Archive for 2005

Def Leppard between rock and pop

Saturday, August 13th, 2005

They've shared bills with AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest. They've produced rock radio staples with titles like Let's Get Rocked, Rock Rock (Till You Drop) and Rock Brigade. For 25 years they've kept their hair long and their heads banging.

But don't call Def Leppard heavy metal.

"We sit on the fence between hard rock and pop," Leppard guitarist Viv Campbell says of his band's role. "We can take 'hard rock,' but the heavy metal thing is an area we don't like to go into.

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Def and proud of it

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

These things happen when you're playing 80-odd shows in 90-some days.

First, he calls me "Todd."

Then Rick Allen, drummer with 1980s U.K. pop-metal survivors Def Leppard, can't remember what city he's in. Setting the phone down for a moment, he comes back to announce, "Dayton. Dayton, Ohio. Sorry. I ran into a dead brain cell."

Def Leopard's current blitz — which includes a stop at the Corel Centre Saturday night — has had the quintet careening all over North America as it toasts the 25th anniversary of On Through the Night, its debut album.

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Adams, Def Leppard vibrant at Cove

Sunday, August 7th, 2005

As with the concert by Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson in 2004 at Coveleski Stadium, Friday night's concert there by Bryan Adams and Def Leppard proved, to paraphrase W.P. Kinsella, if you book them, they will come.

In this case, the "them" is musical acts, and the "they" are the fans.

More than 9,000 people attended Friday night's concert, and, apparently, fans of each act got what they wanted. Both Adams and Def Leppard played 90-minute sets heavy on the greatest hits, and each act received ecstatic applause from the audience.

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Def Lep, Adams rock Cove

Saturday, August 6th, 2005

A sea of devil's horns pounded to the beat as Def Leppard took the stage Friday night at Coveleski Stadium.

Throughout Leppard's power ballads and rock anthems and later during Bryan Adams' feel-good tributes, the cheers never stopped.

"This was so awesome," said Debbie Johnson, 39 of Niles, Mich. "When I was younger this was like my dream."

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Leppard set to delve into 'rock of ages' with covers album

Friday, August 5th, 2005

For a guy named Savage, Def Leppard's bass player has a friendly, soft-spoken demeanor on the telephone.

"The blueprint for Def Leppard was guitars, hard rock, melodies and harmonies," Rick Savage says from a tour stop in Peoria, Ill. "We've always believed the song was the most important thing. It was just a matter of how we presented it. We like guitars loud, but we also like melody. It's a fine line of not compromising one or the other."

Savage formed Def Leppard in his hometown of Sheffield, England, in 1977. Since then, he's seen both the highs of rock stardom, with Def Leppard's string of hit albums and singles in the '80s, and its lows, when personal tragedy struck the group twice: On New Year's Eve in 1984, drummer Rick Allen lost his left arm in an automobile accident, and in 1991, lead guitarist Steve Clark died of alcoholism during the recording sessions for "Adrenalize."

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Def Leppard, Bryan Adams rock the Power in Charleston

Friday, August 5th, 2005

On Sunday evening, pop/metal veterans Def Leppard will play 1980s arena rock staples "Photograph" and "Pour Some Sugar On Me" for what must seem like the gazillionth time in their 25-year music career.

Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen lost actual count many years ago, but he says he never tires of playing these songs – and many other hits from the band's catalog – each sweltering night on the band's summer-long "Rock 'n' Roll Doubleheader Tour" with co-headlining Canadian rocker Bryan Adams.

"The key is that we're music fans, too," Allen says of himself and bandmates Joe Elliott (vocals), Phil Collen (guitar), Vivian Campbell (guitar) and Rick Savage (bass).

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From greatest hits to new covers, Def Leppard is still roaring along

Friday, August 5th, 2005

Although the Tribe is still in the hunt for the wild-card playoff spot, the Indians are not the true "Boys of Summer" this year.

That honor belongs to veteran rockers Def Leppard, who – along with Bryan Adams – are on a co-headlining tour of minor-league ballparks around the country.

Of course, because the quintet formed in Sheffield, England, the sport is not its first love – as vocalist Joe Elliott is quick to point out.

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Def Leppard, Adams pour some retro sugar on crowd

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005

As the sun beat down and the beer and music flowed, so did the memories.

Those who grew up in the '80s, as I did, no doubt had flashbacks of big hair and acid-wash jeans at Tuesday's concert, headlined by Def Leppard and Bryan Adams, at Lincoln's Haymarket Park.

About 6,000 fans mainly in their 30s and 40s reveled in nostalgia or, in the case of a number of youngsters in the crowd, made new memories.

