On the face of it that’s a pretty sad state of affairs and one that in all fairness should never have been allowed to happen. Def Leppard, to my mind, were always a cut above the competition during those early days and their quest for combined melody and ultra-smooth presentation was something that should have been actively encouraged rather than sneered at.
Cracking Leppard in the States has represented a major investment. The band’s backers (Including Peter Mensch of AC/DC fame) spent huge amounts of money on the “High ‘n’ Dry” album.
Refusing to panic when it didn’t set the world on fire, they ploughed twice as many greenies into “Pyromania”.
It took an incredible nine months to record but their faith was well-founded and Leppard have now repaid the investment several times over.
“Pyromania” is a great record, almost perfect, but a little clinical and precise if anything – and that can be just as nauseating as listening to a scratched second hand copy of the MC5’s “Kick Out The Jams” on a single speaker Dansette. Too good to be true.
Sitting in the intimate (?) confines of Phonogram’s press office, having just completed the European segment of their world tour, twin lead guitarists Steve Clark and Phil Collen look suitably shattered. It’s been a lot of hard work then chaps?
“You could say that,” mutters Phil, “but you get used to it after a certain amount of time. It’s like going away on a holiday that never ends; it’s great at the beginning but after a while things catch up on you and that’s when you realise it’s a great deal of hard work.”
Did you think “Pyromania” would be what really has turned out to be the success story of 1983?
“It’s a great record,” says Steve. “We had a fair idea that the material we had prepared for the LP was strong enough to beat ‘High ‘n’ Dry’ but to be honest with you, it came as a real shock to find us top three all through the summer. We spent nine months on and off doing the album and getting everything exactly right, including the business side of things, so we did have everything geared up for its release. But when you remember that our first live dates this year were in the UK and by the time we got to Hammersmith the thing was already top 10 in the US – and we hadn’t even promoted it – that was when it hit home all right!”
Phil: “For me it was an even bigger surprise. I mean after Girl finally split I was almost penniless and living from day to day wondering where my next meal was coming from. Then I got a call from Joe (Elliott) out of the blue asking me to take over from Pete Willis. I was so content just to be back in a band again let alone sitting in the American charts without even playing a single date over there.”