JOE ELLIOTT On DEF LEPPARD's 'Crossroads' Collaboration With TAYLOR SWIFT: It Still 'Looks' And 'Sounds Great'

April 20, 2024

Sixteen years ago, DEF LEPPARD teamed up with a teenage Taylor Swift for an episode of CMT's "Crossroads". At the time, Taylor was a country music superstar whose songs were just starting to become pop hits. In a new interview with Japanese music critic and radio personality Masa Ito of TVK's "Rock City", DEF LEPPARD frontman Joe Elliott reminisced about working with the then-18-year-old star. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It's a strange thing. My kids, who are 14, 7 and 4, have never seen me with Taylor Swift. And I've told them. They didn't believe me. [Laughs] Because my kids are Swifties. And they didn't believe that daddy had sung with Taylor Swift. So I had to pull the DVD out and put it on. And they were just like this. [Opens his mouth wide]

"I hadn't seen it since 2009 or whatever — [it had been] 15 years since I saw it — and I watched the whole performance, and it was way better than I remembered it being," he admitted. "I didn't think it was bad [at the time], but sometimes things don't age well. This looks great. She looks amazing, she sounds great, the band was on fire, and we played together with her band. So a lot of interesting arrangements came out of that, different textures. It was great to do it differently. But, yeah, we performed ['Photograph'] — in fact, it was the opening track of the show. And it was good fun doing that show. I really enjoyed it, 'cause she got to sing some of ours and I got to sing some of hers. And it was a really interesting week we had together. It was about four days of rehearsals, and then we shot the show twice. They picked the best bits from the two nights.

"Who knew how big she was gonna be?" Elliott continued. "She was popular then, but now she's in a different stratosphere to what she's ever been in before, or most other artists have ever been in. So, we can always look back on that and go, 'Hey, DEF LEPPARD, little old DEF LEPPARD, once got to play with Taylor Swift.'"

Joe previously discussed DEF LEPPARD's collaboration with Swift in a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone magazine. Asked what signs he saw that this young woman was going to basically conquer the world, Elliott said: "Well, she was already pretty big, so the conquer the world was something that was either gonna happen or wasn't. In fairness, she really did go out, full bore, and conquer the world. Good luck to her for doing that, you know?

"The whole thing came together because somebody walked into our dressing room with a laptop… He goes, 'It's Taylor Swift, she's doing this interview, and she said there was only band that she would ever do a 'Crossroads' with, and it was DEF LEPPARD.' We went, 'Wow, okay, get in touch with her, see what she thinks.' Lo and behold, couple of months go by and, all of a sudden, we're doing this show.

"We've always been that poke-noses-out-of-joint kind of band. I loved the idea of something that's gonna either piss people off or they go, good for you for doing something different. If you're gonna do collaborations, I don't see the point in us doing a song with BON JOVI. Do you know what I mean? It's like, I'd prefer the idea of Jon doing a song with, like, Tom Waits. Us doing something with Loudon Wainwright III or Leonard Cohen. Somebody completely off the wall. Or Elvis Costello and MOTÖRHEAD. Can you imagine what that would sound like?"

Asked how it all worked, Joe said:"Getting hooked in with Taylor was great. She was 17 years old. We were more than willing to do this. We got a new record just out. It was a bit of fun. It was a four-day project. It was two days of rehearsals. It was two shows and everybody did their homework. We turned up knowing all the chords, knowing all the lyrics. There weren't really any difficulties. There were a couple of moments where we sat down, me and Taylor sat down, and she says, 'I can't sing that line,' 'cause it was a bit too risqué, in ['Pour Some Sugar On Me']. So we'd swap things around. And the fact that I was actually singing from the male point of view in some of her stuff, like in 'Love Story'. As you say, I'm not going to sing something and half-ass it. I'm going to give it my all. Because it doesn't matter. It's a one off project and you've got to sell yourself in the right light. It makes no difference to me whether it's a RAMONES song or a Taylor Swift. I'm gonna do it the best I can."

DEF LEPPARD and JOURNEY will join forces for a summer 2024 North American tour. The 23-date trek will begin on July 6 in St. Louis, Missouri and hit cities including Orlando, Atlanta, Chicago, Toronto, Boston, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles and more before wrapping in Denver on September 8. Openers include STEVE MILLER BAND, HEART and CHEAP TRICK, which will vary by city.

DEF LEPPARD and MÖTLEY CRÜE have completed several legs of "The World Tour", which included U.S. dates with Alice Cooper.

DEF LEPPARD's latest album of all-new material, "Diamond Star Halos", sold 34,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in its first week of release in May 2022 to land at position No. 10 on the Billboard 200 chart. It marked the band's eighth top 10 LP.

Of "Diamond Star Halos"' 34,000 units earned for the week, album sales comprised 32,000, SEA units comprised 2,000 (equaling 2.7 million on-demand official streams of the album’s songs) and TEA units comprised less than 500 units.

DEF LEPPARD's previous Top 10 albums included "Pyromania" (which peaked at No. 2 in 1983),"Hysteria" (No. 1 for six weeks in 1988),"Adrenalize" (No. 1 for five weeks in 1992),"Retro Active" (No. 9; 1983),"Rock Of Ages: The Definitive Collection" (No. 10; 2005),"Songs From The Sparkle Lounge" (No. 5; 2008) and "Def Leppard" (No. 10; 2015).

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