Def Leppard – VIVA! Hysteria: Joe Elliot and Rick Savage tell all
English rock band Def Leppard are releasing a film, shot live in March 2013 at the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas – an all-out, no-holds-barred music concert extravaganza, entitled Def Leppard – VIVA! Hysteria and destined to rock cinema screens across the globe. Lead singer Joe Elliot and bassist Rick Savage chatted briefly to The Upcoming before a VIP premiere on Thursday evening.
Def Leppard – VIVA! Hysteria takes place during your residency at The Joint at the Hard Rock Café in Vegas – a venue normally associated with divas such as Celine Dion. What made you decide to film your performances there?
Joe Elliot: It’s changing – I mean Vegas has always been a residency town because that’s pretty much what it was built on. But as time goes on, rock ‘n’roll started to seep in and we were quite aware that we were about to be asked to perform there. Then they asked us just as we were coming to the end of our American tour, so it was a no-brainer really to say yes. The Hard Rock Café is amazingly more rock ‘n’ roll than you may think. I honestly believe that they will be bringing in bands like Linkin Park, Foo Fighters and even Green Day. When you think of a place full of slot machines, you think of Blackpool and you’re instantly thinking negative or comical thoughts. But it’s not really like that anymore. It’s totally changed.
Was a month just about enough for you or would you have done longer, considering you’re a band used to touring?
JE: Yes we are a band used to touring, but we’re also sick of being away for eight or nine months. When you’re 40 or 50 years old, you have an obligation to tour but you’ve also got an obligation to be a husband or a dad. You need to find balance. We’ll still tour, of course we will, because we enjoy playing live. Would we have done more than 11 shows?
Rick Savage: YES.
JE: Categorically, yes. They have asked us to go back so we probably will go back and do something different to Hysteria.
RS: I would do Hysteria all over again. We’d have to present it differently but I would.
JE: Yes and there were a lot of people who wanted to see us and missed out, so we would tour there again and possibly for longer. There were other things that evolved that prevented us from touring for longer. Day one when rehearsals started we found out that Vivien had cancer. He was given permission by his doctors to do the tour and start chemotherapy afterwards, but we would never have been able to extend the tour.
Do you enjoy watching yourselves on film?
RS: I have absolutely no desire to sit and watch. I was there!
JE: We’ve never been that kind of band that sit there, jerking off at ourselves on the telly. We spend so much energy doing what we’re doing, whether it’s a record deal or a tour, once it’s over it disappears into the background and we move on to the next thing.
Why Hysteria? What is it that you love about the album?
JE: For us it was the experience of doing the entire album from start to finish, something we haven’t done before. And when you listen to it, it’s a monster. It’s like it’s been created by 20 people; it’s like ten versions of Bohemian Rhapsody. But you can’t play Bohemian Rhapsody live – every time they’ve done it they’ve made it obvious that they were using tapes in the background. But this album, we made a conscious effort to pull off a live version of it as close to the record as we could get it. And that’s just testimony to the musicianship of specifically four guys in the band. I mean, there’s 11 different guitar parts and two guitarists. And it’s all out there, warts and all.
Def Leppard – VIVA! Hysteria is released nationwide on 19th September 2013.
For further information about Def Leppard and future events visit here.
Watch the trailer for Def Leppard – VIVA! Hysteria here: