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Def Leppard Band Member / Tony Kenning

drums from 1977-1978

A section for Def Leppard's original drummer Tony Kenning with details of all releases and tours played on and personal information.

Def Leppard Tony Kenning.

Tony Kenning 1977 to 1978

  • Instrument - Drums.
  • Joined Band - November 1977.
Main Information
  • Full Name - Tony Kenning.
  • Birth Date - Unknown.
  • Birth Location - Sheffield, England.
  • Nicknames - Rueben.
  • Previous Bands - Atomic Mass (Band became Def Leppard).
  • Other Bands - Cairo.
  • Lives In - Sheffield.
  • Read More

tony kenning / band member info

Tony was (presumably) born in Sheffield, England.
He attended Tapton Comprehensive School along with future Def Leppard bassist Rick Savage.
Together they would form Atomic Mass in 1976 with Peter Doubleday (guitar) and Nicholas Mackley (singer). Later featuring Pete Willis.
By November 1977 Atomic Mass would become Def Leppard after they were joined by Joe Elliott.

Tony is credited with finding the legendary Portland Works 'Spoon Factory' rehearsal rooms for the band in 1977.
He also suggested changing the name 'Deaf Leopard' to 'Def Leppard'.

Tony was nicknamed 'Reuben' due to his 'classical looks' according to the 1987 'Animal Instinct' official biography book.
Joe Elliott has said in interviews that Tony played with the band for at least the first eight Def Leppard shows.

Firing From Def Leppard (1978)

Tony was fired from the band over dinner with Joe Elliott on 18th November 1978.
His firing came just a week before the recording of The Def Leppard E.P.
The band thought he was not reliable enough and after he missed rehearsals decided he had to go.
Joe told him of his firing at The Wapentake which the band would go on to play in 1979.

Tony Kenning on his firing (1987)

"I said I was thinking of leaving anyway. And it was true at the time. I didn't really want to leave, but I was feeling low."
"They'd all made up their minds that the band was the only thing they wanted to do."
"I was still a bit unsure."

Spoon Factory Rehearsal (1977-1979)

Tony was the band member in charge of finding a rehearsal space in Sheffield after they formed.
In September 1977 he found one near Sheffield United's Bramall Lane football ground for five pounds per week.

Def Leppard Band Name (1977)

In late 1977 it was Tony who suggested changing the spelling of Joe Elliott's original 'Deaf Leopard' band name.
'Deaf Leopard' then became 'Def Leppard' which has been used ever since.
Any resemblance to 'Led Zeppelin' was unintentional.


Tony was one of the four original members of pre-Lep band Atomic Mass who became Def Leppard.
He later played in a four-piece pop band called Cairo who released an independent single called 'Eight Bells' in 1984.
They were still together in mid 1985 and rehearsing in the same Spoon Factory he had found for Def Leppard.

In November 2013 Tony tried to sell the original Pearl drum kit he had used on the 1978 live shows, demo recordings.
The kit failed to sell. It had been listed with a price of 10,000 UK pounds.

Tony Kenning (eBay Listing Quotes 2013)

"For sale is the Drum Kit owned and used by me when I played for Def Leppard in the late 1970's. I have owned this kit for 35 years."
"It was used in all the early Gig's and was also used on the recording of the 1978 Demo featuring me playing and also the self financed Def Leppard E.P."

tours played on

  • First eight shows from July to November 1978.

releases featured on

  • Not featured on any official releases.
  • The 1978 demos feature his drumming.

instruments played

  • Drums.

other bands/projects

  • Cairo - 'Eight Bells' Single 1984.

tony kenning / latest news

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.

Def Leppard News
18th july 2019

41 Years Ago DEF LEPPARD Play First Public Live Show In SHEFFIELD

Def Leppard played their first ever public live show in Sheffield, England 41 years ago on this day in 1978.

tony kenning / tours played on

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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