Saturday, 13th May 2023
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Def Leppard 2023. Def Leppard 2023

Def Leppard members Joe Elliott and Phil Collen were interviewed on 11th May and mentioned the new Drastic Symphonies album and new song versions.

The new album Drastic Symphonies will be released on Friday 19th May.

The album will feature 16 classic Def Leppard songs reworked and reimagined with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in London.

The first single 'Animal' was released to digital and streaming services on the same day as the announcement - listen below.

Talk Shop Live Drastic Symphonies Interview

Joe and Phil appeared on Talk Shop Live's Rock And Roll Channel last night to promote the new 'Drastic Symphonies' album.

Joe talked about the new Drastic Symphonies album, how the album project came about and then running through it track by track.

Watch the full 1 hour 13 minute minute interview below.

Drastic Symphonies Songs

Joe explained how the band approached the songs for new recordings.

New Song Versions/Track By Track

Joe and Phil discussed more of the songs including 'Gods Of War' with Joe giving some extra insight into the original version from 1987.

Drastic Symphonies Strings

Phil and Joe both had high praise for string arranger Eric Gorfain who did the strings for this album and revealed his rocker past.

Including Newer Songs

Joe explained why the band wanted newer songs from 'Diamond Star Halos' included on the album.

Visit the Tour News section. For more news on future tour plans.

Visit the Album News section for more news on new music (based on band member quotes).

Def Leppard 2023.

Joe Elliott/Phil Collen May 2023 Interview Quotes - (Transcribed by dltourhistory)

Serving The Songs

Joe Elliott

"Oh absolutely. I don't think there's been a day since when we first twigged working with Mutt Lange. You know he said OK we're gonna drop the guitars out on the verse so it's Joe over the drums."

"And maybe a couple of months before Phil joined like on Rock Of Ages and stuff like that. Pete Willis would've been a little bit like 'Mmmm not sure about that'."

"But Steve was completely on board. And when Phil came in he was like well yeah that makes total sense because when the guitars do come in it sounds twice as heavy."

"That's why if you get certain songs and you've got guitars until the end of it. They're the bombastic ones that don't work with strings. In fairness neither did Rock of Ages."

"But at least the dynamics were there with Rock of Ages for it to be that way. There's no ego. When we came to doing that and dropping guitars out we were like yeah because we then learnt."

"And when we weren't working with Mutt any more it's like we would come up with songs like that where they would just be a bass."

"Like when we covered Rock On for example. The reason we did that is it allowed Phil and Vivian to just make little noises around the vocal."

"Plus the bass line originally done by Herbie Flowers. Same guy who played Walk On The Wild Side funnily enough. Lead bass."

"And it allowed Sav to be the front guy on that particular song. And the other guys jsut said you know what doesn't need anything. Little drumbox, vocal. It's all selling the vocal anyway."

"So it's making the space for whatever needs to be lead."

"And on this record the lead is the orchestra."

Love Bites

Phil Collen

"Absolutely I was gonna say there's so many vocals on this thing. And yeah we used vocals as an instrument. And we really sing them live. So again another thing we're really proud of 'cause we work our asses off trying to get this stuff right."

"So there's so many vocals sonically we've got this and it works so well with strings and an orchestra. So where you can blend the two together it's one and one equals 20 you know what I mean."

"It's like really a special thing. And I think on Love Bites you can really hear that you know."

Joe's Vocals Up Front

Joe Elliott

"Yeah a lot of that is we have to give am awful lot of credit on these songs to Mutt Lange because he was."

"He wasn't just a great producer, and an engineer by the way. 'Cause he could've been nonchalantly just sat there with a pipe pointing a finger at what should happen."

"He'd get physically involved in it. he was a fantastic singer. So, you know, made my job really difficult. He'd say maybe come up with a melody idea, 'cause we were scrambling around for melodies, and he'd sing in the control room and I'm going how am I supposed to do that?."

"And Love Bites was a great example of a melody that was like just a bitch for me to like try and do. it was really difficult."

"But I think on this particular version it shows the vocal better than the original because we took stuff away."

"Even though it's a rock ballad from the '80s. It was quite bombastic in a rock sense. Whereas now it's much more bombastic in a kind of a classical sense if you like."

"So it almost makes the vocal sound, not operatic, but more in that vein. I couldn't possibly sing in an opera voice, it would be horrendous."

