier jokes a little louder. Pete caused problems. He was disruptive and negative. The band had to come first.”

Read the full story on The Guardian HERE