News Segment


May 26, 2006

The group has sold more than 65 million albums. Played for tens of millions of people on almost every continent and have been rocking for almost three decades.

After all that, Def Leppard wanted to glam it up and get back to its roots, so it recorded “Yeah!” to show they’re more than just a hard rock band.

Singer Joe Elliot, speaking from an island off the coast of Spain, explained, again, why Def Leppard should not be lopped into the category of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

AP: Why now, after 25 years of playing hard rock, did you decide to cover the glam rock era of the `70s?

Elliot: People would ask if we’re a heavy-metal band and we’d say, “No, that’s Black Sabbath, Anthrax.” It may come as a bit of a shock to some people, but we weren’t weaned on Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. These songs are a major part of where we come from. It was the opportunity to show the world where our true roots lie.

AP: Why call it “Yeah!” and not something like “Glam it Up!”

Elliot: I think it’s more to the point. It’s the one word that everybody shouts when their favorite band starts or your favorite team scores a goal. It’s a collective, excitable utterance that really summed up what these songs meant when we heard them. I’ve wanted to do a covers album from as soon as I could walk. It’s not like we’ve run out of ideas — we have half the next album written.

AP: But you just put out “Yeah!”?

Elliot: We have loads written and demo-ed. Hopefully, when we finish this tour, we won’t be starting from scratch. We’re one step ahead of ourselves for the first time in our careers. I doubt very much (the recording) will happen this year.

AP: At this point, why keep touring?

Elliot: It’s what we do! That’s like asking a doctor, why do you still want to be a doctor? Why would you want to end it if you enjoy it? We’re 20 years younger than the Stones. They’re still touring and they certainly don’t need the money.

AP: Do you think you still rock out as hard now?

Elliot: I think so. I could run faster back then but I couldn’t sing as well. How fast do you actually have to run? I think (Mick) Jagger rocks out more now than he did back in the day. Now, he’s like 62 years old… and I’m like 18 years younger. We don’t just stand around doing nothing, but we rock I suppose. It’s a funny word to use.

AP: What’s your biggest backstage diva request?

Elliot: We’re a big juicing band. We drink pints of juice. We’re very into the organic stuff. We have two-and-a-half vegetarians in the band. As long as we have our organic vegetables and decent grub — you have to look after yourself on the road.

AP: What’s something you need to have on the tour bus with you?

Elliot: The telly. We have the attack bus and the wuss bus — one is nonsmoking and non-drinking. We stay up later (on the attack bus), have a satellite dish, which is great until you go under a bridge.

AP: How does it feel that Arctic Monkeys, another Sheffield band, just broke a first-week debut sales record in the UK?

Elliot: I think they’re fantastic. I completely dig `em. I’m sure if anyone asked the Arctic Monkeys if they liked us, they would say they absolutely hate us.

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