Joe Elliott, like many other “legacy” artists, is stuck in the middle of artistry and commerce. The lead singer and guitarist with Def Leppard, Elliott still writes songs that are important to him, but knows that the fans who grew up on multiplatinum albums like 1983’s Pyromania, 1987’s Hysteria and 1992’s Adrenalize attend Def Leppard shows to hear the hits from those records.
During my hour-long conversation with Elliott, though, he turned out to be refreshingly honesty and, frankly, far more blunt than most of his peers typically are when discussing the issues faced by bands with lengthy histories.
“I’m not ready to become somebody who just tours and [plays] old songs and never [makes] another record again,” Elliott tells me. We all have too many ideas in our heads [for] songs that need to be written. Whether or not people buy them, it’s irrelevant. I have to get them out of my head, or I’ll go mad.”