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Def Leppard Band Member / Pete Willis

guitars from 1977-1982

A section for Def Leppard guitarist Pete Willis with details of all releases and tours played on and personal information.

Def Leppard Pete Willis.

Pete Willis 1977 to 1982

  • Instrument - Guitars/Backing Vocals.
  • Joined Band - November 1977.
Main Information
  • Full Name - Peter Andrew Willis.
  • Birth Date - Tuesday, 16th February 1960.
  • Birth Location - Sheffield, England.
  • Nicknames - Pete.
  • Joined Band - November 1977
  • Left Band - July 1981
  • Previous Bands - Atomic Mass (Band became Def Leppard).
  • Other Bands - Gogmagog.
  • Other Bands - Night Run.
  • Other Bands - The Few (who later became Roadhouse).
  • Other Bands - Roadhouse.
  • Lives In - Crookes, Sheffield.
  • Wife - Lindsay Willis (formerly Smith/Sister of Joe's friend Andy Smith) - Married 1985.
  • Children - Sons Andrew/Luke.
  • Read More

pete willis / band member info

Pete was born in Sheffield, England and started playing pretend guitar at the age of eight.
He was inspired by a video of Jimi Hendrix playing Voodoo Chile.
His first real guitar was bought at age twelve and was played through the family record player.
He went on to form Atomic Mass at Tapton School alongside Rick Savage and Tony Kenning.
Pete played on all Def Leppard releases up to the 'Pyromania' album sessions in 1982.

In 1989 he appeared in the BBC 'Rock Of Ages - The Def Leppard Story' documentary.
This was followed in 2002 by the VH1 'Ultimate Albums: Pyromania' special.

After Def Leppard

After Def Leppard he used royalty money from 'Pyromania' to help set up Crow Edge Studios in Sheffield.
He played with Gogmagog (studio only), Night Run, The Few and Roadhouse.
In 1990 he formed The Few with ex-Night Run guitarist Richard Day (initially featuring Frank Noon on drums).
The later became Roadhouse and released a self-titled album in 1991 but split in 1992.
The album was recorded at Crow Edge Studios.

Firing From Def Leppard (1982)

Pete was fired on 11th July 1982 in the Earls Court area of London, the day of the Fifa Football World Cup Final.
He had been drinking too much when recording 'Pyromania' and was unable to play his guitar at recording sessions.
A bad session with producer Mutt Lange when trying to record a guitar solo led to his dismissal.

Gogmagog (1985)

A supergroup featuring Pete that was put together by Jonathan King. One three song EP was released in June 1985.
The band also featured three ex-Iron Maiden members and one ex member of Whitesnake.

Rick Allen on Pete Willis (2015)

"He's back in Sheffield, you know, he's doing well. He seems to do well when he's in a studio situation as opposed to going out in a live situation. You know all of the bands that he's put together. When it comes to that crucial - that critical time when it's time for him to go out on the road.
It seems to affect him in a way where he can't sort of push through to the next step. Which is performing live in front of an audience.
So there may be an issue with stage fright. I saw him in the early days really suffer, really struggle with stage fright.
I wish him all the best and I hope he's doing great."

Joe Elliott on Pete Willis (March 2019)

"Another significant moment in this band's birth was the simple act of missing a bus. Which is something that I did on one August night in 1977. I decided to walk home instead of waiting for the next one. Fate would have it that I would bump into a young kid who I knew to be a pretty good guitar player. That kid was a guy called Pete Willis. Pete was the co founder of this band and one of the best right hands in the business. Now sadly Pete couldn't be with us tonight. But I want to emphasise how very important Pete's role was in this band in the early days."

"He was a terrific player. He had a very mischievous sense of humour. But he brought plenty of great musical ideas to this band. And it was Pete after a chance meeting in a college canteen. Both reaching for the same guitar magazine. Introduced us to the late great Steve Clark."


As of 2002 Pete was running a property management company in Sheffield with his wife.
He revealed this in a rare interview with Classic Rock magazine and said he had no plans to record music again.

Post-Leppard band The Few featured Def Leppard E.P. drummer Frank Noon prior to becoming Roadhouse.
Frank co-wrote one of the songs that ended up on their debut self-titled album.
The Few played some live shows in early 1990 before getting a new drummer and recording their album.
Pete sat out many live shows and was replaced by Brian Hall. In 1991 they toured with No Sweat and Gillan.

Pete co-wrote ten songs with Roadhouse. Six album tracks and four B-Sides.
Mike Shipley and Pete Woodroffe provided additional production on four Roadhouse songs as well as mixing the album.
At the time they were also working with Def Leppard on the 'Adrenalize' album.

releases featured on

tours played on

  • All tours from 1978 to 1981.

releases featured on

  • All albums until Pyromania (1983)
  • All singles until Photograph Reissue (1984)

instruments played

  • Electric Guitar.
  • Backing Vocals.

other bands/projects

  • Roadhouse - 'Roadhouse' Album 1991.
  • Roadhouse - 'Hell Can Wait' Single 1992.
  • Roadhouse - 'All Join Hands' Single 1991.
  • Roadhouse - 'Tower Of Love' Single 1991.
  • Roadhouse - Four Song Demo 1991.
  • Night Run - 'Forever' Single 1987.
  • Gogmagog - 'I Will Be There E.P.' 12 Inch 1985.

pete willis / latest news

Def Leppard News
11th july 2020

38 Years Ago Original Guitarist PETE WILLIS Leaves DEF LEPPARD

Original Def Leppard guitarist Pete Willis was fired from the band in London, England on this day in 1982.

Def Leppard News
30th november 2019

How DEF LEPPARD Formed 42 Years Ago This Month In SHEFFIELD

Def Leppard formed as a band exactly 42 years ago this month in Sheffield, England.

Def Leppard News
25th November 2019

41 Years Ago DEF LEPPARD Record The DEF LEPPARD E.P. At Fairview Studios

Def Leppard started recording The Def Leppard EP in Willerby, Hull, England 41 years ago on this day in 1978.

pete willis / tours played on

High 'n' Dry 1981
Def Leppard Tour / 1981

High 'n' Dry Tour

137 Shows played from June to December.

On Through The Night 1980
Def Leppard Tour / 1980

On Through The Night Tour

140 Shows played from January to December.

Early Years 1978/1979
Def Leppard Tour - 1978 / 1979

Early Years Tours

71 Shows played from July 1978 to November 1979.

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