"So it's definitely a rock voice but it has the same kind of magnetism if you like as when you hear one of these."

"You know the Operas not over till the fat lady sings or whatever. If we're allowed to use that word any more now. That big part of an opera where somebody hits a high note and shatters all the glass."

"It's ot that kind of dynamism to it which I think is more obvious in this new version."

"But it's not just me it's the backing vocals as well. It's like all of us, everybody that got involved in the chorus and the bridges."

"It adds an operatic kind of majesty to it and the size that most bands wouldn't go near. You know, most rock bands they kind of do backing vocals as 'Do I have to?'."

"And you always see a guitarist not quite sing the last two words of a line 'cause he can't be arsed to."

"Whereas we swallow the microphone almost. These guys are on it till the last breath, because the vocals are so important to what we do."

"And stripping Love Bites down shows of every aspect of Def Leppard's vocal abilities. Not just the lead vocal, it's the whole band."

Phil Collen

"But also Ronan McHugh done amazing. hHe actually sonically changed everything. He changed the bass sound. the drum sound. The guitars and the vocal."

"So made it work sonically with the strings and that's something he really deserves a lot of credit for that. 'Cause it's like again what we're saying about we didn't just want to plonk on orchestra over our stuff and leave it at that."

"You had to work it. You worked every little bit of it."

"It's like Nick the other producer was on board. Everyone but Ronan had kind of EQ'd everything. So it worked. Changed all the - I mean if you listen to the drum sounds from the original and then listen to the stuff on here."

"It's kind of up a notch. So it's all absolutely enhanced."

"And I think you have to if you're gonna use an orchestra. You may as well get the best version of yourself."

"And I think that's what we did. And certainly with the vocals as well."

Def Leppard 2023.

Goodbye For Good This Time/Newer Songs Included

Joe Elliott

"Well it was a kind of a no-brainer really for many different reasons. But first of all I was kind of insistent that we didn't just have this thing be everything from the 80s and 90s."

"We had to be over the whole career. I mean we didn't touch On Through The Night. I suppose we could have done Overture. What might well work on a Drastic Symphonies 2."

"But for the fact that this band's been together. This line-ups been together 31 years. It was good to be able to take a lot of stuff that Vivian's been involved in. Even if Vivian didn't play on the originals he's been playing a lot of this stuff live."

"But it kind of made sense that Kings Of The World which was one of the new songs on Mirrorball fro about 2011 I think it was. And Love from 2008's Sparkle Lounge made it into the song collection as well because they're very symphonic songs."

"Sav's a huge Queen fan and that's leads symphonies right there you know because his stuff is kind of an amalgamation of Brian May and Freddie Mercury's ballad writing."

"But I think it was really important to put the two songs from the last album on because for a start Eric had already done string arrangements on them. And I was going to him well you did such a stellar job how are you gonna top yourself?."

"And he says oh don't worry I've got a plan because I think on the original there was no brass."

"So he kind of highlighted more brass parts for the versions of Goodbye For Good This Time and Angels as well. So and I think that again by having just a couple of songs that are literally less than a year old."

"Makes the album a more valid than it just being a best of."

"God bless Elvis can't really do it unless they find a song in the vaults and it came out, but what we had the opportunity to do here was put an album out that is a lot more now than it would have been without those two songs on."

"And they were written very symphonically. I think that's why it worked in the first place. When I first played them to Phil. And we were picking songs for Diamond Star Halos on day one."

"He said what have you got then. I said I've got three songs and I wrote two of them on a piano."

"Not expecting the OK cool. Oh alright. Total reset 2020 thank you that was good. And once we'd got them that far it's like well it would be great if Eric put strings on it."

"And I'm like hallelujah. In fairness I think I'd already added demo strings on it before I'd played them to anybody 'cause I was so nervous about presenting piano songs as songs for us you know."

"The more finished they are when they hear them. The more chance that they're gonna go OK cool that's fine."

"But he did take it to another level which was quite impressive because he had to rearrange his own strings."

"Which was you know a little to say what he had to do on Turn To Dust where there were strings and he either had to change them round or weave round the originals."

"And it was the same thing with the ones that we did on Love And Hate Collide which were done by Michael Kamen."

Gods Of War

Phil Collen

"Again, you know, we didn't even get to like White Lightning and Die Hard The Hunter, Billy's Got A Gun. Which would also work great. We literally stopped at 15."

