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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.
Joe Elliott Talks David Bowie On BBC 6 Music Tribute Show

Tuesday, 12th January 2016

Joe Elliott 2014.
Screenshot by dltourhistory

Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott appeared live on a tribute show for David Bowie yesterday on BBC 6 Music.

The one hour special called 'Thank You David Bowie' was played before the regular Radcliffe and Maconie show and hosted by Mark Radcliffe.

The show featured all Bowie songs and clips from archive BBC interviews. Joe spoke live about halfway through.

This followed on from his online tribute posted the day after David's death on 10th January which was announced in the very early hours of yesterday UK time.

He talked about David Bowie's influence on him, seeing him on Top Of The Pops for the first time, his connection to Mick Ronson and the Cybernauts.

Joe references seeing him perform for the first time at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1983. It turns out this was during one of the Pyromania tour breaks. Three shows were played there on 25th/26th and 27th July. Steve Clark had listed the then current album 'Let's Dance' as one of his favourites in the Animal instinct biography so it's likely most of the band attended the show with Joe.

Listen to the full 6 minute interview via the iPlayer link below starting at 23:26 mins to 29:28 mins.

BBC 6 Music - Joe Elliott Interview Quotes

His Reaction

"Yeah just rotten really. There's not - we're gonna talk about him all day long and all year long probably but what can you say like it's just devastating, it really is."

Being A Bowie Fan

"Yeah. I can totally understand somebody that's not that - doesn't get the connection, obviously doesn't know us that well, would go I don't get it. But seriously when we were twelve years old and we all saw Starman on Top Of The Pops. That iconic performance in 1972. Yeah and they he wagged his finger at the camera when he said you know I had to call someone so I picked on you. That moment, if you go through the press, you know over the last 30 years. Like reading all the glossy rock mags that are out these days. You'll see that not just me but like you know Morrissey, Gary Kemp, Brett Anderson, Gary Numan. All these different types of people. I would be the odd one out. Of all said that was the moment they all said I wanna be a rock star. You know Boy George, Marc Almond. They've all done it. We just went in different directions. But Bowie was the one that brought us to the table to go I wanna do this for a living."

"You've got to remember as well this is only a little while after most of us had got colour TV. So it was so much like, you know you get used to looking at The Tremolos or The Kinks of The Who in black and white and going oh this is great. But then when you see someone like Bowie. The red hair and there were all The Spiders. They were all in gold lame suits kind of coming out of the box at you going - it really was that whole joke where we said he's from another planet."

"Exactly. We were a generation of alienation really. You know we were the first kids to grow up where we weren't on rations. You know we were probably just discovering indoor toilets. I mean all the usual stuff you know and he was like the icing on the cake. And all of a sudden we were - things were getting better. We were moved away from a World War II way of thinking and we were moving into a whole new era and the likes of Bowie. But also his mate Marc Bolan and a few - Roxy Music. Certain other artists that were like Alien-ish. You know as opposed to just the standard rock stuff of like say a Slade or a Sweet. Who were valid in their own way but these guys were definitely you know gonna take it to the next level. And Bowie outshone everybody and did for years and years and years."

DJ on attending 1972 Manchester Show - "I stood in that room and I just could not believe that he was actually there in the same sort of space as me."

"You're a very lucky boy because I never got to see him until 1983 at Madison Square Garden which was a hell of a place to see him. But yeah you know I'd followed him through the press. through you know Melody Maker, Sounds, Record Mirror, Disc, whatever was out in the Seventies and obviously on radio and them through the likes of Kenny Everett who would go a bit further than Top of The Pops with these kind of odd videos that he was making. And you know you could just tell he was - he was just far and above different from everybody else. You didn't have to like everything he did."

"I saw a great quote today from somebody where they said David to sum David Bowie up is he'd put a record out. You know in the Seventies when there was an album every year and all the fans would turn up in the previous outfit that he'd done. He'd be on to the next thing already and this is how it went all the way through his career. They'd all turn up with the red hair and then it was Aladdin Sane and then they'd all turn up with the stripe on their face and then it was Diamond Dogs. And then of course he went to the blue suit and soul boy thing it was like wow. I mean when I was a kid I'll be the first to admit that I was like not a fan of him splitting the Spiders by a long way. But looking back with hindsight I can see why he did it. You know because he would have probably gone down the tubes the same way as every glam rock band did when disco kicked in."

Can it be true that you own one of Mick Ronson's wah wah pedals?

"I do. Well you know they were Yorkshire boys. Def Leppard's first ever EP was recorded at Fairview Studios in Hull where Mick had done a lot of work and over the years I got to know them. I met Mick in New York. Myself and Phil Collen, the Leppard guitar player, stood in for Bowie and Mick Ronson at the Mick Ronson Memorial gig at Hammersmith Odeon in '94."

No pressure then?

"No. No pressure at all. Width Of A Circle all the way through to Jean Genie. And then it went so well that we were asked to tour Japan and so we had to choose a name so we called ourselves the Cybernauts and we ended up doing a live album. It was recorded at the Olympia in Dublin. A seven track studio album and you know we were really immersed into this music. Susie Ronson, Mick's widow, comes to Leppard shows all the time in New York. She gave me this wah wah pedal that was his that was used on Moonage Daydream. The thing does not leave my side when I'm at home."

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