Def Leppard Viva! Hysteria Interview
Def Leppard Viva! Hysteria Interview
With the cinema release of their concert film Viva! Hysteria rocking cinemas up and down the land, vocalist Joe Elliott and Rick Savage from legendary British rock band Def Leppard chatted with View about rock, Las Vegas, playing classic tracks and albums, and how the music world has changed.
A lot of bands release live DVDs so why a Def Leppard movie?

Joe Elliott

Well, it’s not really a movie, is it, because nobody dies. I don’t save anybody in the last minute, neither does Sav. Movie is a funny word - it’s not one we chose to call it. To me it’s a live performance. It’s just a gig. It doesn’t have any documentary bits in it as such, it’s just a case of bringing Def Leppard live into a cinema situation, which is becoming kind of trendy to do. I’ve seen a couple of these myself and they’re even bringing in live gigs actually ‘live’ live. I think Robbie Williams from the Ukraine was in some cinemas so I think it’s just a new experience and people thinking ‘We should put rock n roll on in cinemas'.

Let’s face it, that’s how it kind of broke with movies like Rock Around The Clock and Rock, Rock, Rock when they tore the seats out all over America, I think people maybe didn’t want to do it for another 50 years and now it’s coming back.
How have the Def Leppard live shows evolved over the years?

Rick Savage

It’s always evolving and always changing because there are things like the Viva Hysteria event that come up and put you in different positions where you’re having to play songs that maybe you haven’t played for 25 years. From our point of view that’s great because it’s away from the norm and you’re doing something that feels fresh, even though you’re playing something that’s very old. But to us it’s fresh and whatever way you can do it, you can’t get better than making things different every time you do something.
You played Hysteria in its entirety every night during your residency of the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas – how was it revisiting some of the songs that you may not get to play that often?

Joe Elliott

That was the fun part. There’s probably three or four tracks that we wouldn’t traditionally play year on year and those were the songs that we enjoyed playing the most.
Are you writing any new material at the moment?

Joe Elliott

We did write a song, well… we did start a song off while we were in Vegas. We thought we’d have more time to do it but we got one song on the go. We’re constantly writing – sometimes they get finished, sometimes they get left behind and sometimes they’ll get finished next year. If we wake up with an idea, you don't let it slip away. You either write it down or hum something into a microphone. If our eyes are open, we’re working somewhere or other.

At this point in time we’re promoting and letting the movie do all the work. Let’s not forget that we’ve got a guitarist (Vivian Campbell) who’s in recovery from cancer and Phil’s (Collen – lead guitarist of Def Leppard) just had an operation on his hand so he’s in a cast for eight weeks so it’s either me and Sav playing guitar or we don’t do it at all.
How is Viv?

Joe Elliott

Viv’s doing alright. I think his last chemo is later this week and then technically it’s six months of waiting around and seeing what they say but I think he’s already kind of confident that it’s gone.
Any chance of seeing you play live in the UK soon? Maybe Download next year?

Joe Elliott

No, no, we’ve done Download twice in the last four years and I don’t think they want us back anytime soon. Actually we were talking about this earlier, England’s a strange place to play if you’ve got nothing to promote. We just did France and Spain for the first time in 17 years and that made it an event, but to come back and do England again after the tour we did two years ago with Motley Crue, when we were still promoting songs like Undefeated and Kings Of the World, when we had something new to play, there seemed a point to it. But until we have a new record out, I think we’ll have to play it by ear.

It’s a different industry now; it’s not just a case of make an album, go out on tour, make an album, go out on tour. Look at what Roger Waters is doing. It’s not dissimilar to what we just did. He’s got The Wall and he’s having to play every song in sequence and that’s a double album and he’s taking it on the road. Who’s to say someone won’t say, ‘Bring Viva Hysteria on the road’. It hasn’t happened yet but someone might say it and we might say yes or we might say no. We’re having a bit of downtime now, which is nice.

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Content updated: 18/07/2018 12:00

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