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Classic Rock News And Views
July 21, 2010
With all that’s been going on with 80’s rock veterans Def Leppard, it’s understandable that they feel the time has come to take a break. The group recently announced that they will be taking a year off to decompress. The group ended up cancelling a number of shows last year due to “unforeseen personal matters,” which sparked rumors that the group may be splitting up.
Frontman Joe Elliott explained their decision to take a break by saying, “After you have a hit like Hysteria and you’re signed to the corporate machine it becomes an albatross around your neck. As much as our music is anthemic rock’n’roll it’s a business at the end of the day. It’s stressful and gets harder each time you make a record. No one’s comparing this to Hysteria, it’s got nothing to do with it. It’s a refreshing change. It’s like being a teenager in a 50-year-old body.”
I won’t say I cannot relate to that last sentence!
Beyond the stress thing, it seems that the boys in the band have plenty of other things on their plate. Elliott is involved in a Mott The Hoople cover band called Down ’n’ Outz, and is also expanding his experience in business by partnering with NeXplore Corporation and signing on to the company’s board of advisors.
The NeXplore Search site (www.NeXplore.com), which will partner with DefLeppard.com, is described as “an interactive and visually engaging Web 2.0 search engine optimized for a superior end-user experience, multi-media display and social sharing integration.”
With the flood of social media sites on the internet these days and the lousy state of the economy, it may seen like a risky proposition to take a shot at producing the next FaceBook, but I suppose anything is possible. The market will usually reward innovation and good ideas that are deserving.
Joe Elliott is not the only band member who has been making news. Guitarist Phil Collen was recently married to 42-year-old Helen Simmons. Collen, 52, met the movie costume maker bride while Def Leppard was on tour last year.
Collen, who has reportedly been sober for some twenty years, arranged a ceremony in Florida that remained true to his goals and passions. Raspberry tea and cucumber lemonade were served up for guests, and since Collen is also known as a pretty serious animal rights advocate, the majority of the food offered was vegan.
Not wanting to ruin the party for those that chose to indulge with adult beverage, they made sure the option was available. “We just wanted to make everyone happy, including ourselves,” Collen was quoted as saying prior to the start of the ceremony. “We went alcohol-free, but we made sure the bar was not too far!”
September 17, 2009
Join Vivian Campbell (lead guitarist of Def Leppard) and Mark Schulman (drummer for Pink) on Thursday, October 1st in Shrewsbury, MA (near Boston) on a two-acre historic estate for an amazing motivational seminar, “Find Your Rhythm,” that Mark will present.
This benefit will support two wonderful charities, Create Now in Los Angeles and Zumix in Boston, both of which help at-risk youth through music. Tickets are limited: $150 includes cocktails, a fine catered dinner and the seminar. Cocktails/Dinner at 6:30 PM, Program at 7:30 PM.
For an additional $200, up to 20 people can join Vivian and Mark for an “After-Hours Soiree” in the home’s authentic pub, a Speakeasy from prohibition days.
To register visit the Create Now page on Event Brite.
June 5, 2009
When it comes to album sales, British rockers Def Leppard are in good company. Very good company. They are, in fact, one of just five groups to have recorded two albums that have earned the RIAA’s Diamond status. Yeah, that’s one level above Multi-Platinum. Who are the other four groups that share this distinction? That would be The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Van Halen.
With the U.S. leg of their tour with Poison and Cheap Trick a little over two weeks away, four Country Music Television award nominations (who would have thought?) and the re-release of two of their best-selling albums just days away, there’s plenty for the boys from Yorkshire to talk about these days.
Frontman Joe Elliott recently had a talk with In The News and shared his thoughts about the band’s success and some of the challenges they have faced over a career that has spanned three decades.
Elliott credits the groups success in North America – something that was more elusive in their native U.K. – to the birth of MTV. “In America, it had gone wall-to-wall MTV, everywhere from LA to New York, Toronto to Miami, everyone was watching it, because they’d never seen anything like it before,” he says.
That led to the exposure the group needed, which resulted in a deluge of requests for radio stations to play the group’s music that their new fans had discovered on MTV. It wasn’t long before Def Leppard was headlining tours, playing packed venues with 50,000-plus fans and breaking Led Zeppelin ticket sales records in some U.S. cities.
It’s hard to talk about Def Leppard without mentioning drummer Rick Allen, whose tragic car accident resulted in the loss of his left arm in 1984, a circumstance that, according to Elliott, actually made Allen a better drummer.
