Def Leppard – At The Apex Of Rock & Roll

Def Leppard tour Australia with Motley Crue November 2023.
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A seasoned all-rounder music writer and storyteller with a specialised interest in the history of rock.

It's been a wild ride over stormy ground for Def Leppard, but these animals are in peak condition.

"I think this is the apex of our career. We are in such a brilliant time," guitarist Phil Collen remarks. "We started a new phase of our career.

"Me and Joe [Elliot, vocalist] got really excited about songwriting for the 'Diamond Star Halos' album and it progressed in the 'Drastic Symphonies' thing [2023 remix album with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra], and we've done the best tour we've ever done – the US tour with Mötley Crüe, that was so much fun. More than that, it's the best we've ever been."

This bodes very well for Australian fans when Def Leppard bring their co-headline 'The World Tour' with Mötley Crüe to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in November.

Phil says Australian audiences will get to see the best version of Def Leppard ever following the phenomenal success of their North American 'The World Tour' run.

"The top five shows of our career have been in the last nine months, so that's a big deal," he says. "It's insane, scary, having this band being that good, and the production and everything.

"The whole thing was amazing, and you saw the audience react to it. I'm excited about it and I hope the [Australian] fans will be excited when they get to see it."

Def Leppard are a band that could easily rest on their laurels – they are one of the highest-selling bands of all time in terms of album and ticket sales, command a global legion of fans and are responsible for a swelling catalogue of beloved rock hits.

Yet for all they've accomplished in a career spanning 40-plus years, Phil says Def Leppard are still driven to achieve their ultimate goal: to be the greatest rock & roll band in the world.

"We were famous for being in the studio for three years, so while we were doing that other bands – Guns N' Roses, Bon Jovi, Metallica – they got to another level, and we felt we didn't quite get there because we had this deficit of being in the studio all the time.

"But I think we were being allowed to get there, and the goal is way bigger than that: we want to be the Rolling Stones. It's still a long way to go with that because they are on another level obviously," he laughs.

Formed in 1976 in Sheffield, England, Def Leppard presented themselves as a dominant force in the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM), alongside contemporaries like Iron Maiden and Motörhead that came to rule the world of rock during the '80s.

Phil joined the band in 1982 during the making of their third album 'Pyromania', a record that catapulted them to worldwide success.

Dual-wielding unique lead guitar chops and an aggressive vocal style complementary to Elliot's, Phil played an essential role alongside producer Mutt Lange in Def Leppard's evolution from homeland heroes into international rock legends.

However, it could have been all for nothing, when drummer Rick Allen was severely injured in a car crash in 1984 resulting in the amputation of his left arm.

Two years later in 1986, Def Leppard staged the live comeback of a lifetime at Monsters Of Rock festival at Donnington Castle when Rick walked onstage and took his rightful place behind the kit, where he remains to this day. It's the stuff of rock & roll legend and all part of the enduring Def Leppard legacy.

As they straddle the success of their past with the encouraging potential of their creative future, there is little standing in Def Leppard's way as they embrace their dual status as elder statesmen of rock and a productive, working band.

"If you're an artist, the lifeblood of an artist is to create, so we have the best of both worlds," Phil says. "[Our songs] are our babies. You play 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' and it goes down a storm, it's amazing.

"Why wouldn't you do that? Of course you would. So that, and we get the opportunity to play the new stuff as well, which is phenomenal."

Def Leppard & Motley Crue 2023 Tour Dates

Wed 8 Nov - Suncorp Stadium (Brisbane)
Sat 11 Nov - Giants Stadium (Sydney)
Tue 14 Nov - Marvel Stadium (Melbourne)

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