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def leppard / Slang USA Album Release/Recording Location

on this day - 14th May 1996

On this day in Def Leppard history the 'Slang' album was released in North America.
The album had been mostly recorded in a villa near Marbella in Spain.

Def Leppard 1996.

"It was like going to Summer School."

Def Leppard 1996.

This section looks at the 'Slang' USA/Canada album release and the recording location in Spain which the band began to work on the record in May 1994.

"You could actually see North Africa and the rock of Gibraltar."

Def Leppard's classic Slang album came out on this day in North America and photos of the house where it was recorded are available.

Starting in May 1994, the album was mostly recorded at a house in Marbella, Spain.

It had been released on 13th May 1996 in the UK and worldwide.

As mentioned by Joe Elliott a few times in recent years on his Planet Rock radio show, the house was featured in the second series of UK comedy drama show 'Auf Wiedersehen, Pet'.

The show featured a group of builders from Newcastle, England. In series two they travel to Spain to work on a house.

The Spanish villa, now called Villa Amarilla, is the very same one the band recorded in.

It was set in the hills overlooking the port area of Puerto Banús (near Marbella, Málaga, Andalucía, Spain).

The episode it featured in is called 'For Better Or Worse' which was first shown in the UK in May 1986. You can view the show on YouTube. Unfortunately the normal full screen version was removed but a 'dodgy' version can still be seen.

One of the actors, Gary Holton, was the frontman of one of Joe and Phil's favourite bands, The Heavy Metal Kids. He is shown in the gallery wearing a red shirt and a hat. The episode was filmed before October 1985 when he died in London aged 33.

The veranda can be seen in other shots where the band recorded acoustically. And the view looking out over the sea.

Puerto Banús is located 83 miles from Tangier, Morocco which the band would travel to in October 1995 during the Vault promo tour for the Three Continents In One Day event.

Read some quotes by the band about working and recording at the house including Phil's detailed description from 2014 when the Deluxe Edition of the album was released.

Def Leppard 1996.

Slang 'House In Spain' Photos

Screenshots by dltourhistory.

Phil Collen - 2014 Interview Quotes

"We recorded it in, well we started in '94. We'd done previous albums and we'd always spent a lot of money and a lot of time in a studio. So we thought we'd do something very different on this one. So we rented a villa in Southern Spain. The most beautiful location near Marbella. And you could actually see North Africa and the rock of Gibraltar from actually where was was recording. So it was a stunning, stunning place actually. And we was there for like 11 months."

"And I think whenever you do an album. You know we'd come off of doing like three or four albums where we do everything separately. With this one we thought we'd actually try something very different. Music had changed. it had gone. It was going through this Grunge period. You know it was kicked off by Nirvana. Everything had got very kind of polished and kind of a bit lame actually. And when Nirvana came along it actually changed the landscape. But also, especially with rock bands, how they sounded. So we thought it'd be a great opportunity to just record as a band. Like Slang is actually really how we sound. Actually we started some of the songs you know as playing live. You know live drums and kind of all playing as a band. So it's kind of funny when people say it doesn't really sound like Def Leppard. Well, in fact it really sounds like Def Leppard. That's what we sound like."

Def Leppard 1996.

"We had this villa. We set a drum kit up in there and it was a very creative period. Vivian Campbell had just joined the band and you know all of a sudden we actually started doing something very different to what we done before. You know before we'd kind of be very studio based and we'd work on the songs and the arrangements like that. With this one we actually just wrote the songs and actually recorded them."

"So we recorded this album. it was very different and it was kind of experimental for us. And as an artist that's where you wanna be. You know you actually get bored with doing the same old same old. So it was really good for us to actually kind of grow a little bit and actually work on this album. Lyrically it's a lot darker than some of the stuff we'd done before. And again you know there was some personal stuff going on in a few of our lives at the time which kind of obviously reflected that I'm sure. And also musically, what was going on around us."

"I can remember we'd be playing the Stone Temple Pilots a lot and there was this album called The Crow Soundtrack from the movie. And they had some really cool stuff on there. And I remember that was a kind of a definite play all the time. That was kind of an influence on some of the things that we were doing."

