Friday, August 8, 2014


(To hear the audio of the interview, click the arrow)

Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott once did something pretty nice for Brian May. Elliot had no idea how much May appreciated it. Until this interview.

August 9, 2014

Getting ready for tomorrow night’s big KISS/Def Leppard show at Montage Mountain got me thinking of a pretty cool little moment I once had with Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott during an interview I did with him back in 2000. As any writer will tell you, there are times when you might be interviewing someone, and though you’re being professional and asking all of the right questions that you hope will make for a good story, sometimes – if the interview is really going well, it can turn into a more relaxed conversation. In essence, you and the interviewee just end up shooting the breeze for a while. And sometimes, those parts of the conversation, no matter how interesting they might be, never make it into the published story, simply because they don't really fit the flow of the article.

Such was the case with me and Joe Elliott 14 years ago, when I told him how I had once read an interview with Brian May in which May had noted how much a kind gesture Elliott had once made towards him had meant to him. Elliott said that though he clearly remembered the incident with the legendary Queen guitarist, he did not know that May had even remembered it, nor that he had mentioned it in an interview. Elliott seemed somewhat moved that May had recalled it, and what made it pretty cool, for me, was that I was the one that got to tell him.

Poster for "The Concert For Life"
The scene was “The Concert For Life,” one of the greatest all-star rock benefit shows ever assembled. The year was 1992, and the reason for it was to honor the memory of Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury, who had died of AIDS just a few months prior. Some of rock’s best acts took the stage at Wembley Stadium in London, including Elton John, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Robert Plant, David Bowie and Def Leppard. May, still grieving the loss of his friend and bandmate, was a busy man that day. He performed with several of the acts on the bill and he also seemed to be in the role of event organizer and host. Apparently, Elliott felt May was too busy to fully appreciate the magnitude of the day, so he pulled him aside, told him to take a look at the crowd, and suggested he take a moment to simply take it all in.

May did. And he really appreciated it.

Freddie Mercury tribute at Wembley Stadium - 1992. 
Elliott never knew how much. Until I told him. It's just a little rock and roll story, really. But it's one of my fondest little memories from all of those years I spent interviewing rock stars. 

You can listen to it at the 21:15 mark on the link above. 

I chatted with Joe Elliott a few times over the years and always thought he was a good guy. And based on little stories like this, and the way his band hung in there with Rick Allen after his horrific accident back in 1984, I’m pretty sure that he is.  

Alan K. Stout has covered rock and pop music in Northeastern Pennsylvania since 1992. He currently contributes stories to The Weekender, the region's #1 arts and entertainment newspaper, and his weekly radio show, "Music On The Menu," can be heard every Sunday from 9-10 p.m. on 105 The River (104.9-FM) in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Follow Alan's thoughts on music on Facebook at:  

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