Def Leppard - 'We're Not A Heavy Metal Band'

Tom Lanham of recently conducted an interview with Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

On developing a bad back as a teen, lifting boxes incorrectly in a steeltown factory:

"And once you've got one, as everybody who has a bad back knows, you've got it for life.

On once having to see 41 chiropractors in 43 days:

"Every single day except for two we had to get somebody in to fix me, because I was bent in half, I was crippled. And every time they'd fix me up, I'd get onstage and do a jump here, a twist or shimmy there, and pop! Out goes the back again. And that was when I got my first steroid injection."

"I was forever being injected with steroids, but I didn't realize what they did. They took the pain away, but they also make you balloon in weight."

"So now I'm officially getting back on track. I'm pain-and-steroid-free for the first time in several years, and it's good not to wake up crippled, or just forever wondering why your trousers don't fit anymore."

On the "Yeah!" 14-track set of covers:

"...I just thought it was a great idea, ever since I had David Bowie's 'Pinups' in my arsenal of albums. I thought 'What a great concept. He's showing me where he came from.' ...If you actually got to hear your favorite artist's version of say, with Bowie it was the Pretty Things, The Who and The Easybeats it just made sense. You could actually hear those original songs."

On being lumped in with New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands:

"Lumping us in with Iron Maiden was as ridiculous as lumping us in with Depeche Mode. And we've spent 20-odd years trying to tell the whole world that we're not a British heavy metal band. Now, if people finally hear the songs that influenced us, they might finally get the picture."

On unlocking a secret or two about rockdom in the three-decade process:

"It's all about maintenance. In this business, you have to fend off the aging years as best you can, and I now see that there are two ways of doing it: You can have all that steroid stuff pumped in and end up looking like a hot water bottle, or you can do what Mick Jagger did. Which is, be as wrinkly as he is but when he goes onstage people still go 'Holy s ! How can he do that at his age?' Because he's looked after himself that's how.

"And now, for the first time in years, I feel able to get up there too without pretending. Smiling through the pain onstage? I can do it. I can do it better than anybody I know. But I don't really ever want to do it again."

Click here for the entire interview.

Band profile: Def Leppard
Posted: 27.08.2006 by lordz

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