Def Leppard Tease Upcoming Las Vegas Residency, Rock Hall Speech

Kevin Nixon
Def Leppard

Las Vegas is beckoning for Def Leppard again.

After extensive touring with Journey and the Pretenders during 2018, the incoming Rock and Roll Hall of Fame troupe's primary shows will be Def Leppard Hits Vegas: The Sin City Residency, a 12-show run starting Aug. 14 and wrapping Sept. 7 at the Zappos Theater in the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. It's a follow-up to the quintet's original spring 2013 Viva Hysteria! run at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, during which it performed its 1987 blockbuster Hysteria album in its entirety and also opened for itself as Ded Flatbird, playing deep and obscure catalog material.

"I love the city," frontman Joe Elliott -- who boasts a net $125 in slot machine winnings from his previous visits -- tells Billboard. "It's always been a bit of an eye-popping place to visit and the vibe is amazing. You see all sorts of stuff; I remember the last time we played there we turned up at about 6 in the morning and got to the hotel and there were literally naked chicks, G-strings and no top, jumping in and out of limousines. It was some kind of DJ party that just finished and they were all leaving and kind of forgot to put their clothes back on.

"We were like, 'Good God, welcome to the morning...' It was a very interesting thing. It didn't happen much in Sheffield when I was growing up."

Plans for the actual Sin City Residency show are still up in the air, however. "We haven't discussed that yet," guitarist Vivian Campbell says. "From a creative point of show I don't know what it's gonna be." Elliott says that Def Leppard's June 14 performance at the U.K.'s Download Festival will be the final performance of Hysteria in its entirety ("Unless we decide to do it again at 40 [years]," he notes), while the group's other scheduled performances "are just general sets."

"The thing with Vegas is you do have the psychological edge of being able to go, 'Well, it's Vegas, so we can do something a little different,'" Elliott adds. "So that will rear its head when we finally get together and discuss it. It's pretty obvious that 75 percent of the set picks itself -- it's the other 25 percent that gets you the headlines and gets your hardcore fans burning down the Internet.

"So we're in that exciting part where I know we're going to do something, I just don't know what it is."

Tickets for The Sin City Residency go on sale at 1 p.m. ET on Feb. 22 via Tickemaster and the Planet Hollywood box office.

Def Leppard is also preparing for another major gig this year -- its March 29 induction into the Rock Hall in Brooklyn, though like the Vegas shows Elliott says the group members "have no idea" what they're going to do. "I keep getting nudges from all the people who have been there before going, 'Got your speech written?'" Elliott says. "Actually -- no, I don't. I suppose in my mind I'm churning through what I'm going to say, little nuggets of genius leap into my mind and I jot them down on a sheet of paper. The one thing I’m definitely not going to do is over-indulge. I’ve seen some of these acceptance speeches that make War and Peace look like a two-page novel. I watched the Mike Love one where he trashed Jagger and stuff like that, and I'm like, 'Why are you doing that, picking a fight? It's not necessary. It's supposed to be a celebration!' Really, you just thank a few people, you acknowledge the good folks that have helped you get where you are and move on."

Elliott says Def Leppard has been asked to play three songs during the ceremony, which will be filmed for subsequent broadcast by HBO. The group has also made contact, via the Rock Hall, with original guitarist Pete Willis, who played on its first three albums. "I've not had any direct contact with him; the guys at the Hall of Fame were very excited to contact Pete direct, which was fine. He's totally welcome. We would welcome him there, no problem whatsoever. He was a big part of the beginning two years of this band. He deserves his day in the sun as well, if he wants it." But Elliott does not expect any representation from the family of late guitarist Steve Clark, who passed away during 1991.

"His brothers and his mum, they're very private people," says Elliott, who's also finishing a third album with his Mott the Hoople covers band Down 'n' Outz. "They're out of the loop, out of the limelight -- even when they were around when Steve was alive they were deer in the headlights in that kind of respect. It was not their world. I don't think they'd relish the opportunity, but as far as I know they have been asked." Elliott says guitarist Phil Collen spoke with Clark's mother Beryl during Def Leppard's December show in Sheffield. "He broached the subject with her and she was like, 'Nah, you boys should just enjoy it yourselves,'" Elliott says. "But (Clark) will be there with us in spirit, and we'll be sure to remember him to everybody."