Roadkill

Def Leppard
Southpark Meadows

Saturday, August 3

Back in 1983-'84, Van Halen and Def Leppard ruled the hard rock arena circuit with larger-than-life hair, hooks, and stage shows. But even as Van Halen begat Van Hagar, Def Leppard stayed virtually the same - save for drummer Rick Allen's arm and guitarist Steve Clarke's liver and life. Now, in the year of the reunion, Def Leppard has returned unbroken to tour behind Slang. But what should be a triumphant Leppard comeback is so far meeting with deafening disinterest. Could it be that the news of David Lee Roth's return to Van Halen stole their thunder?

"It's very weird, but I must admit nothing surprises me anymore," says Joe Elliot, who has fronted Def Leppard through 22 years and 40 million records. "I can't say I was shocked but I was like `You're joking.' Then I thought `Wow, that's pretty cool.' I have a high regard for Sammy Hagar and loved the first two Montrose albums, but Van Halen sort of became an `adult' band when Sammy joined... And as a fan of the early David Lee Roth stuff, I'm kind of very intrigued to see what happens."

And could what happens - a reunion record and stadium tour - have Def Leppard kicking themselves for their own longevity?

"It's funny," says Elliot, "We've been talking about that. It seems like if you want to get back on top, you've got to split up for five years. Knowing our luck, even if we did that as a career move, it wouldn't work when we reformed... There's nothing about Def Leppard that makes people want to rush out and go because `Hey, we might not see them anymore.' There's no fight between Axl and Slash in Def Leppard. There's no antagonistic relationship that there is between Jagger/Richards and Daltrey/Townshend - or between anybody where you think half the reason you like them is because they're on the edge because they don't get on as people. We're reliable and maybe that bores people a little bit." - Andy Langer

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