Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott Cautious on Rock Hall Optimism After Judas Priest’s 2017 Experience
While Def Leppard has been eligible for a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination since 2005, the band just made the ballot for the first time this week. Frontman Joe Elliott, who years ago claimed the band would “politely refuse” a nomination because he could name 100 other artists “more important than us that aren’t in there,” has since had a change of heart, but is being realistic about the nod.
Elliott opens up with Billboard about being nominated for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame saying the band’s 13-year wait is nothing compared to some other artists, who are still holding their breath. Elliot says, “You’re looking the likes of Todd Rundgren (23 years) and Roxy Music (21 years) and Devo (15 years), and it took them long enough to get a nomination. So I don’t feel bad now that we got overlooked when you see people like them, people I was out buying their records when I was 12 years old. So it’s alright. It’s kinda cool.”
The vocalist is being incredibly realistic about the nomination saying, "I'm not gonna hold my breath because I know how this can go. Judas Priest didn't get in last year, and it's a big disappointment for them that they didn't. So I'm not taking anything for granted."
He also shares his change in attitude about the Rock Hall. "When I look at the list of who's in, it's just obvious you'd want to be in that club, isn't it?" he admits. "When you think that every band that means anything in the world, starting from the Beatles and the Stones and any artist that influenced them -- your Chuck Berrys, your Little Richards, etc. etc. -- then, of course, you want to be in. Why wouldn't you?"
The Def Leppard frontman learned of the band’s nod just after they wrapped their tour with Journey on Sunday night (Oct. 7) in Los Angeles. Elliott shares, “I'm on vapors 'cause we've just done 60 shows all over the U.S., I've got a glass of chardonnay and I'm thinking, 'As one door closes, another one opens...' I mean, it's not really gonna change my life, really, one way or the other -- but Jon Bon Jovi has been telling me for at least 12 months that yes, it will."
The singer was also thrilled to learn that the group’s original guitarist Pete Willis, who left Def Leppard after their 1981 album High ‘n’ Dry, will be included on the Rock Hall roster. “Pete is very important in the very early embryonic version of this band," he says. The singer adds that if the group is inducted that Willis could emerge into the public eye for the first time in years. "I really couldn't tell you how that's going to pan out," Elliott shares. "Would we welcome his company? Well, why not? If he's nominated, he's rightly nominated. He does deserve to be on the list."
Def Leppard will head back out on the road playing shows in Hawaii, Japan, and Australia celebrating the 30th anniversary of their Hysteria album. At the shows the band will be playing the album in its entirety. The outing kicks off with a two-night stand at the Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii on Oct. 19 and 20. See their tour dates here.
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