Joe Elliott Responds to Rumors Def Leppard Used Backing Tracks During Performances

Since the 1970s, Def Leppard has produced hits like “Love Bites” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” Outside of the studio, the band received a mountain of recognition as they landed No. 31 on the 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock by VH1. In 2019, singer Joe Elliott watched as the band received a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While performing in front of countless fans throughout the decades, the band recently received some unwanted attention when rumors circulated that Def Leppard used backing tracks during their concerts. Wanting to set the record straight, Elliott decided to speak out. 

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Speaking with Stereogum, Elliott discussed the rumors, and while he cared little about what people thought, he didn’t want the band’s success to diminish. Instead of getting angry at the rumors, the frontman detailed how it was somewhat of a badge of honor. “I don’t get angry at this. I’m flattered because their standards must be very different to ours. For anybody that thinks we use backing tracks, it must mean that when they hear us, they can’t believe how good it is for real.”

Joe Elliott Shares Details On What It Takes To Put On A Def Leppard Concert

As for the backing tracks claim, Elliott insisted Def Leppard used effects during their concerts. And what does that mean –  “We use keyboards. We use a few drum loops because, in fairness, two-armed drummers use drum loops, but Rick Allen, to play a song like ‘Rocket’, it’s a cacophony of toms that one arm couldn’t play. So yeah, we use a triggered loop, which is part of his drum kit, but [U2 drummer] Larry Mullen’s been doing that for years. So have thousands of other drummers to enhance a sound.”

[RELATED: Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott Duets with Tobias Forge on Ghost Song “Spillways”]

Having performed on stage for numerous decades, Elliott defended Def Leppard and even explained the toll each concert takes. “Because we do play and sing, it does take a toll. You can, say, play Denver, where it’s a mile above sea level, and if you’ve got a gig the next day, your voice is going to be pretty shot. We have to get to a level where if it’s a little under last night, it’s still acceptable to the audience because of the adrenaline and the fact that it is live and you can hear maybe a bit of hoarseness or somebody’s fingers slip because it’s so cold, they can’t keep their fingers on the strings. Things like that happens to every single band, and that’s what brings the humanity to it.”

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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