DEF LEPARD’s JOE ELLIOT: ‘Even Though We Had Sold Six Million Records, We Had A Seven-Year Debt With The Record Label To Clear’

Yeah, my child of the night. You think things are shady now. You have no idea how they were in the record company good old days. Bands made tons of money? Sure, they did. But they were ripped off in a regular basis. Def Lepard‘s vocalist Joe Elliot talked to This Is Money about those times. Take a look:

“We did not see a great deal of money until the autumn of 1983 when we got a cheque for the ‘Pyromania’ album and tour. By then, even though we had sold six million records, we had a seven-year debt with the record label to clear.

“Of course, when we did get that cheque, it was the biggest I had ever seen. I cannot remember exactly how much it was for but it was more than £20,000 – the equivalent of £65,000 today.

“But because of our debts, we did not see any real money until 1988 when ‘Hysteria’ shifted 12 million copies worldwide.”

About the early days:

“Of course. In 1978 [around the time Def Leppard were founded], we were all living with our parents, working during the day for £10 or £15 a week, and gigging at night. We had to buy guitars on credit and ‘borrow’ things.

“Sometimes, at the end of a long day, we would buy one pint and sip from four straws so we could afford the bus fare home.”