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A Leppard Can Change His Spots
Joe Elliott talks about his rather hectic year off!
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 02 Jun 2011
The band recorded over 25 shows from which to pick tracks for the collection.
‘We would record a gig and afterwards we’d chat to Ronan (McHugh – Def Leppard engineer) and rate them out of 10. One of the most important things for us was the audience reaction,” he says. “For example, there’s a version of ‘Bring On The Heartbreak’ which I’m sure we could have played or sung better. However, the audience just took off. We stopped and they sang it and that meant a lot more than having a perfect live performance.”
The band are also releasing a coffee table book, The Definitive Visual History that, like the songs on the live album, spans the breadth of Leppard’s career, which as Joe points out makes them ideal companion pieces (good marketing ploy, Sir!).
“We bought all the rights to the photos from Ross Halfin four or five years ago, about 12,000 photos going back to 1979,” says Joe.
Leppard enlisted the help of a Japanese über-fan who whittled down the mammoth archive to 1,000 shots from which the band made the final selection. How did Joe find the experience of looking at his life through the lens?
“It was really weird,” he confesses. “It’s like when your mum gets your baby pictures out for your girlfriend! First basin cut! From that to a mullet back to no mullets to…”
His favourite section of the book is the one dedicated to Steve Clark, the original Def Leppard guitarist who passed away in 1991.
“The guy was so photogenic. When it came to playing live he just had it,” says Joe. “He had a natural exuberance on stage that just came across. There’s a tinge of melancholy also looking at the shots. There’s loads of mad stuff in there but the Steve ones, because he’s not around anymore, mean more.”
Are there many wild times caught on camera?
“Not really,” smiles Joe. “We weren’t the kind of people that were shagging women in elevators with the doors wide open. Sad to say… we’re blowing the myth. It wasn’t our thing. We were never big into drugs and we were never into flaunting what we had. Our parents brought us up to be polite to people and to say ‘thank you’ when you got anything. If we were going to get indulgent, we always locked the door.”