JOE ELLIOTT On DEF LEPPARD's Friendship And Loyalty/Hawaii Memories
Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott was recently interviewed by Hawaiian radio and the full audio is available.
Joe spoke to David Lawrence for All Things Considered on Hawaii Public Radio.
The interview was conducted before the band arrived in Hawaii.
Joe talked about the original 1983 shows in Hawaii, the Pyromania tour, getting into music, forming Def Leppard, coming up with the band name at school and standing by Rick Allen in 1984/Band friendship.He recalled the band's loyalty to Rick Allen following his 1984 car accident and their friendship. He also explains the lack of in person radio interviews in recent years due to keeping his voice in shape on tour.
Listen to the full 22 minute interview below.
Visit thesection for more news on new music (based on band member quotes).
All Things Considered - Joe Elliott Interview Quotes - (Transcribed by dltourhistory)
Memories Of The 1983 Shows
"Yeah there's an inkling of memory. I mean it is ridiculous to think. I mean if you'd have said to me back then we won't see you for 35 years I would have thought as a 23 year old kid as I was at the time or 24. I'd have been like saying 35 years? that's like ten life times away. And then I think back now and it's like we're still here doing this and it's mad that we haven't been back in 25 years. But business being what it is I guess there was no demand, or nobody wanted to bring over. I mean you can't just turn up with a truck and go right, we're playing. It's a weird one really."
"But yeah I remember it well because we'd just finished the mainland tour at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego and that was like 55,000 people. And we had these two shows set up as a kind of a thank you stroke holiday for the crew. We had four days before these shows and then two gigs and then four more days off. And we were in a hotel that had penguins in the pool. I mean it was crazy you know. I remember we were all renting jeeps and driving round the Island and getting lost in the mountains and thinking we were gonna get, you know, never be seen again. We had a great time. The gigs I don't remember because back in those days I'm guessing half of our road crew might have not even turned up for them because they'd have been lost."
"It was literally a bit of a whacked out holiday time but you know I mean the fact is is that they both sold out. So I know there was a manic audience there."
Standing By Rick Allen In 1984/Band Friendship
"Well it's kind of self explanatory by what you've just said there. You know the fact was that, you know, we were never gonna fire him because of an accident. I mean that's just not the British way of doing things. You know we were first and foremost when we got together, like I said earlier on, we weren't like an - in fact Rick was the only one where we literally could say that there was an ad put in the paper for drummer wanted. And even then we couldn't afford to take an advert out in the paper back in the day when we lost Tony. So I had a word with the guy at the Sheffield Star who did the Pop page every Thursday and I said can you make it a feature?. Rather than take out an advert. Can you put it in the thing and it goes: Local lads Def Leppard have lost their drummer if anybody is interested in taking this thing call this number. And he put me Mum's phone number in it."
"So we kinda, it's always been a gang. It was like five kids that get together in a car park to play football. Instead we got together in a rehearsal room to just play songs 'cause we were all huge fans of music and we were just lucky that we drifted towards each other in that respect. So it wasn't a business. It was a cliquey little club that was ours and ours alone. And when one of us gets kind of lost by the wayside. It's a hard thing to bring somebody else in. Even back in the early days when Tony decided, god bless him, he'd rather got to the movies with his girlfriend than rehearse, we had to get another drummer because the four of us were you know that were still doing it didn't want to stop just 'cause he did. So we get Rick in you know."
"And it was incredibly difficult to get rid of Pete Willis. Hard to make a choice of who to replace Steve because we all form a unit in that respect. Obviously not quite as solid as a band like U2 because they've never had to deal with that kind of thing. And if you think about they're the same four guys that started about nine months after we did it's quite an astonishing achievement that they are still as big and as popular as they are."
Note - Actually U2 first formed on 25th September 1976 in drummer Larry Mullen Jnr's parents kitchen.
