Even as Joe Elliott releases the first album by his side project, Down 'n' Outz, Def Leppard is hatching plans for some archival projects in 2011. Elliott tells Billboard.com that the group, which is taking 2010 off from touring, is putting together a live album culled from its 2009 tour that may include some new material as well.
"We've got tentative plans to do a four- or five-track EP of new songs as part of it," Elliott explains, citing inspiration from previous concert releases such as Kiss' "Alive II," Ian Hunter's "Welcome to the Club" and Genesis' "Three Sides Live," all of which included fresh songs. The set will actually be Def Leppard's first full-scale live album, since the group has only released concert recordings on compilations and recent deluxe editions of "Pyromania," "Hysteria" and "Adrenalize."
"There'll be stuff from this century on it -- 'Rock On,' 'Nine Lives,' 'Come On Come On,' " Elliott notes. "Vivian [Campbell] has been in the band 17 years, so I think he deserves a shot at being on a live record. We've got a live video out from the Steve [Clark] era, [1989's] 'In the Round, In Your Face;' I've always said before that if you're desperate to hear us live, put that video on and turn your telly off and just listen to the sound."
Elliott says Def Leppard is also thinking about a box set and is starting to put together a couple of books, after purchasing some 250,000 images from veteran photographer Ross Halfin.
"I think initially we're going to put out a coffee table book...that covers all aspects of our career, from 'On Through the Night' through last year, with commentary from the band and the photographer and maybe a few celebrities and fans," Elliott says. The group intends to follow with what he calls "an encyclopedia collection of different eras from the band." And, Elliott adds, the group members are writing new material and will likely do a full new album. "I don't want my past to be my future as well," he says. "I'd like to think we can still keep putting new music out."
Meanwhile, Elliott is particularly excited about the just-released "My ReGeneration," his first released with Down 'n' Outz, a band he formed with the Quireboys to pay homage to mutual heroes Mott the Hoople. The group came together, in fact, to open for one of Mott's 2009 reunion shows at the Hammersmith Odeon and put together a 13-song set that features covers of post-Hoople material, including the short-lived Mott and British Lions and frontman Ian Hunter's solo career. Down 'n' Outz plans two more albums, according to Elliott, which will include Mott the Hoople material, as well as a DVD due out later this year.
"It's satisfying an itch I needed to scratch," Elliott says of Down 'n' Outz, which will perform again on July 25 at the High Voltage festival in London, preceded by a warm-up club show. "This music is really close to my heart. I love these songs and I want people to know about them. I've taken it upon myself to try to slap a few people metaphorically across the face and say there's more to classic rock than 'Free Bird' and 'Stairway to Heaven.' I have nothing against those songs, but there's more to that era than them."