"So like I said it was kind of very raw and rough and less processed. And you know what we usually do with say Hysteria and Adrenalize, Pyromania. Those albums were very meticulous and this one was more kind of write the song and record it and kind of see what happens. So that's what most bands normally do. So yeah it was a very different record for us. A lot of the fans didn't like it. They actually you know preferred the sound of that, going in the studio, spending years and years. Which is great obviously as well. You know some of the songs we produced with Mutt Lange were amazing."

"For this record we Pete Woodroffe as the producer. Pete had worked on Adrenalize as Mike Shipley's assistant engineer. So he was really up on everything. He's a great guy, Very intelligent. Actually a really good producer as well. Songwriting and everything else. Technology had kind of allowed us to work in a villa you know. We actually literally had this room and you didn't have to have all this expensive equipment. It'd had started to get smaller and smaller. You know we had a few flight cases and everything and it all fit in there. I think we was using ADAT's which were kind if tape based but it was a very easy way to approach recording. Obviously it's a lot easier now. In fact I'm doing this on my laptop where I actually do a lot of my recording. I do all the guitars and stuff literally sitting here on my laptop. So you can record on your smartphones. It's got ridiculous."

"One of the great things about this album, well apart from the wonderful weather in Spain. Actually the hottest I've ever been. I think we read the print out or the LED read out in town. In Puerto Banús and it said 125 degrees his one day. So it was crazy. So just a beautiful place."

Slang 'House In Spain' Photos

Screenshots by dltourhistory.

Def Leppard 1996.

"This album also apart from all the fun and the fact that our apartments were on a beach. They just went straight out. That was absolutely amazing. Obviously that made it a lot of fun. It was a very essential album for us. It wasn't well received, but we think it was very important because it was important for the growth of the band and the fact that we're actually still around today. And the fact that you know it's good to get stiff off your chest. Recording in a different way. Approaching it a completely different way and being an artist and experimental is absolutely the lifeblood you know to a real artist."

"So yeah we loved the whole process and you know we took that with us. There's a couple of other things we did. There was a song called Where Does Love Go When It Dies. You know again talking about experimental. We felt it needed a kind of a folky edge to it. So we said that we'd have other instruments in there like a mandolin, a dulcimer, a hurdy gurdy. All of which none of us had ever played before. So we rented this stuff. We don a demo in my house actually. In my stairwell. We actually kept the original acoustic guitars and it kind of had this kind of mandolin-y type thing. So I think I played mandolin. Viv played dulcimer and you can hear all this stuff on there. So talking about experimental. It wasn't just goofing around. It actually, it was really fun and quite expressive you know. And like I said this song kind of leaned in that direction so we went with it."

"So yeah it was a lot of fun. You actually hear it on the record and it was stuff like that. We'd do that with the whole album really. You know there was some other songs. A song called Turn To Dust and it had this Indian feel to it. You know it had Tambor and all these different kind of Indian instruments and obviously a sitar. And we kind of, we got permission and actually sampled a sitar as well and some other stuff and we even used like a Bhangra drums which is an Indian form of percussion. Which got very trendy in dance music for a while in the 90s and Bhangra sounded great. So again you know you can actually hear that on the song Turn To Dust."

"Another thing there was this set of bars in this, in Puerto Banús which was the little Port next to where our apartments were. And you had, you know, everything kind of opens at midnight. So we'd be finishing in the studio and you'd come back and everything's just starting to get going. I mean it's pretty cool down there. And there was this one bar in particular, it was a restaurant. That had all of these instruments like you know just like congas and tablas and shakers and just... Cow bells and at a certain time they'd just shout something out and everybody who was in the bar or restaurant would grab something off the wall and they would all start playing this percussion. And it sounded amazing. All this Latin percussion. So we thought we'd incorporate that in the song Slang. So you can hear that. I think we actually done it. You know in my front room. We actually, again you know, everyone grabbed something, eve if you don't play anything. And just jam along and that was the fun part. So you can actually hear that in the middle part of Slang. It kind of goes into this kind of very Latin percussion thing. And that was just everyone who was there just grabbed something having been influenced by this restaurant in Puerto Banús."

"So it was pretty cool and there was a lot of that stuff going on on the record. It was very experimental and not stuff you normally do. So yeah it was a blast."

Def Leppard 1996.

Slang 1996.

