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About Joe & Def Leppard

Def Leppard - and rock music as a whole - may have been very different indeed had Joe been better at time keeping.

As legend goes, it was Joe's tardiness, and subsequent missing of his bus home, that allowed him to meet and engage in a conversation with Pete Willis - guitarist with local band, Atomic Mass (which consisted of Rick Savage, Pete Willis and Tony Kenning) Joe was invited to audition for the band as a guitarist. It was quickly decided that Joe's skills were much more suitable for the front of the stage, though, and he was recruited as lead singer.

A change of name later, first to Deaf Leppard and then to Def Leppard, and the band had their first rehearsal in November 1977. The band's repertoire consisted largely of covers, with Bowie and Thin Lizzy featuring heavily. The band's first live show took place in front of six friends at Christmas in '77.

Steve Clark joined the band as a second guitarist in early 1978 and Rick Allen replaced Tony Kenning on drums later that same year following the release of their debut EP - the Def Leppard EP.

A growing live reputation saw the band receive airplay on Radio 1, courtesy of John Peel, and the band's landmark debut album - On Through The Night - followed in March 1980. High profile support slots in the US followed, and their second album - High N Dry - was released in 1981. US TV channel MTV picked up on the band's 'Bringin On The Heartbreak' single and the album starts selling well in the US.

In 1982 Phil Collen joined the band in place of Pete Willis and the following year the band release their Pyromania album, which eventually sold upwards of 7m copies.

Following a terrible accident in 1984, which cost drummer Rick Allen his arm, the band spent a couple of years working on their fourth album. Eventually in 1987 Hysteria was released and proved to be a huge success in both the US and the UK, confirming the band's place at the top of the rock pile.

After the 227 show Hysteria tour, the band spent several years recording the follow-up to Hysteria. In 1991 tragedy struck when guitarist Steve Clark accidentally died after mixing alcohol with painkillers. A year later the band reemerged with Vivian Campbell as their new guitarist and Adrenalize as their new album.

In 1993 Def Leppard became the first band to play at the Don Valley Stadium in their hometown of Sheffield, with nearly 40,000 fans watching.

In 1995 the band broke a staggering world record, playing in three continents in 24 hours (Morrocco, London and then Vancouver - 5845 miles in a day). Their next studio album, Slang, followed in 1996.

By the time 1999 rolled around the band had racked up 10m sales of Hysteria and were the first recipients of the new Diamond Award for the feat. A few months later their ninth studio album, Euphoria, was released and was followed by a lengthy tour and then a break for band members to work on their own projects for a while. Joe and Phil recorded an album as the Cybernauts, which consisted of David Bowie/Ziggy Stardust/Spiders From Mars covers, while Vivian worked with his other band CLOCK, Rick started his own Raven Drum Foundation.

Album number ten, X, followed in 2002 with an eighteen month world tour soon after.

Three years after the tour ended the band released their long gestating covers album, entitled Yeah. The record contained versions of T Rex, Sweet, Thin Lizzy and David Bowie songs.

And then in 2008 the band released their latest studio album, Songs From The Sparkle Lounge - named after the mobile recording studio where much of the album was laid down. A co-headlining tour with Whitesnake followed and a high profile headline slot at Download 2009 saw the band hit the headlines with a blistering performance to close the festival in front of 50,000 fans.
Def Leppard took a well earned break in 2010, but Joe was never going to rest on his laurels. Not only did he start his Planet Rock show in June 2010, but he spent much of the year working with his new band.
When Mott The Hoople playeda series oflong awaited comeback shows in London at the end of 2009 Joe formed a band with most of the Quireboys to pay tribute to his heroes at each of the gigs.
The band, who called themselves the Down N Outz, performed covers of tracks by Mott The Hoople and associated acts. Probably not even the band could have expected how well the shows would be received, but soon the Down N Outz were a band in their own right and an album soon followedalong witha high profile performance at the High Voltage Festival where they were joined onstage by Ian Hunter.
In 2011 the Down N Outz hit the road with Paul Rodgers for a UK tour and started thinking about their second album. But in the spring the Def Leppard machine started roaring back into life with the announcement of their first ever live album, MIRRORBALL, which was released in the summer. The album is culled from nearly 20 years of live performances and it also contains three brand new studio tracks. Def Leppard also played a stunning headline set at Download and embarked on a world tour shortly afterwards.