Good day all,
There are certain things that happen in music that are both amazing and a great show of selflessness. These things happen few and far between, and when they do they are usually ignored by a media machine that thrives more on the negative than the positive. A good reason why a TV show and company like TMZ is in existence. But I digress, a lot of the good things that happen in music happen within a band or a group of people associated with a specific band or singer. Sometimes it is an intervention, other times it is sticking by a band mate when they are having some type of mental or physical issues (much like Metallica stood by James Hetfield when he was going through sobriety and some personal issues.) and I say good for those bands who do those types of things, come through relatively unscathed and move on to continue great careers or see some benefit for the sacrifices they have made for their fellow band mate.
Def Leppard is a band that has two amazing moments in their career, one that should be looked upon with great reverence, and the other that is the epitome of hypocrisy. Let’s discuss the first moment. During the peak of Def Leppard’s success they were met with the unfortunate tragedy of their young drummer being in a car accident and losing his arm. Obviously, this was a major blow not only to the drummer Rick Allen, but also to the band as they had to deal with deciding what to do with their careers and their band. How can a band go on with a one-armed drummer? If he were a singer it would be different and as long as he healed physically and emotionally the band could continue with relative ease. The problem was he was a drummer. Luckily for Rick Allen, his band mates were willing and determined to help him recover and continue on with the band. They assisted him in creating a drum kit that could be played mostly with his feet which allowed him to move forward with the band and in turn create one of the highest grossing albums and tours in heavy metal history. With a remarkable seven singles released from the album. Not many bands would have waited for their one-armed drummer to return, and not many bands probably would have survived this kind of set back. Good thing he wasn’t a guitar player. So in the end Def Leppard should always be remembered for something that will probably never happen again in music!
Now on to the hypocrisy that is Def Leppard. Def Leppard were a staple of the 1980-1990 heavy metal scene. More on the glam/hair metal side of things, even part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, but metal none the less. They have toured with Motley Crue, Poison, Whitesnake, and many others in the heavy metal realm. They headlined their tour in support of Hysteria and played to sold out shows throughout the world with support from the bands Tesla, McAuley Schenker Group, Queensryche and LA Guns, all heavy metal acts.
In 2008 they release “Songs from the Sparkle Lounge”, a departure from their heavier music and it was at this time that Joe Elliot made the statement that “We’ve never been heavy metal”, oh really? So, Def Leppard has never been heavy metal, they just used the genre and all of the acts they played with for the benefit of making money and selling albums without ever being a heavy metal band. Not to mention the fact that two of their best albums “On Through the Night” and “Pyromania” are two of the better heavy metal albums produced in the 1980’s. But no, they are not heavy metal! You may ask why this irks me so much, well it is because Def Leppard decided that they want to go mainstream to sell albums now and to do that they had to distance themselves from heavy metal. You know the musical genre that gave them the ability to keep making music and having their names in lights. To take a different direction after years of playing metal is fine, Queensryche has done it, even Brett Michaels has taken a dip into the country world, but they all still accept that they are metal bands first and foremost. It is OK to take a new approach to your music, but to remove yourself from the heavy metal landscape and history just so you can reach out to an older audience is unacceptable to me. They made all of their success and fortune being a heavy metal band and all of a sudden that genre is not good enough for them. To that I say “so be it”, Def Leppard please continue to put out mediocre albums and we in the metal world will ignore them just like you want to ignore us. And in case you are curious, yes I have been stewing about this since Joe Elliot first said those remarks a couple of years ago.
Song of the Day: http://youtu.be/OVXv97cBNzY
Until Later, Peace