As reported earlier, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2019 inductees were announced this morning, an eclectic class that includes Radiohead, The Cure, The Zombies, Stevie Nicks, Roxy Music, Janet Jackson, and, of especial interest to the readers of Heavy Consequence, hard rock icons Def Leppard.
The reactions from the artists themselves have been pouring in over the last few hours, including some comments from Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott. Speaking to Rolling Stone last night before the band’s headlining gig at the Manchester Arena in his native U.K., the 59-year-old singer expressed a mixture of delight and relief at the news.
As he told journalist Andy Greene, “Now we can stop holding our breath and go, ‘Great! How wonderful to be in the same club as The Rolling Stones and The Beatles and The Who and Queen and etc., etc.’ It’s nice. It’s a good club to be in.”
In the interview, Elliott looked forward to the ceremony, which takes place on March 29th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, saying that he will be extending an invitation to original Def Leppard guitarist Pete Willis to be part of the celebration. Willis played and co-wrote many of the tracks on the band’s first three albums before being replaced during the sessions for Pyromania by Phil Collen.
“Yeah, Pete is invited. Absolutely,” Elliott said. “Whether he comes or not is up to him. We might have to drag him there by his hair. […] I haven’t seen Pete in 14 years. I don’t know if he’s aware yet. We’re going to reach out to him over the next day or two now that the dust has settled and we’ll see if he wants to come.”
The singer also discussed another former member of the group, guitarist Steve Clark, who died in 1991 after ingesting a lethal mix of alcohol and prescription drugs. When asked if Clark would be excited about the Rock Hall induction, Elliott said, “The Steve that I knew, which was for more than 13 years, I think he’d enjoy it. It’s a difficult question since a lot of what we’ve done to get where we are we did with Steve. And then everything since then has been building the fan base. It’s kind of like asking what Peter Green would think of Fleetwood Mac getting in. I think if this was to happen to 1988, Steve [would] be like, “Yeah! Awesome!” If a 60 year-old Steve were around today, I don’t know if he’d care.”
Def Leppard are currently wrapping up a run of tour dates in the U.K. with openers Cheap Trick, including tomorrow night’s gig at the Fly DSA Arena in their native Sheffield. The band’s schedule for 2019 is already filling up with a run of summer festival dates throughout Europe.