Vivian Campbell - 2014 Interview Quotes

"To my ears even today the Slang record sounds reasonably fresh. It has an organic rock element to it that a lot of Def Leppard recordings don't. And that's for a couple of reasons. Primarily because we recorded it not in a real studio but actually in a house in Southern Spain. Digital technology had made it very affordable to buy ADAT's and maccy consoles and stuff. So we kind of took advantage of that and instead of investing the money at 2,000 dollars a day to go into a commercial facility somewhere in the world. We actually bought some technology, new technology and we went to this house in Spain and it was a really nice relaxed environment."

"However more importantly the world had witnessed a sea change in musical tastes and Def Leppard was very much a product of the 80s. A band that had come of age in the 1980s and here we were in mid 1990s and in the middle of the Grunge era. So we kind knew we couldn't make a traditional Def Leppard sounding record. We had to rethink how we recorded it. What the sounds were like and what the lyrical content was about also. And this actually coincided with a series of events for guys in the band. Like Sav lost his father right as we were starting to record the record. There were a couple of divorces going on. There was just. Life stuff was just starting to affect some of the guys in the band. And that was reflected also lyrically."

"But as it happens we also felt the we kind of needed to grow up in a way lyrically and there you go. Right when you need it, life comes and whacks you in the back of the head with something like a death or a divorce."

"Anyway it still sounds good to me even after 20 years and it was my first studio album. I say studio. When I say studio, I mean in house in Southern Spain. But it was my first real record with the band having only done a couple of overdubs here and there on some other piece meal stuff. So I was very excited about it. But I was also a little bit wary of the fact that we were going very far out of our comfort zone and going very, very left field. With the benefit of 20 years of hindsight. I kind of wish we had stuck a little bit more to the traditional Leppard sound and compromised not quite so much. Personally I would've like to hear some more hooks and some more emphasis on melody and maybe some more vocal production. In terms of the background vocals and stuff. But that's all neither here nor there. It's water under the bridge and that's just my personal opinion. For what it is it's still a great record."

Vivian Campbell - 2014 Interview Quotes

"We were in a house just outside of Marbella in Southern, Spain. It was very relaxing."

"Rick Allen played acoustic drums for the first time in many many years. And we actually did cut a lot of those tracks in real time which is very unusual for Def Leppard. So that obviously brings very different interaction and whatnot to the record you know. And the way we recorded guitar was very different too. We actually, I mean this might be a duh moment for most people, we actually put microphones in front of guitar cabs, but we don't normally do that. You know we normally take a direct signal from a speaker simulator. We don't normally record the air around the speaker. But more importantly the fact that we were playing in real time and we were right there with each other and we were making eye contact. When you make records like that there's just a lot of nuance that you don't get when you do stuff piece meal."

"So like I say I love the sound of the record. I love the organic elements to it. I just was a little confused being the new guy. And I didn't say much about it at the time. But my only negative comment about Slang si that I kinda wish we'd spent a little bit more time on maybe polishing some of the songs."

Phil Collen - 2014 Interview Quotes

"You could see North Africa. It was a pretty amazing place. Rock Of Gilbralta, you could actually see that on a good day. So we had a good time recording it."

1996 Slang Biography Quotes

"Slang closes with the sparkling, psychedelic "Pearl of Euphoria," an epic finale which sounds deceptively like the result of painstaking work in the most hi-tech studio setting. "It's amazing, because we got that sound in a house," laughs Joe. "There was no fancy studio, it was just recorded on a little cheap desk in a house in Marbella."

Eschewing the usual state-of-the-art trappings of corporate rock, the band cobbled together a 32-track studio using four 8-track digital VHS machines and a couple of cheap desks, and got down to the serious business of making a great record.

"It was like going to Summer School," recalls Joe. "It was like Boys Together Outrageously. We got on with doing the job. We didn't have to clock-watch. We could look out the window and see the ocean. We weren't stuck in some poxy studio somewhere, and the clock's ticking away and you don't know whether it's raining or snowing or there's a riot going on outside. We were just in our own non-corporate world. We wanted to do a similar thing to what Zeppelin and bands like that did in the '70s, when they went into a house and just created their own environment, and that's exactly what we did. It was so relaxing that it gave us more energy to be as noisy as we were on 'Pearl of Euphoria' or 'Flesh,' and when we did acoustic guitars on 'Where Does Love Go When It Dies,' they were actually recorded outside at midnight with incense, candles, dogs barking, cars going past. It's all on tape."

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