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def leppard / Steve Clark Joins Def Leppard

on this day - 29th January 1978

On this day in Def Leppard history guitarist Steve Clark joined the band in Sheffield, England.
He attended a rehearsal and was accepted into the band.

Def Leppard 1991.

"His contribution to the music was immense."

Def Leppard 1989.

This section looks at guitarist Steve Clark joining Def Leppard in January 1978. The start of the 13 year journey that would see him become The Riffmaster.

"He brought something very special to this band."

Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark joined the band on this day in 1978 at a rehearsal in Sheffield, England.

Steve attended a band rehearsal at the Spoon Factory near Bramall Lane and got the job as the new second guitarist.

He is shown on the roof of the buildings in the picture above whilst filming the 1989 'Rock Of Ages' documentary for the BBC (footage that wasn't used but was briefly included in the Classic Albums Hysteria episode).

Steve was fifth member to join the band and together with Pete Willis he helped form the unique twin guitar sound.

This would be taken to another level when he teamed up with fellow 'Terror Twin' Phil Collen after he joined the band in July 1982.

Sadly that classic partnership would only last for two world tours and one full album, 'Hysteria' before Steve's tragic death in January 1991 in London.

Steve's first show was the band's debut public performance on 18th July 1978 in Mosborough/Sheffield.

The last full concert was on 27th October 1988 in Tacoma, WA.

It's a sad and strange fact that this anniversary falls in the same month as his death and funeral.

Below are a couple of quotes about Steve joining from the 1987 'Animal Instinct' biography.

Def Leppard 1991.

Animal Instinct 1987 - Steve Clark Joins Def Leppard Quotes

"One particular Wednesday, Pete was reading a guitar effects manual in the school library when a teenager about his age with light-red hair spotted the book, came up to him and asked "Do you play?" Pete said yes and told him about his band, Def Leppard."

"The red-haired fellow was also a guitar player, named Steve Clark. Steve asked Pete if his band needed a second guitarist and Pete coolly suggested that Steve maybe stop by Bramall Lane during Leppard's next rehearsal."

"Steve Clark fulfilled his promise in spades when he turned up at Bramall Lane on January 29, 1978. He wasn't too impressed with the "real grotty shithole" Def Leppard called a rehearsal room, but it was better than nothing. After plugging in, he suggested the five of them have a go at Lynyrd Skynyrd's popular guitar freakout Free Bird, Clark then proceeded to dazzle the other Leppards with his ability to play not only the song itself but the lengthy solo passage at the end as well. Now they were five."

Steve Clark 1989. Steve Clark 1989

Steve Clark - July 1988 Interview Quote

Writing Wasted In January/February 1978

"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 1978 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."

Rick Savage 2001 Interview Quote

"From the minute that Steve was in the band his contribution to the music was immense. Absolutely immense. He's one of these rare breed of people that I don't know whether you'd call him a genius or just a complete idiot. It's a fine line because some of his ideas on writing guitar parts were not normal but they were just fantastic."

Rick Allen 2001 Interview Quotes

"I think he hated being in the studio but he did bring in a lot of ideas that will just live on you know. Wonderful, wonderful person (but) certain family situations just led him into a place that was just really dark. I think a part of him didn't wanna be here."

"But he brought something very special to this band. Something that will never really be revisited but will always be part of the foundation of Def Leppard."

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