Viva! Hysteria is Def Leppard’s big screen debut - a stunning live performance of the Sheffield band’s entire Hysteria album, filmed in Las Vegas, as lead singer Joe Elliott has been telling Graham Walker.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch film highlights and our exclsuive chat with Joe Elliott.
Dressed all in black, heavily suntanned and wearing distinctive Elvis-style shades, Def Leppard front man Joe Elliott looked every inch the Las Vegas superstar as we met at his hotel.
And so he should.
His Sheffield band are about to hit the big screen with their first ever cinema feature, VIVA! Hysteria – Live at the Joint, on general release from September 19.
And Leppard fans are about to be all shook up.
Filmed live in March over two nights at The Joint, in the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, where Elvis once ruled the throne, it is a celebration of their own career-defining album, Hysteria - played live in its entirety for the first time.
If any band or album deserved the silver screen treatment, it’s Sheffield’s own rock Gods and album Hysteria . Produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange and acknowledged as one of the greatest rock records of all time, it has sold over 25 million copies since its release 26-years ago and spawned seven hit singles - Pour Some Sugar On Me, Love Bites, Women, Rocket, Animal and Armageddon It and the classic title track.
The album topped charts around the world and established Def Leppard’s legendary status. They have gone on to sell over 100 million records and headlined the biggest venues on the planet for over 30 years.
But it hasn’t changed Joe, who says he’s the same down-to-Earth Sheffield guy who once dreamed of playing at the City Hall where he was inspired after seeing T-Rex there over 40 years ago.
As the film shows, he can still rock and roll with the best of them. But the 54-year-old, in an exclusive video chat – watch in full here - confessed he’s now happy wearing Sesame Street Elmo pyjamas while singing in the studio at home in Dublin, with wife Kristine and their three-year-old Finlay.
“During the day, especially now I’ve got a little boy, I tend to be like walking around my house wearing Elmo pyjamas because he thinks it’s funny. And I’m in the studio and I sing, wearing Elmo pyjamas.
“What a thing to admit to,’’ he laughed, during his whistle-stop visit home, ahead of a secret screening of the film with family, friends and a few lucky fans at Cineworld Sheffield.
“I’m not wearing leather trousers and sunglasses when I wake up. I’m a normal human being. I’m only the Joe Elliott that people see on certain nights a year when I go out there and sing Def Leppard songs.
“I’m on email every day with those I used to go to school with at King Ted’s or people that I knew when we first started out. But I’ve never really gone to a place where they’ve actually had to get hold of me and say you need to come back down because you’re off with fairies. I’ve never been that guy.”
Now he’s about to become a movie star – though he;s certainly not jumping on the band wagon of One Direction’s recent cinema rockumentary.
“This is the antidote to One Direction. We play our own instruments and write our own songs. What you see is what you get. It’s 100 per cent live,” he said.
“It’s not Raiders Of The Lost Ark - it’s not actually a movie. It’s a document of our residency in Las Vegas. The place is not tied into that old mentality of Frankie, Sammy Davis and Deano any more, or Wayne Newton, or Elvis.
“The residencies now are Mötley Crüe, Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard, Elton John, Rod Stewart. The Who was in just after us and Prince was following us as well. It’s a very rock and roll town now.
“We tried to get the Elvis-style glasses into the artwork but it just didn’t work. It looked cheesy. But from a title point of view, Viva! Hysteria was bang on.
“Hysteria is a bit of an albatross. Everything we’ve done since, or we do in the future, will be compared to it.
“But from a positive side, it turned us from being a successful band into being ridiculously successful, in the same band of brothers as anyone from The Kinks to The Hollies, to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.
“I don’t think anyone will sell record like that again, even Gaga probably won’t. And it’s influenced a lot of people. Lady Gaga has said she’s a huge fan of harmonies on the Hysteria record.
“I don’t even know if Hysteria is my favourite album, but best track? Live it’s very hard not to like Pour Some Sugar On Me. When we play that I get the feeling that I think Mick Jagger gets when they start Satisfaction, or Brown Sugar.”
* VIVA! Hysteria – Live at the Joint, Las Vegas goes on general release from September 19. A live album CD, DVD, Blu-ray and digital download will follow.
FANS TWITTER QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY JOE ELLIOTT
Digital Editor Graham Walker ask Def Leppard fans to tweet a questions for Joe Elliott. Here’s the lucky three he asked.
Andy Wilson @597Andy: Ask him how viv Campbell is doing. (He’s having chemotherapy at moment).
Joe: “He’s got Non- Hodgkin Lymphoma, which has an 80 per cent cure rate. He started his chemo the day after we finished in Vegas and said 20-minutes later the cough had gone and he was feeling 100 per cent better. He’s convinced he’s going in the right direction.”
Rick Long @RickRicklong asked: How close was he to buying out Kevin McCabe before the Saudis stepped in?
Joe: “Nowhere near. It’s great news. A few years to the Premiership they’re saying. That’s music to my ears buddy.
Andy Smith @mooseyb said: Did Joe prefer to play the city hall or the arena? Old classic venue or new?
Joe: “With a piece of chalk I once wrote along the side of the City Hall wall, ‘Def Leppard will play here in 1980 and sell it out’. And we did. First gig I ever saw was T-Rex there in 1971. I’ve an enormous affection for that place. But you cannot beat walking on the stage in front of nearly 14,000 cheers at the arena. It’s no comparison.”