"But with us it was just a case of like OK you know he's - when Steve was struggling with his drinking we rallied around him. When Pete when he was struggling with his we rallied around him as long as we possibly could until it got impossible which is why we got Phil in. But when Rick lost his arm there was no way we were just gonna like say OK well obviously you're done so we're just gonna put an advert out for somebody else. I mean I'd be lying if we didn't think as human beings that having gone through what he'd just gone through he probably wouldn't play the drums again. We all thought that for about maybe two or three days until he came out of the coma that he was in. But once he was upright and he'd been visited by us and Mutt Lange had been to visit him and was throwing positivity at him. He actually said I think I've figured a way around it. And I remember me and Phil kind of looking at each other going Yeah that's the drugs talking."
"But then he said no and we just. We eventually went back to work on the album 'cause he'd already played a load of drums on what was the first draft of Hysteria. So we had lots of work to be getting on with with overdubs and stuff like that where he didn't have to be there. So we did all that and let him get on with it and he was there in the background just you know chiselling away in his mind how to move everything that he did with that one limb into his left leg. And then he had just had to put it into practise because you've gotta get it in your mind first and then you get it into your body."
"And he locked himself away with an electronic drum kit that was developed for him by a guy in Sheffield called Pete Hartley. And we never went anywhere near him. It would've been wrong to kind of hover over his shoulder watching him re-learn how to play. So we left him along until he decided he wanted us to hear it. And after about four or five months I remember he came into the control room of the studio we were in in Holland and said I want you to come and listen to something. And we all went in there not knowing what to expect and it was quite simple. But he just started playing the beginning of When the Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin and it was astonishing. You know it was like my god if you shut your eyes it sounds like a drummer you know."
"And that was the beginning really. It's like OK you've still got a long long way to go you know. He didn't play his first gig until summer of '86. So he had a good 18 months to get his head around it all. First two or three shows we took out a second drummer just to give him that confidence. And then like most things another happy accident. You know the drummer [Jeff Rich] gets fogged, we were borrowing him from another band and he was flying in to Ireland where we were playing some clubs and he got fogged in in the UK and he couldn't make the gig. So Rick had no choice but to play on his own and because he'd got three under his belt with two drummers. He was actually confident enough to play it on his own. And it was brilliant you know and from that moment onwards we were pretty much back to being self sufficient again."
"But yeah we gave him - we were lucky that we had the time to give him the time because of the way that the album was going. But we never had any pressure from the label or the management because they knew the kind of band we were. They knew what kind of band they'd signed. And we were not gonna have any of it you know. I mean I will tell you and it's a fact. Within two days of it happening we were getting phone calls to the studio from kids mostly in America going: ' Hey man I hear your drummer's lost his arm, I'm just offering you my services'. Well you can imagine the expletives that they got down the phone before we hung up on them. Because that's not the kind of band we are. it's a family. You know it is I mean we don't necessarily always agree on everything. We've had a few rough times and we've had fights and we've had disagreements like most marriages do. But you know you're talking about five men being married not just two people of the opposite sex."
"But for the most part it's been an astonishing ride. It still is. It's not coming to an end it's not like this is some kind of victory lap. You know we're just onwards and upwards. We're just in a cycle right now of touring which has become way more important than records. But sooner or later we'll make another record and then we'll do some more touring and we'll see where the journey takes us. But you know this is just part of what we are and the fact that Rick is still around all these years later and he's nut just pulling this off like he's just managing. He's actually a much better musician now than he ever was before. He has to think harder because he doesn't that natural swing of two arms. He has to plan how he's gonna do things with a bit more thought which suits the songs better. So it made everybody re-evaluate the way that we arranged songs and play them. But for the benefit. You know I mean I'm not suggesting that people lop off an arm to improve their musicianship but with Rick it actually was again. Another happy accident. The end result was happy in improving the band as a structural unit was the happy accident after his very unhappy accident."
Buy 'CD/Vinyl Collection: Volume 1' Online
Buy 'Hysteria 30th Anniversary Edition' Online
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