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Music legends Joe Elliott and Rick Savage discuss Hard Rock Hotel and Hysteria


17 September 2013

As Def Leppard Viva! Hysteria hits our screens on September 19, we had the great pleasure in sitting down with band members Joe Elliott and Rick Savage to discuss the forthcoming production.

The film is a recording of a live performance the renowned British band played at The Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, where they did a nine night residency earlier this year. Playing their infamous album Viva! Hysteria in its entirety, we asked the band about their experiences on tour, the challenges in playing an album in its original order – and the state of modern music. And yes, One Direction do get a mention.

 

Obviously this is a film based on your residency at the Hard Rock in Vegas, can you take us through what made you decide to do a residency. It's traditionally thought as being the sort of thing Cher and Celine Dion would do.

Joe Elliott: Exactly.

Rick Savage: That was one of the reasons.

JE: We fancied wearing a dress. It's changing, the thing is it's evolving, Vegas is probably always going to be a residency town because that's pretty much what it was built on, but as time goes on Deano and Sammy David and Frankie all die off, and Elvis dies off, and something has to come along and replace it. Celine did a nine month residency and I guess the building thought "What are we going to do for three months?" and they bring in Elton John. Elton John was probably the first of what we may class as a rocker to do a residency there, and then a couple of years after that Cheap Trick went through doing the Sergeant Pepper album with a 36-piece orchestra. They were there for two, three weeks and then the Hard Rock hotel decided to take it another step further. They brought in Motley Crüe, Guns N Roses, and we were aware of the fact that when they were coming through, which was about two years ago, that we were about to get asked. We were just waiting. And then they did, when we were just coming to the end of our American tour for our Mirrorball album, and it was a no-brainer to say yes. It's not the kind of Wayne Newton type place everyone seems to think it is anymore, it's all Pirates of the Caribbean.

RS: Crazy golf.

JE: Kiss Crazy Golf.

RS: It's actually a lot more rock and roll than you'd imagine because I suppose the image was created from the 60's and the 70's with Elvis or whoever, or whatever, but seriously in the last ten or fifteen years it's been very rock and roll orientated. It just seems the logical thing now they're getting, apart from us, Guns N Roses have done it.

JE: Prince just followed us in, The Who followed us in. They didn't do as long a residency, but they were still doing multiple shows. There'll be loads more coming through, seriously I honestly believe that, they have to settle down in their DNAs to want to do it, but I will not be surprised if they don't get the Foo Fighters or Linkin Park, that kind of band, Green Day, doing this, because it's really a swift turn. People think of a place that's just full of slot machines, like Blackpool, and you're instantly thinking negative or comical thoughts. Flanagan and Allen, David Essex or something. It's not like that anymore, it's really totally changed.

 

Would you have liked to have done longer?

JE: We are a band that's used to touring, we're also a band that's fed up for being out for nine months as well. When you're 21 and you don't have a house or a wife or a kid, you've got to get on tour, you don't want to be at home. But then when you get 25 years older than that, priorities change and you have an obligation to tour, but you also have an obligation to be a dad or a husband as well, so you've got to find a fine balance. This is a great fine balance. We'll still tour, of course we will, because we actually enjoy playing live, but it's nice to stagger it a bit of it. Would we have done longer than eleven shows?

RS: Yes. Categorically can say yes. Now how many is a harder question to answer, but the experience was so good.

JE: I don't think I could do nine months like Celine. We aren't divas, what she did, apparently she had a house on the backstage made as an exact replica of where she lives, so it looked like she was at home. I don't blame her, I get it, and that's the part of the diva thing that I get. The million people entourage thing I don't, but for someone to say "If I'm going to be here for nine months, I want it to look like where I live" so they spent half a million dollars doing it up, they're going to make four hundred million, they can afford it. That bit I can understand. We'd have played more, they've asked us to go back so at some stage we are going to come back and do something different to Hysteria, I imagine. But we'd go back.

RS: I'd go back and do Hysteria all over again. It would have to be presented differently, obviously.

 

Did you go to the Kiss mini-golf?

JE: I did. While we were in Vegas we took advantage of the fact that we were there for the month, and we actually shot a documentary which has yet to see the light of day, not a reality show I must add, but just filming us doing whatever you do when you're not on stage, and one of the things I did was...when I drove past it, because I know Gene, and he said "You've got to go play my golf course", I'm thinking it's a real golf, thinking "Wow, they've really branched out" I thought they bought four hundred acres of land, I didn't know there was grass in Vegas. But it was an indoor mini-golf all done in black, with coffins and the usual, platform shoes.

RS: Basically it's for people who can't play golf.

JE: And of course they wanted to film me going, so I went over there with our tour manager.

RS: Gene Simmons wouldn't do anything unless there was an angle in it for him. Getting Joe to be filmed at his golf course is perfect.

JE: I did go, and it's like every crazy golf course, it's stupid but its funny. Instead of having windmills that you have to time it, you have platform boots or tongues to shoot down.

 

Any plans for your own golf course there?

JE: No, I don't get on other people's golf courses often enough. I've got a council course down the bottom of the hill where I live, it's only fifteen quid a round and that's good enough for me. I'm yet to play at par.

RS: Most golf courses that we've ever played, and we play when we're on tour once a week, sometimes twice a week, they go round clockwise, but Joe's left handed and he completely forever swerving to the left.

JE: I slice.

RS: If a golf course was shaped to the left, he'd be brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

JE: It's like watching the Red Arrows display team.

 

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

 

 

Def Leppard Viva! Hysteria Film Page | Win a T-Shirt and Poster signed by Joe Elliott

The film is showing at cinemas across the UK from Thursday 19th September 2013. For further info please go to www.defleppard.com