DEF LEPPARD's JOE ELLIOTT Talks Upcoming 'The Early Years' Box Set, '2020 Vision' Video Campaign

December 22, 2019

During an appearance on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation", DEF LEPPARD singer Joe Elliott said that the band has "a lot of stuff cooking" for the coming months, which may or may not include the release of new music.

"See, there's still too many people in the industry that believe in the original blueprint of what we do, and it's moved on, and they don't seem to wanna accept that," Joe said. "So we get a lot of criticism from all quarters — fans, media — saying that we're not concentrating on getting new music out there. It's not that important at this time in our career. What's important right now — you look at THE EAGLES, you look at FLEETWOOD MAC, you look at, say, KISS or AEROSMITH, people want to see them live. Ticket sales prove that. They can all put new records out and they don't sell anything like their original albums did. It just is the way that it is.

"We still wanna make new music — don't get me wrong; we absolutely do," he continued. "We were one of the first bands to not put an album out every year. Back in the day, you think about [THIN] LIZZY, RUSH, UFO, you can date their albums to a year, literally, if you're a fan. And then towards the '80s, it started to break out into maybe an album every two years. We were the band that went from 1980 to '81 to '83 to '87 to '92 to '96 to '99 to 2002. We went into a three-year cycle, because the touring thing was so much more important. And right now, looking at the ticket sales [for DEF LEPPARD's 'The Stadium Tour' with MÖTLEY CRÜE, POISON and JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS]… That first weekend the tickets were on sale, we shifted seven hundred thousand tickets. There's no way on earth that any of the bands on that tour would shift seven hundred thousand albums in the same period of time. So it's not a massive priority to make new music. But what you've got is whether it be THE [ROLLING] STONES or whether it be THE WHO, who just released only their second album since 1982. THE WHO have been touring all this time, because it's what people want, and it's what they want.

"When we started this band, we didn't start this band and get together in a little rehearsal room in Sheffield going, 'I can't wait to spend hours and hours in a studio,'" Elliott added, "Nobody ever said that. [Laughs] What we did is we [said, 'We can't wait to be on 'Top Of The Pops',' and, 'We can't wait to get on stage.' And that's [how] we still are. We make records so we can go out on the road. We used to tour to promote albums. Now you will put an album out to promote the tour, and now you don't even have to put an album out anymore.

"Now, don't get me wrong — we absolutely are writing; we do wanna make a record; but we're gonna make it in our own sweet time, so it's a good album, not a rushed album with some A&R man going, 'I don't hear any singles' or record companies tapping their watchface, going, 'We need it by the third quarter.' We are gonna make a record when we have the time to do it, but the priority, as these ticket sales prove, is us playing in front of our fans. That's what they want; otherwise, they wouldn't be buying the tickets."

One thing that DEF LEPPARD fans can expect to see in 2020 is "The Early Years" box set celebrating the 40th anniversary of the band's "On Through The Night" debut album.

"[It] will be out in what the grownups call the first quarter, so sometime between January and April," Joe said. "I'm not sure of the exact date. But we're doing the first two albums with bonus material. And there's a live recording from Oxford New Theatre in the U.K. from April 1980, which is actually astounding. I didn't realize how good it was. Listening to it, the two-armed Rick Allen and Sav [bassist Rick Savage], I mean, what a tight rhythm section they are — they were then, but they still are now. But even back then, they were. And Pete Willis and Steve Clark were a great combination in those days; they really were as well. And as I said in the liner notes, if you peel through the curtain of uncertainty that was my voice back in those days, you can hear the beginnings of a really great band."

Also planned for next year is "a campaign called '2020 Vision' where we're gonna be re-releasing a lot of our past video products in much better condition than it was originally released," Joe revealed. "In other words, no hissy VHS tapes anymore, but cleaned-up, 5.1 Surround Sound remixes on the sound of some live stuff, some live things that have never seen the light of day before."

"The Stadium Tour" will kick off on June 21 in San Antonio, Texas and will include newly announced gigs in Kansas City, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Nashville, Cincinnati and Cleveland. The trek marks CRÜE's first live dates since wrapping its 2014/2015 farewell tour. The band toured with POISON back in 2011 and DEF LEPPARD teamed up with POISON for a string of road dates in 2017 — but the upcoming jaunt marks the first time all four acts have hit the road together for an extended tour.

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