“He plays more to the song than the ego. If a drummer can do a complicated fill he will. But if he can’t, you can prove to yourself you don’t need it,” Elliot reports. Something that actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it. As an amateur drummer who has the odd distinction of being someone who was never into drum solos, I know exactly what Elliott is talking about.
When asked about whether going on the road again for a 40-city tour will be grueling or great, Elliott responds enthusiastically, saying the group can do “do 40 dates for breakfast!” A confident claim that should make for high expectations among fans who plan to be in the audience.
Guitarist Phil Collen also set aside a little time to talk to Independent News & Media about what he’s been up to and how he managed to survive the decadence of the band’s early years.
Now a vegan, Collen says “I’ve felt weird about eating meat since I was a kid,” and proudly reports that he’s the “picture of health at 51.” Although he acknowledges that there was a time in his life when his health was not a top priority.
Asked about his former reputation as a boozer, Collen admits that his drinking eventually resulted in blackouts. Realizing that he didn’t like being out of control he decided to sober up.
Collen also talks a bit about the group’s disappointment with their record label, and how they do not get the kind of support from them that they think they should be getting. “…you pay a publishing company to protect you — and then everybody’s downloading your stuff and they don’t do anything about it,” he says.
Def Leppard’s summer tour with Poison and Cheap Trick gets underway on June 23rd in Camden, New Jersey.
June 1, 2009
Here’s a chance for Def Leppard fans to score tickets to one of their shows along with a backstage pass and chance to meet the band. If you’re not comfortable doing something that might feel a bit silly, and be on display for just about anyone in the world to see, this contest may not be for you, however.
The veteran British rockers have recently announced their “DefLeppard.com and YouTube Lip-Synching Event.” Despite the name that was chosen for the contest, it is also open to those who prefer to demonstrate their enthusiasm for the group by playing their favorite ‘air’ instrument. Air guitarists, drummers and bassists are invited to enter.
A total of ten winners will be selected from the fans who are confident enough to line themselves up in front of a video camera and deliver their best faux performance of any Def Leppard song they choose. Contestants will then be required to upload their videos to YouTube to be judged.
Contestants should probably be prepared to be judged not just by Def Leppard, but by anyone else who happens to view their video entry on the wildly-popular video sharing site, unless they select the option to disable comments when the video is posted.
Prospective contestants should also take time to read the official rules of the contest, which do include some interesting conditions that are worthy of consideration. For example:
“Each winner will get two tickets and a backstage experience for one Def Leppard show…”
”Backstage experience will include a backstage tour by one of the band’s crew members, but does not necessarily include a meeting with all five band members.”
“By entering the contest and submitting your video, you agree that DefLeppard.com owns the sole rights to your video and is allowed to use it (in part or in full) in any format or media outlet for promotional purposes.”
That last one sounds a bit like the agreement that contestants on American Idol must be required to sign before they step foot in the room with the judges for the very first time.
All the contest details and more rules can be viewed at the Def Leppard website.
The following video may provide some inspiration for aspiring air musicians.
February 27, 2009
Having rocked their way through four summer tours over the last four years, it sounds as if British rockers Def Leppard may be ready to take a little time off and concentrate on other activities for a while.
Frontman Joe Elliott sums up the situation by saying, “This will be our fifth year in a row where we’ve toured the summer in the states, and I seriously do think that it’s time for us to not do it next year, because I’m a firm believer in you don’t want to do it too much — people start taking you for granted.”
The group has toured in recent years with a diverse group of acts including, Journey, Foreigner and Bryan Adams, which likely created a nostalgic blend for middle-aged concert goers who can remember cruising in their cars a couple of decades ago with the sounds of these bands blaring from their stereos.
As for the group’s decision to team up with Poison for this year’s tour after a public spat between the two groups a while back, it was kind of a surprise to hear that they would be sharing a stage this summer. According to Elliott, however, the whole incident was a misunderstanding that was sparked by something that was taken out of context by a foreign journalist, and Poison’s Bret Michaels, who was in the center of the controversy, understands that.
Def Leppard’s decision to take a break from touring may not be all bad for dedicated fans. Elliott says he may use the time off to write some music and begin making preparations for a new album. This is probably due to his desire to keep moving the group forward and making new music.
“I can’t live my life with my past being my future, just going out there and consistently playing some kind of nostalgia show," he said. "I have to be able to walk on stage and say, ‘This is a song from my new album,’ or I can’t do it."
For more check out Yahoo! News.