1 Year Ago Rare STEVE CLARK/DEF LEPPARD HYSTERIA Interview Released
Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark was interviewed during the 1988 Hysteria tour and the audio was released on this day in 2016.
The rare audio was been released on an unofficial interview disc called 'In The 80's'.
The digital version had already been released on 18th November.
The 14 track CD is only 15 minutes but contains some very interesting quotes from Steve during the band's most successful period of mid 1988 when 'Hysteria' was riding high in the charts in the USA and around the world.
Steve talked to an American journalist about the album's success, being back after four years, making the album, Pyromania success, Photograph, the band's image, concerts he's attended, the first Lep show, the band's sound, working with Mutt Lange, playing In The Round, writing songs and their plans for the next album.
It was conducted not long after the band had played three nights in Minneapolis, MN (on 8th/9th/10th July 1988) and Hysteria had gone to Number One (July 23rd).
Read some excerpts from the interview below.
The 'Hysteria' album'swas celebrated in August of this year.
Steve Clark - July 1988 Interview Quotes
Hysteria Album Success
"Yeah, well it's been Number One in the Billboard charts for the last two weeks. So it's not bad to say, it's been out for a year. So it's been great."
"It's great to know we can take such a long time away and then still come out and to get it back again. So yeah we definitely didn't fade away. Nobody really put any pressure on us at all, especially the record company. They were great about it. They didn't even come into the studio and bug us or anything. They just waited until we delivered it. And it wasn't any real pressure because we wanted to make a different sort of record on Hysteria than we did to Pyromania. So why it took so long was just all the accidents and all the bad luck we had. So it turned out how we wanted to make it."
"Yeah because what else could we do. You either split up and nobody can do anything else. Or just get straight back into work and get through it. Other than the 12 songs which are on Hysteria there's about another 7 knocking around. They were recorded pretty quickly while we were mixing Hysteria and we just wanted to use them as B Sides and things like that. But there weren't anything left over from the actual Pyromania sessions. The big mistake we made is, because the Pyromania tour took so long, is we didn't prepare any new songs on the road. And so we had to start writing songs from scratch again. And that took a good six to ten months. There was a real lot of material still hanging around."
"That was a similar sort of thing to Animal. I had the song. I think Sav wrote the chorus, I wrote the bridge and we added this sort of verse that wasn't that strong. And then after about ten weeks in the studio we said: 'Oh we don't wanna live with it'. I just walked in and it just came out so spontaneously. I'd been trying for weeks to try and change it and I just got an idea and so I came up with that idea on the spur of the moment."
Photograph Video/Making Videos
"Yeah that was the first video we shot for the Pyromania album. I think you can't get away from it. It's there to stay. I don't know how important it is. it's very difficult because you can never tell if the song is selling the record or the look of the video. I personally don't like making them. It's like two days work for three minutes of whatever. I think they're a necessity now you know."
New Live Version Of BOTH
"When we were rehearsing on this tour we were all sick and tired of playing it the same way. And so and our manager Cliff Burnstein says well you can't (drop it) because to a lot of kids that's the song that sort of broke you before the High 'n' Dry album. So we said if we can't play it the way it is on the record let's just rethink it. So we decided to do it as an acoustic song. And then go into the solo section onwards as electric. And that worked really well. It's really exciting to play again now. It's almost like it's a brand new song again. I wrote Heartbreak. I wrote the music for it. It's very hard to talk about your own music sometimes. It was a different feel of song off the High 'n' Dry album to the others anyway. Maybe that's something to do with it."
"I like playing live the most and also creating the songs is good sometimes. I don't mind being in the studio if it's a short period of time. but four years is taking it a little bit far. So you sort of go a bit crazy. But the reason we formed Def Leppard was to be a good live group. And to make records but always to be a live group. We never wanted just to release records and not to tour. We always enjoy being on tour the most."
"Well it seems to be that way at the moment. It's a cross section between girls and boys which is great to have. But you see, especially since the Sugar video, there's been a lot of younger people coming. But there's also the hardcore fans that were there on the Pyromania tour. So you know they're a little bit older now. So it's hard to say like, I don't really know, it's just great that that's all we wanted to do with the Hysteria album. As I said we wanted to keep the hardcore fans but also appeal to other groups of people that might not be into heavy rock."
First Def Leppard Concert 1978
"Yeah we got paid five pounds which is about, I don't know. Then it must have been about 8 dollars. 8/10 dollars and it was at a school. And it was a school end of term party thing and there was no alcohol. I remember we smuggled all the beer in in the bass drum. And that was the first time we appeared as Def Leppard at Westfield School in Sheffield. (Good night?) From what I remember yeah. I think I threatened to leave the group if we didn't do a gig. So we said let's find somewhere to play."