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Rock Detector with Joe Elliott

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005

How does the leviathan DEF LEPPARD audio machine that is hitting the US baseball arenas now compare to the gear you had back then?

OK, so DEF LEPPARD grew up in the NWoBHM era, but you were always creatively a little left field of the Heavy Metal pack. Your collective love of classic British bands is well known – MOTT THE HOOPLE, SWEET, DAVID BOWIE, etc, etc. Would you think that radio listeners could recognise any of that vibe in your present day original songs?

You obviously spend a good portion of your life on the road. What do you take with you to remind you of home?

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Adams, Def Leppard bring back memories of the '80s

Monday, August 1st, 2005

In the past few years, baseball teams – from the majors to minor league franchises such as the Swing of the Quad-Cities – have had periodic "throwback" games in which the players wear vintage uniforms amid all the trappings of yesteryear.

Using the same parlance, the "Rock 'n' Roll Doubleheader" concert tour of Bryan Adams and Def Leppard – which is playing 26 minor league parks across the country, including Sunday night at John O'Donnell Stadium in Davenport – could be considered a "throwback" concert.

More than 6,500 people soaked in the 1980s dorm party atmosphere, complete with Def Lep and Adams tunes cranked way up, plenty of beer and low-cut female outfits.

Each of the acts sounded as good as those Dolby cassette memories of the '80s, each delivering all of their hits, with a new song scattered here and there.

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A Def touch

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

An '80s band with staying power, Def Leppard plays with confidence, polish and undeniable pop-metal muscle in a doubleheader with rocker Bryan Adams.

With Mötley Crüe enjoying its most prosperous year since the first Bush administration and the reunited Iron Maiden and Judas Priest also doing big business, '80s metal bands haven't had it this good since, well, the '80s.

But even though they indulged in the hairspray and tight trousers, Def Leppard always was a different beast. Less threatening and more melodic, band members were more the children of Bowie than of Sabbath. Plus, girls liked them.

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1980s power-ballad acts make for nostalgic night

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

A review of Friday night's doubleheader concert with Def Leppard and Bryan Adams at Midway Stadium in St. Paul might read like the evening's weather report: pleasant, breezy, mild, lukewarm.

Two of rock's biggest hitmakers of the '80s — before being tossed aside in the '90s along with acid-washed jeans — pulled off something of a comeback. The concert drew close to 13,000 people, about 1,000 more than American icons Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson did three weeks earlier.

Both of Friday's acts were out to please their rediscovered masses in the easiest manner possible. That much was certain after they each wheeled out their ultra-sappy power ballads — you know, the kind of songs that every Top 40 rock band of the '80s put out to attract to teenage girls to buy their records. For Adams, it was "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" and "Heaven." For Def Lep, "Love Bites." The key word here is "bites."

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Def Leppard continues to ride success of the '80s

Friday, July 29th, 2005

Nothing's going to stop Def Leppard. Not age, not critics and certainly not tornadoes. Just one day before the band was to play Live 8 in Philadelphia, it was preparing for a show in Camden, N.J., when a storm brandishing 75 mph winds ripped through the area and soaked all of the group's electronics.

"Our whole A-rig was gone," guitarist Vivian Campbell said, telling the story in a phone interview. "Luckily, we sent our B-rig to Live 8. If (the tornado) would have gone through Philly, that Live 8 show wouldn't have gone. It was an intense couple of days."

Def Leppard hardly worries about ruined equipment. They've been through much worse – tanking record sales, an injury to drummer Rick Allen and the death of guitarist Steve Clark – and every time they've come back stronger than ever.

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Hard-rock band is getting soft

Friday, July 29th, 2005

Has Def Leppard become forgetful with advancing age?

Does the band have Alzheimer's? Or maybe amnesia?

Campbell and the rest of Def Leppard will rock Haymarket Park on Tuesday as co-headliners with fellow '80s hitmaker Bryan Adams.

Granted, the quintet hasn't forgotten how to crank out a crowd-pleasing revue of chart-toppers, as witnessed Wednesday night by 4,300 fans at the Peoria Civic Center.

But Def Leppard has forgotten that it once was a wall-shaking, hard-rock band.

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Def Leppard, Bryan Adams bring back hits

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

Vivian Campbell's not sure what happened – maybe it was renewed interest in all things '80s – but whatever it was, he's thrilled.

"We noticed a change about four or five years ago," the native Irishman said by phone from his home in Los Angeles. "All of a sudden, it's OK to admit you like Def Leppard."

Campbell and the rest of Def Leppard will rock Haymarket Park on Tuesday as co-headliners with fellow '80s hitmaker Bryan Adams.

The show is part of a summer tour of minor league ballparks.

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