How has the summer tour been going?
Very good, thank you. Ticket sales have been insane. We’ve been doing some really outrageous numbers. Birmingham, Alabama, was 18,000 people. Dallas was 20,000. So it’s been a great tour. But it’s also been a hot one — it was 122 in the shade in Austin. When you’re onstage under the lights and in full regalia, and there’s audience members passing out just from watching you, it makes you wonder how you get through. Fortunately, we love playing.
“Let’s Go,” the lead track on Def Leppard as well as the first single, is clearly about that love for playing. You sing, “Welcome to the party/Welcome to the edge of your seat.”
It’s a call to arms, you know? Rick Savage wrote 80 percent of the song. I wrote the verses, he wrote all the music and the choruses. He came in with it, and we knew it was a classic Def Leppard song. It’s that three-minute pop-rock stuff with big chunky guitars and a big chorus. And it has that swaggering, mid-tempo rhythm, like “Sugar,” and “Rock of Ages.” The idea was, we wanted something familiar. I mean, when AC/DC comes back after years away, you’re not going to get “Bohemian Rhapsody” from ’em, you know? And you don’t want it, either — you want “Back in Black,” or something like it. For us, this is what we do. And it’s something we enjoy doing.
That said, there’s also a lot of variety on the album.
It’s got everything from Bowie to Queen to Zeppelin to, well, Def Leppard. And, yeah, “Let’s Go” could be the long-lost cousin of “Sugar.” And “Dangerous” sounds a little like “Photograph.” We know that. We’re aware of it. But that’s only part of the picture. There’s 14 tracks, and there are things like “Invincible,” which kind of sounds like a cross between Billy Idol and the Psychedelic Furs. We don’t shy away from an idea because it’s not in our typical bandwidth.
The thing is, we’ve never been a straight-ahead metal band that’s gonna sound like Megadeth or Metallica or something like that. We’ve just got too much melody in our heads. We like too much variety. We like the acoustic guitar. We like the keyboard. We like the Mellotron. We like the Beatles and the Stones. We like Slade and Sweet and T. Rex. We didn’t just grow up on Black Sabbath.
“We like the Beatles and the Stones. We like Slade and Sweet and T. Rex. We didn’t just grow up on Black Sabbath.”
But there is a distinct Def Leppard sound — the one solidified on Pyromania and especially Hysteria — that you will forever be associated with. Did you ever feel you wanted to get far away from that?