Most Memorable Concert Attended?
"Somebody else's concert?. I went to see Led Zeppelin at Knebworth in 1979. That was a - they were my favourite group anyway. So that was pretty wild to see them. That's the only time I ever got to see them as well. I met Robert Plant a couple of times. In fact he was playing the same place we played last night the night before. So yeah he's a real cool guy."
"You're only as good as your last record. Never take anything for granted, always keep your feet on the ground because we thought everything was going so smooth after Pyromania and then we didn't know what fate had around the corner. And so you just have to be sort of humble and take it for what it is. Don't expect anything and then let your head get larger than life. And then so you get a second chance sometimes."
Describe Def Leppard
"A damn good rock and roll group with a lot of melody. And we run around like nutters on stage. There's a lot of energy on stage and we always treat live performance different to a record. it's a lot tougher. It's definitely exciting to be around and see all those people out there every night. The atmosphere's amazing. (Donington show?) That was the most memorable because it was so great just to get all the problems out of the way. But the best one is to play in the round and get in the States and realise that people were into it again, because we didn't really know what to expect after four years away."
"It's very difficult to specify one point because everything is just so good. Even you know he's great at re-arranging songs and we've let him free to, to feel free to contribute whatever he wishes. But one of his strong points is, we tried producing it ourselves for a while. Which turned out OK but we needed a headmaster in the studio so to speak, because we were five people throwing opinions forward. And when you work with Mutt he has final say and that's the way we like it. So it stops us arguing between ourselves. But he covers every base, he's really good at what he does."
Layered Vocal Sound From Mutt?
"No it was always there from the first album and even the first EP we did. We always were into doing that sort of, the backing vocal thing. He definitely helped it to do well. He sort of pointed a few things out. But it was always there from the start of the band that we'd have sort of multi-layered vocals and things."
Mutt Working The Band In The Studio
"Well it can work both ways. For us it works, 90 percent of the time it's a real good thing because rather than settling on just one sort of performance you're happy with yourself or what you're capable of doing. He'll drag something out of you that you'd never of dreamt of doing. Or probably weren't even capable of playing. And so you're constantly improving as a musician and he just opens your mind up to different ways of thinking. You know rather than getting stuck in a rut and every album starts sounding the same. He lets you go in different directions. He encourages that. So he's good for the group."
"That was one of the first songs we wrote for the Hysteria album and that took a year to get it right because we kept re-writing it, because we are sort of perfectionists when it comes to writing. We had a really strong verse and then we sort of had an average bridge and average chorus. And we said they're not strong enough. So we we-wrote the chorus and then said the bridge is not strong enough and so we re-wrote then re-wrote the verse. So the shape of the song changed over that year period. We just keep re-working things and re-working things until we're totally happy, 100 percent happy with it."
Writing Love Bites/PSSOM
"Well that was a lot more spontaneous. That sort of came out in a couple of weeks. We don't have a sort of formula. It's whatever the individual song needs. If it's not right we'll keep working it till we get it right. But sometimes like on the last song we wrote for the album which was Sugar. We wrote it in two days. And that's turned out to be the strongest in the end. And so it's whatever is right for that song. We don't write to order or formula or anything."
Re-Producing The Album Live
"So in fact it made it easier because we were worried about, we'd done a hell of a lot of overdubs on this album. Are we ever gonna be able to reproduce it?. And then Phil and myself just totally changed our styles of playing. And then we realised on Hysteria there was so many guitar parts going off that it actually complimented it live. Rather than playing block heavy metal chords. So it really works out good in the end."
Being On Tour/Setlists
"We don't have that much time to think about it to tell you the truth. But on this tour what we did which we've never done before. We've been changing the set round and when a new single comes out we'll work it into the set. So the actual songs we played at the beginning of the tour are nothing like the ones we're doing now. So that keeps it fresh for us and we keep changing the running order of the set. And that keeps it exciting."
Easy To Play In The Round?/Stage Idea
"No it was very easy. In fact we feel really disappointed when we have to play at one end because obviously nowhere can do that in the round thing at these sort of outdoor shows. But it came around because Peter Mensch, our manager, he said well, we've done everything else wrong up to now. We've spent four years making an album. Let's go the whole way and so he said why don't we play in the round. And the reason that came up was we noticed on the last tour that it's great for the kids down the front but the kids in the nosebleeds at the back. You know you're just a speck on the horizon. So we said if we put it in the middle it's virtually equal distance around. So it's much more intimate. There's four front rows and the sounds much better. And it gives everybody in the band the chance to be a frontman because each guy can be on four different sides."
