Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen will never forget the support he received after losing his arm in a car crash in 1984.
"Everyone was there for me; I got letters from all over the place, places I couldn't even pronounce," said Allen, 44, who continued drumming with the British rock band after the amputation of his left arm.
His loss and famous subsequent recovery led to the Raven Drum Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower those in crisis through healing arts programs, drumming events and partnerships that support global healing.
Archive for 2007
I've added a new sample of a cover of Photograph performed by "The Lullaby Ensemble" to the Audio section.
I've finalized and archived the listing of the 2007 Downstage Thrust tour dates to match the reality of what dates happened and didn't happen. There is no information available for any possible 2008 dates at this time.
The past caught up to the present Friday night when Def Leppard, Styx and Foreigner came to town — H.G. Wells would have been proud.
The four-hour concert was a musical time machine as the three bands played their hits, some of which were originally released some 30 years ago.
In fact, the only new song played during the night was "Everything All the Time," by Styx. And even that song complemented the other Stygian hits such as "Too Much Time on My Hands" and "Come Sail Away."
Foreigner started things off right.
The band now consists of founder/guitarist Mick Jones, vocalist Kelly Hanson, bassist Jeff Pilson, keyboardist Jeff Jacobs, saxophonist/guitarist Thom Gimbel and drummer Jason Bonham (although Bonham was replaced by the band's drum tech during Friday's show). But the lineup difference didn't stop the band from playing one of the best shows of their career.
Styx and Def Leppard were in true rock ‘n' roll form Wednesday on the Oklahoma City stop of their world tour. Celebrating their 30th anniversaries, the bands proved that they can still rock and still draw thousands of frenzied fans to their shows.
Styx opened the show with "Blue Collar Man,” one of the band's 29 hit singles. The audience, an eclectic mix of 30- and 40-something professionals, their kids and air hair-band members galore couldn't get enough of Tommy Shaw's sizzling guitar solos and Lawrence Gowan's swiveling keyboard and DeYoung-esque vocals and flamboyant choreography.
The September night air was cool and dry, perfect for an outdoor concert. Styx rocked the Zoo Amphitheater for about an hour. With only half of the original founding members, the band managed to sound better than ever. Todd Sucherman kept perfect time with his dynamic drumming, having replaced Styx' original drummer, John Panozzo, who died in 1996. Also missing from the mix was Chuck Panozzo, the band's original guitarist, whose ongoing battles with AIDS and cancer have turned him into more of a health advocate than rock star in recent years.
Call them dinosaur rockers if you like, since these bands' heydays were a good 20 years ago. But there's no denying the showmanship of Styx, Foreigner and Def Leppard. Playing for 17,000 fans Saturday night at Smirnoff Music Centre, each group had its classic moment on the platform.
For Styx, the magic came together by the end of its 45-minute set. Keyboardist and occasional lead singer Lawrence Gowan appeared solo center stage and began to belt the opening lines of "Come Sail Away." Before long, he was behind his rotating organ doing the tune's familiar ballad intro. Then it went full band.
Mr. Gowan and his musical mates swooshed through the progressive rock staple. They cranked it out as if their futures depended on it.
Well, not for me (Beck was on the radio when I graduated), but for the majority of the fans packed into the Smirnoff Music Centre to see Styx, Foreigner and Def Leppard on Saturday, it was a good, fun, old-school nostalgia trip.
And the bands obliged, too. For nearly four hours, fans heard nearly nothin' but the hits, like Come Sail Away from Styx, Hot Blooded from Foreigner and Foolin' from Def Leppard.
Truthfully, all three acts really seemed to put their all into the performance. Most of these guys are sliding toward old age, and they're still running across the stage with the best of them.
"Why would you? … We're musicians, and our job is to play for people. And the more we play and the more people we play in front of, the happier we feel," he said in a phone interview from his Dublin, Ireland, home.
"We always wanted to be the biggest band in the world. For a little while, we were. Who's to say that we won't get it back? But even if we're not, you know, we're one of that elite few that can still play (for) 20,000 people."
On its latest U.S. tour, the British quintet, along with Styx, will play Wednesday night at the Zoo Amphitheatre, 2101 NE 50.
Def Leppard hit the road in June, though the group had just finished in November touring with its 2006 album "Yeah!," a collection of covers. In between, members gathered at Elliott's home and studio to work on a new album, which the singer said is about 80 percent finished.