"And we could've kept going but it's like why do that you know. Why do that when you've got this amazing album. So Gods Of War, spectacular yeah."

Joe Elliott

"It's one of those songs that when we started talking about what songs were gonna go on there. It doesn't matter which one of us suggested it. I wouldn't even remember."

"But as soon as those three words get spoken everybody eyes light up and goes can you imagine, because listen to it on the original version."

"Again the beginning bit the E-Bow feedback stuff that Steve did on the beginning. The fact is and not many people would know this, and I don't know whether the original's still around."

"But the intro that's on Gods Of War with the little kind of E-Bow, orchestrated part that I don't know who played it. Probably Steve."

Phil Collen

"It was Steve yeah."

Joe Elliott

"Yeah. It's maybe ten, fifteen seconds long. When we originally recorded it was massively longer. But it was just a bit self indulgent. So it got chopped down."

"But we were always leaning that way with that song. It had, it wasn't really like Procession by Queen off Queen II, 'cause that was way more- this was just kind of feedback one note thing."

"But it was beautiful. It was almost like the lead part on Heroes that Robert Fripp played. But when it gets into the song notes in that intro part. And then it leads into a second intro part which leads into the verse."

"And the fact that we took those beautifully orchestrated guitars out that Phil and Steve had played, And swapped them out for violins."

"All of a sudden it's like. it's a different beast. Again it's James Bond. Or choose your spy movie or car chase film of your choice."

Def Leppard 2023.

Bringin' On the Heartbreak/Switch 625

Joe Elliott

"Well Bringin' On The Heartbreak is one of the few songs on the album that we didn't really mess with the backing track too much."

"We didn't take a great deal away because it was from the High 'n' dry sessions. It was actually a lot more basic than anything that we did since. You now there was a lot more orchestration done on guitars from Pyromania onwards than there was on High 'n' dry."

"It's the closest thing to an orchestrated song on High 'n' dry. It's a much more Highway To Hell sounding album but with a ballad on it you know."

"So there wasn't really a great deal to take away so there didn't seem to be any point to try and change the arrangement."

"So it's one of the few songs that does sound like, not that we just plonked an orchestra on top. But we just enhanced the original rather than trying to strip it down for the sake of it."

"It worked. it was more a case of it wasn't broken so don't fix it."

"But Switch which has always been joined onto Bringin' On the Heartbreak, I mean it's like the end of Layla."

"You know when you hear it properly on FM radio where they don't fade at the end and you get the whole piano slide guitar bit."

"It's kind of like our version of that you know. So the two go hand in hand."

"But I think as good as Heartbreak sounds. Switch takes it to a completely different stratosphere really."

"It's just, it's mind blowing it really is. I can't say enough about it really."

Watch the event on the Talk Shop Live site (or the embed below).

New Single - Hysteria (feat. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)

01 - Hysteria - 5:54 - Amazon - (MP3)

  • Producer - Def Leppard/Ronan McHugh/Nick Patrick
  • Mixer - Ronan McHugh
  • Release Date - 5th May 2023

Buy 'Drastic Symphonies' Online

Drastic Symphonies (With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) - Tracklisting

  • 01 - Turn To Dust - 5:29
  • 02 - Paper Sun - 5:33
  • 03 - Animal - 4:03
  • 04 - Pour Some Sugar On Me (Stripped Version) - (Feat. Emm Gryner) - 5:26
  • 05 - Hysteria - 5:56
  • 06 - Love Bites - 6:41
  • 07 - Goodbye For Good This Time - 4:26
  • 08 - Love - 3:55
  • 09 - Gods Of War - 6:45
  • 10 - Angels (Can't Help You Now) - 4:58
  • 11 - Bringin' On The Heartbreak - 4:33
  • 12 - Switch 625 - 3:04
  • 13 - Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad - 4:55 - (Bonus Track)
  • 14 - Too Late For Love - 5:37
  • 15 - When Love & Hate Collide - 4:16
  • 16 - Kings Of The World - 6:19
  • Producer - Def Leppard/Ronan McHugh/Nick Patrick
  • Mixer - Ronan McHugh
  • Record Label - Universal Music Recordings/Bludgeon Riffola
  • Total Time - 82 mins
  • Release Date - 19th May 2023

Def Leppard 2023.

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