"So rather than having to hide behind a singer or being very formulated, and it obviously keeps it fresh for us. It's not as though you sort of get into choreography moves or anything you just run around anywhere you want. And it worked out really well and we thought we'd have a lot of problems but it turned out great. And as I say for a few shows we had to go back to playing one end because the roof couldn't support it because it has to hang from the roof. And we felt really disappointed when we had to do that. It's much more intimate as well. You know the kids which would normally be at the back are half the distance they would normally be so it's good for everybody."
Pour Some Sugar On Me Single Success
"To be quite honest it didn't stand out as a single from the very start. But we knew that's the album we were trying to make with Hysteria. We didn't just wanna have two singles and then 8 filler tracks or whatever. We tried to make it as deep as we could with singles. And that was, we knew it was gonna get released. We didn't know what order the songs were gonna get released in and eventually it got to Number Two. So that was great and Number One in some charts. But the next single will be Love Bites and who knows. We've still got choices after that. It could be Armageddon It or Love And Affection."
Writing Love And Affection
"That was really a band effort. I think Sav wrote the verse. Phil wrote the bridge and I wrote the chorus. So that was good because it was a different sort of song for us to do. Sort of a ballad but not being too smoochy you know it still had the drums and everything there so that felt good."
Being Best Friends/Influence On Other Bands
"The only reason we can go on tour like this is we get along so well. Even now while I'm in this interview the rest of the guys are playing soccer together. So we're all each others best friends and that makes it so much easier. We really get along together. Well I'm just happy to be on the road. I can't really pinpoint anything. I just think we did a lot of new things and I think a lot of the up and coming groups have taken that which is a real compliment, because I think after the Pyromania album that started something. There were a lot of up and coming groups and they were taking that sound which is great as a compliment. And then instead of relying on that we decided to go for Hysteria. Which we said before we wanted to make a different record. We didn't wanna make Pyromania II. And that seems to have done the trick again. I think the quality to always change and not get stuck in a particular style. And having the freedom to do things that we wanna do and not having to be in a rut."
Steve And Phil Guitar Parts
"It's a combination as I say. We don't do anything to formula. If it's an out and out rock song Phil will just nod to me or I'll nod to him and it's obvious who's gonna solo, and if it's that sort of song where it merits it. We'll just steam ahead. And then if it's something like Love Bites we think about it a little bit more, because the song, the actual guitar solo is also a vocal melody in a sense. So it's very free. We don't get stuck in any certain way of thinking. (Chemistry) Oh without a doubt yeah it's great. We sort of even know what each other's thinking and we're such different styles of playing. You know Phil plays by ear and I was taught classically. So the two together blend really good. And you can always tell on record who's playing what."
Writing Wasted In January/February 1978 (1978 not 1977)
"Oh yeah I wrote that on a bus. I think I'd just joined the group. I'd been with the group about two weeks in 1977 and I was just sat on the bus going to the rehearsal. I didn't have a guitar or anything. I just came up with this riff. Da da da, da da da...Just belted into the rehearsal room. I said everybody shut up then I just worked it out and that was Wasted. It was written in five minutes."
Being On The Hysteria Tour
"Well we're playing virtually every night and as you're gonna see every single day we soundcheck. A lot of groups don't bother soundchecking. We just did three nights in Minneapolis about, well a couple of weeks ago, and we soundcheck everyday. Even if it's right the day before. So we get a lot of playing in a day anyway. (bad support gigs) Yeah in the early days there were a few because we were supporting and we just had to pick a lot of things that was going. The weirdest combination was Blackfoot and Def Leppard. That was really weird. No disrespect to Blackfoot, but you know a band like Def Leppard and Blackfoot playing together that was a bit of a strange combination."
Future Plans After Hysteria Tour?/April 1989 Album Release
"Well we're not really sure exactly what we're gonna do yet. On this album what we're doing which we didn't do on Pyromania is were writing on the road and we've already got about five new songs. Which weren't B Sides or anything. So they'll definitely be on it. We're gonna take a two week break after the tour. Then go straight back into the studio because we wanna try and have a new album out for next April believe it or not. We don't wanna be in the studio again for a long time. And so I suppose if we can write more songs, because as I say we've got five or six now, if we can write more that will be the album. If there's something that never got used in the past then we'll think about putting that on it. But we're going for a totally different approach on this next record. I think it'll be a lot more spontaneous. As I say Hysteria definitely worked for the time it's out now but that doesn't mean... just in the same way as Pyromania we don't wanna depend on that sound. So some of it might be slick production but some of it might be a lot more raw than it has been for a couple of albums."
Buy 'In The 80s' Online
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