Fans of classic arena rock can relive the energy, the exhilaration and the earsplitting tumult that embodied '70s and '80s concerts this weekend when several icons of the era perform at area venues.
Def Leppard, Styx and Foreigner will perform on Friday, Aug. 24, 7 p.m., at Ford Amphitheatre, Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N., Tampa. Tickets range from $25 to $75.
Born in 1977, English hard rock band Def Leppard topped charts in the '80s with hits from the back-to-back albums "Pyromania" and "Hysteria," including "Photograph," "Rock of Ages," "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "Love Bites."
Following a peculiar trend in music, Def Leppard produced no original material for their most recent studio release, opting instead to record a collection of cover songs. Few bands that have made the 30-year mark would feel comfortable conceding their glam rock roots, but the lineup on Leppard's 2006 "Yeah!" prove they have no issue with their past. While "Yeah!" lacks creativity, the band does no disservice to original recordings such as "20th Century Boy" by T. Rex and "Waterloo Sunset" by the Kinks.
When Def Leppard launched into "Rock of Ages" for its encore Sunday night at Freedom Hall, they provided the theme song for an evening of classic rock — and classic rock 'n' rollers.
The multiplatinum English band was joined by Foreigner and Styx, bands whose resumes date back to the 1970s. They played to a nearly full house of fans who also had resumes dating back to the '70s, if not earlier, and they were treated to a loaded jukebox worth of vintage hits.
Def Leppard headlined the show, the rare Kentucky State Fair finale dedicated to rock instead of country, and delivered a strong set of its trademark deeply layered, highly catchy music.
Twenty years ago this month, British rock band Def Leppard created a little mass hysteria across the world, especially in the United States.
In August of 1987, the band released its fourth studio album, "Hysteria." Def Leppard hoped the new album would ride the success of 1983's multi-platinum-selling "Pyromania." It did that, and more.
"Hysteria" charted six hits — "Love Bites," "Pour Some Sugar On Me," "Armageddon It," "Rocket," "Animal" and the title track — and has gone on to sell more than 18 million albums worldwide. Its success, said guitarist Phil Collen, has been unbelievable.
Pennsylvania was the first of sixteen states so far to enact something called the Truth in Music law, which prevents imposter groups with no original members from billing themselves as that group.
So far, it has applied mostly to groups like the Platters, the Coasters, the Drifters and other vocal groups from the '50s, the imposters now being forced to present themselves as tribute acts.
But two of the three bands at Hershey Stadium Sunday night come dangerously close in their present lineups to violating if not the letter, the spirit of such legislation.
The only band to have nearly all its original members at last night's Hersheypark Stadium show was the British group Def Leppard, but no one seemed to care — it was a night of remembering times spent at the record player with headphones on.
Def Leppard is between albums, which might have been a good thing, considering its eclectic set list. Opening with a "Hysteria" album double of "Rocket" and "Animal," the band — members were in lockstep all night — then slipped in the rarely heard "Excitable," from the same album. It's great to hear a band take a chance and play something just because it wants to.
Singer Joe Elliott made a good many of the night's high notes, including on "Foolin,'" but it was hard to hear him. His vocals and those of guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell and bassist Rick Savage were often muffled and muted. Another rarity, "Mirror, Mirror," was stately and featured lovely dual playing from Collen and Campbell but could have been a touch faster.
The heavy metal band Icarus Witch will include a cover of the Def Leppard song Mirror, Mirror on their new album "Songs for the Lost". "Songs for the Lost" will be released on Septermber 11, 2007 from the Cleopatra Label Group and is produced by Eric Klinger.
The version of Mirror, Mirror will feature former Deep Purple singer Joe Lynn Turner.
While Joe Elliott is happy to endlessly discuss the differences between Def Leppard and Guns N' Roses, he's got no problem discussing embarrassing videos and why his band will never be Radiohead. Before Def Leppard's headlining gig Saturday at the Tweeter Center, the frontman waxed poetic about his past and present.
Herald: So what specifically makes you so different from Guns N' Roses?
Elliott: OK, I'll tell you this. For a long time the Rolling Stones had the tag of the most dangerous band in the world, but I've never heard of them going on at midnight. If they were due on at nine, they came on at nine. If you're going to be a dangerous band you don't have to do it like Axl did where you piss off as many people as you pleasure. With us it's all about the pleasure. We don't have an agenda and we don't try and court the press to make us look better than we are or worse then we are. We get on with it.
The associated news article can be found here.