During a recent appearance on “Rock Talk with Mitch Lafon,” DEF LEPPARD singer Joe Elliott talked about the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, saying he was never much of a fan of the whole movement, and that he didn’t like that his band getting lumped into it.
When asked about the movement and how Leppard “moved away” from it, Elliott responded: “We didn’t move away from anything because we were never in it. We were put there by other people and we would sit there kicking and screaming because youth being what it is. You’re doing, ‘Don’t lump me in with that lot!’ To me, there were only ever two bands that came out of that movement, and it was us and IRON MAIDEN, that have actually made something of themselves.
“There was a lot of potential that fell by the wayside. To me, put in either of those two bands in the New Wave [of British Heavy Metal] thing, it’s like saying that THE BEATLES were part of the Mersey Sound. They weren’t, they were THE BEATLES, they invented everything. Everybody else followed in their footsteps, in their slipstream.
“A lot of these bands, it was just because of the time period. Disco was dying on its arse, New Wave was taking over as a pop phenomenon right now rather than punk, and it was time for some rock music back in because, in 1975, that was the last time that there was any love for bands like PURPLE, HEEP, ZEPPELIN, SABBATH…
“Then punk came in and kicked everybody up. But then when that didn’t last and the New Wave stuff was a bit more pop, there was rock coming back in. But influenced by punk. You listened to early MAIDEN, it was punk, especially with [Paul] Di’Anno on vocals. You listen to our first album [1980’s On Through the Night], [songs] ‘Wasted’ and ‘Get Your Rocks Off’ were very influenced by punk. Even if they are also like punk songs — short 10-15 second guitar solos instead of these things that lasted longer than a BEATLES song.
“So it’s an interesting thing that people always lumped us into that. In America, for example, we got lumped into the hair metal thing. All of a sudden, we disappeared at the end of 1983, and we don’t reappear until august ’87. Something happens in Los Angeles while we’re living in a freaking windmill in Holland, and we get roped into it. It doesn’t make any sense! I’d be the first to admit that with bands like WARRANT, ‘Cherry Pie’ — come on, it sounds like ‘[Pour Some] Sugar [on Me].’
“Not that some of our stuff didn’t sound like other people that came before us but there was an overload of that kind of stuff. But the fact is that some lazy media folk would lump us in with it, even though we were A) British, B) never spent any time on Sunset Boulevard, and as I said, we were living just outside Amsterdam, watching windmills go around.
“What came out of us musically had nothing to do with anything else, it was totally us,” he added. “Like I said, we’ve always wanted to be a stand-alone band. And I’ve been accused, for decades now, of being all very defensive. It’s not being defensive. It’s just trying to explain it to people that don’t listen. You do it, you do around the press for a new album, and you have 3,000 interviews, and then the next time you put a record out, you’re back to square one again. It didn’t work.
“Which is why when we did the  Yeah! album, we thought, ‘Well, you know what? They don’t listen when we talk, maybe they will listen when we sing and dance.’ Which is why you’ve got BLONDIE, David Essex, ROXY MUSIC, all that kind of stuff. No ‘Smoke on the Water,’ no ‘Rock and Roll,’ no ‘Paranoid’ — that’s not us.”
New dates and tickets for “The Stadium Tour,” featuring MÖTLEY CRÜE, DEF LEPPARD, POISON and JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS can be found at this location.