Better known for his one-of-a-kind voice, the front man for not one but two world famous rock bands, and his Sheffield roots, Joe Elliott of Def Leppard and Down N Outz spoke to the Yorkshire Evening Post after getting back from a co-headline tour with Kiss over in the USA during the summer.
“Playing live now matters more than it ever did before,” he says.
“When Def Leppard first came about, we were competing with the likes of Michael and Janet Jackson and the Princes, but then again, the infrastructure was in place back then.
“The music industry is a shadow of its former self, and you have to change and adapt with it, which is why live performances matter so much now.
“These days you put out a record to promote a tour, which shows it has completely gone backwards.
“Not many people want to hear new material any more; I mean if Paul McCartney goes out on tour, people don’t want to hear his new album, they just want to hear Beatles songs, and that’s just the way it is if you have been around for a long time.”
Down N Outz – the band 55-year-old Elliott formed with members of The Quireboys, Raw Glory and The Union to perform the songs of Mott the Hoople and its various offshoots – are touring the UK this month, and released their second album earlier this year, so I was eager to find out how it all came about.
“Well, Mott The Hoople were a relatively successful band, but unfortunately not as successful as Def Leppard, so when I was asked to help out with a show in London, they were pretty flattered when I agreed.
“I don’t know – maybe it was the underdog thing or something, also maybe I was in the right place at the right time, I was only 12 when All the Young Dudes became a massive hit, so I was the one jumping up and down in the school yard saying I told you so when everyone was still talking about Led Zeppelin. That was Mott’s fifth album!
“I have met them all over the years – I mean, Ian Hunter was at my wedding, so we are very good friends. His wife, Judy asked me to help out with the last show of their tour, and I thought she meant introduce them, but she suggested opening up for them in London.
“The promoter suggested the Quireboys as my band, and they agreed, so what was supposed to be a one-off 45-minute performance turned in to this – two albums in and now a touring band.”
Down N Outz play at Fibbers, York tonight and at Corporation in Sheffield on Thursday. http://www.downnoutz.net/