Thursday, 3rd August 2017
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Def Leppard 2017. Screenshot

Def Leppard celebrate the 30th anniversary of Hysteria today and Joe Elliott appeared on BBC TV in the UK this morning.

Joe was on BBC Breakfast just before 9am once again as he was in 2015 and in 2008 (with Phil).

He talked about the 30th anniversary of the Hysteria album, the reissue, filming the Animal video, looking at past videos, making the album, technology, the 80s music scene and the 2017 tour.

Read a full transcript below and view screenshots.

You can view the whole video on the BBC iPlayer starting at 2 hours 44mins into the show and lasting until 2hrs53mins.

Joe Elliott 2017 Photos - By dltourhistory

BBC Breakfast 3rd August 2017 - Transcript

You're excited about this aren't you?

"The football?. Yes actually. I've got a lot of press today down in London after I finish here, but there's gonna be a telly on in the corner with the game. I'm absolutely gonna be watching it. Absolutely you have to have, when the football's on. We've gotta have it, at least pictures, no sound."

Well we've got you on to talk about Hysteria which I think many would say defined or epitomised Def Leppard. 30 years on after you first released it.

"Absolutely. 30 years today."

30 years today. It's been revamped, remastered. Is that fair?

"It's been - everything. It's kitchen sink this one. We've put out like, there's - the whole kind of fashion now with vinyl is 180 gram which basically means that you know it's rock hard. And supposedly for the vinyl freaks it's like the ultimate in sound. So there's coloured vinyl, there's regular vinyl. But there's a specific like CD version. It's the ultimate. It's six discs I think it's like. Or seven discs. There's DVD stuff. There's the album remastered this year. B-Sides, extended versions. There's live versions, there's all sorts of things, three booklets. It's the kitchen sink."

You know we can talk about it but there's nothing better than listening to it.

(Video Clips played - Sugar, Animal)

That last video we were just watching. Filmed with a circus.

"Yeah. We lived with a circus in Holland for a couple of days."

What was that like?

"Eye opening. I mean everybody considers rock and roll a bit of a circus anyway but you know in comparison to a real circus we're kind of like church goers really. Oh yeah it was mad. It was great fun, a great experience. I'll never forget it."

How do you feel looking back at those videos now?

"It depends which video it is. Some of them are a bit naff, I'll be honest with you."

You weren't a fan of the first one.

"No, we ended up shooting a second video for Sugar because we didn't like the first one. Which was confirmed by MTV who said we don't want to play that it's rubbish. So we kind of did a live version of it, well live footage which was much more in kind of context of what we wanted to do."

Yeah. Does it feel like a long time ago though?

"Actually it doesn't you know. I've been talking to people about this recently and I think if you're like wrongfully imprisoned for 30 years. It's a long time. But if you're in band that's done an album that becomes an iconic piece of work and it. And you know we're not naive we realise that like say Dark Side Of The Moon for Pink Floyd or Sgt. Peppers for The Beatles. Most bands have got one album that they'll always forever be talking about and it's as the yardstick of what everything is judged against. And if you're lucky enough to make one album like that you should be blessed and accept. You know we don't think of it as an albatross really. So you know that 30 years has flown by because it gave us the opportunity to work as often as we wanted and we've never stopped. So all of a sudden people just tap you on the shoulder and go; 'You realise it's 30 years this year'. And you're like, really? wow."

How did you go about making an album that needed to be so definitive?

"Well like most albums of this style we didn't know what we were doing. You know we went in there completely blindfolded. You know we'd had this album called Pyromania which came out four years previously which was a huge hit in the States. But it didn't really do anything anywhere else. So we knew how to make successful records but what we wanted to do was make a record that took that even further. Not just replicate what we'd done and basically having had a discussion with our producer, a guy called Mutt Lange, we were discussing Thriller by Michael Jackson. And yeah he had like six hit singles and he just looked at us and said why can't we do that?. And we were going yeah why can't we do that?. So we set about trying to make kind of a rock record that nobody had ever really made before."

Was it almost commercialising what you were doing?

"Well, we were always a kind of a semi-commercial band anyway. Songs Like Photograph and Rock Of Ages were leading that way. but when we had songs like Animal and Pour Some Sugar On Me in our arsenal of songs, they was the album track stuff and then we had these songs that we knew could cross over into pop. And - but it was the 80s and there was all this new technology coming out on a daily basis and we wanted to play with. What does that button do? And what does this do?. So we went down a lot of dead end streets trying to just find things to do and then we'd come back up and three weeks down the toilet you know. So it took a long time to put it together but you know we weren't the only band that spent 18 months making an album. Everybody else was doing it by then."

You were talking there about technology and how things are changing but you must have seen mega changes in the music industry now in the last 30 years?

"Well, you do. The changes that I notice the most are the ones that we all noticed growing up through that era. We still had Top Of The Pops and you saw the changes there. You saw things like the Human League and Soft Cell and the Pet Shop Boys and all these bands literally you could tell they were playing over drum machines and all this kind of stuff. You saw the Tubeway Army/Gary Numan, all these kind of bands were taking over from where Punk was and Glam Rock was before that."

"These days the technologies like medicine, it's kind of slowed down. We're waiting for the next big breakthrough. All the breakthroughs now are tiny little ones that normally only the producers know about and the ones that bands wouldn't admit to - enhance their performances etc."

You gave us a little bit of a hint of living with the circus and you thought you were rock and roll until the circus showed you otherwise. Are you still rock and roll?

"On stage yes because that's where it's important and it's always been important for us like that. We've always been the odd ones out really. You know when all that kind of LA scene was happening in '87/'88. All these bands like say Motley and Bon Jovi were breaking through and we were still making this record before it came out. We were living in Holland next to a windmill. Totally cut off. There was no internet, you know there was no cell phones. .Things were literally coming up like smoke signals you know there's a new movement going on in LA. Really, OK, whatever we were living in our own bubble. So we were just making music and that's what - all we were really concentrating on."

So you were never bad?

"Well, I'm not saying that we weren't but we kept it under the radar as best we could."

Smart. Very smart. I'm interested that you said you know you're still as busy as you were then. Tell us what you're doing now.

"We just finished an American tour. 38 gigs which was literally an overspill from last years tour. We had an album out towards the end of 2015 and we've been working it ever since. There's been so much demand for the band to play live. That we're having to keep going back to places."

Is it the same audiences or is it different ones coming through?

"Well, you do see the same faces just like us getting a little older each year. But they bring their kids then you know. You do get excited when you see somebody that you know is like - their not 21 yet, but they know every word to the song. I saw this happen years ago at a Rolling Stones gig when I was seeing kids that weren't even born when - and they're singing Satisfaction and stuff like that. So it happens, generations come through. They get disappointed by their own - their generation of bands maybe let them down and they go for the iconic bands. I was doing the same thing at 12. Once the Glam Rock thing kind of dissipated and started moving in towards disco. I started looking back at bands like The Kinks and The Small Faces and The Who. And embracing that because it's what I wanted to listen to."

View a Hysteria 30th Anniversary Making Of Special which is also a preview of a new version of this website.

Buy 'Hysteria 30th Anniversary Edition' Online

  • Amazon - (5CD/2DVD Super Deluxe Edition)
  • Amazon - (2CD Deluxe Edition)
  • Amazon - (1CD Edition)
  • Amazon - (2LP Vinyl-Black)

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Phil Collen - Guitar
Phil Collen - Guitar
Phil Collen - Guitar
Phil Collen - Guitar