Def Leppard Regret Being Lumped In With “Crap Metal Bands Of The ’80s”

Def Leppard Regret Being Lumped In With “Crap Metal Bands Of The ’80s”

February 12, 2014

Def Leppard have released a Deluxe Edition of their 1996 album ‘Slang’ containing the original 11 album tracks re-mastered and rare bonus tracks made up of demos, alternate versions and mixes with a series of new songs recorded during the time the band was creating the album.

“It was an essential album for Def Leppard,” guitarist Phil Collen recently told Billboard about ‘Slang’, whose sound was markedly more raw and stripped-back than multi-platinum predecessors such as ‘Pyromania’, ‘Hysteria’ and ‘Adrenalize’. “It was a drastic move, left-field for us. It was experimental. It went against the grain from what we normally were doing at the time. We felt like with ‘Adrenalize’ it started turning a little bit similar, so it was important to do something different at that point.”

Not everybody felt that way, of course. Though it debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200 (after #1 bows for 1987’s ‘Hysteria’ and 1992’s ‘Adrenalize’) and went gold, ‘Slang’ was Def Leppard’s slowest selling album in more than a decade, which Collen says was a source of great frustration.

“Y’know, I think we could’ve put out ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ or “Dark Side Of The Moon’ and I think it would have been the same because it was Def Leppard and we had gotten lumped in with all the crap metal bands of the ’80s that were kind of pale versions of us,” Collen explains. “Nirvana had come along and everything had changed. What was very interesting was people said they didn’t like it so much because it didn’t sound like us, but we set up in a villa in southern Spain and pretty much recorded live, so it was actually closer to the mark than the other albums where we didn’t play live and did the usual studio thing of putting one thing on at a time and building it from there.”

‘Slang’ marked the debut of former Dio guitarist Vivian Campbell — who replaced the late Steve Clarke and also wrote ‘Slang’s first single, “Work It Out” — and was the first Def Leppard album made without producer Mutt Lange since 1980’s ‘On Through The Night’.

“Anyone who isn’t a Def Leppard fan, you play it to them and they love it,” Collen notes. “They go, ‘Wow, this is really cool. Who is it?’ ‘It’s us,’ and they go, ‘Whoaaaa. This is really cool.’ But, yeah, no one really heard it. There’s the faithful few who absolutely love it and think it’s the best Def Leppard album of all time, but it’s a minority.”

Courtesy of