Def Leppard earned six top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 and four top ten songs on the Hot 100 in the process of climbing to the pinnacle of hard rock fame in the late 80s. But unlike most of its big-haired peers, the band never descended into "Behind The Music"-ready burn-out. Instead, led by guitarist Phil Collen and singer Joe Elliott, the band has kept on recording and touring ever since, becoming one of the summer's only sure-thing tours each year.
Now, with a new fanbase courtesy of its triumphant CMT Music Awards performance with Taylor Swift --"she's been a [Def Leppard] fan since she could crawl," Elliott says -- a virtually sold-out tour with Poison and Cheap Trick, and the deluxe reissues of its classic albums "Pyromania" and "Adrenalize," the band is back in the spotlight. Joe Elliott dropped by Billboard.com's studios to talk about Def Leppard's past, present and future.
Performing with Swift at the awards was, "a highlight of the night for me, obviously," Elliott says. "But it was a highlight of the night for everyone from what I'm being told. It was nice to be invited into that area of music, where we've never really strayed before other than working with Tim McGraw on the album. That was more like Tim going rock than Leppard going country."
"We're ten years past the nineties and the nineties were a huge disappointment to the nineties kids I believe," Elliott says of the music of the era that followed Def Leppard's 80s heyday. "If you look at bands that came out in the 80s that are still going, there are dozens of them [that] are still selling out stadiums or arenas now. Where you can't count on one finger really the number of 90s bands that are doing that."