I’m A Drummer! Reliving Hysteria Part III

logo_def_leppardThe work week before the big holiday weekend grinds slowly by… tick… tock. The clock, it hardly moves! Let’s take a break and get caught up on the trials and tribulations of Def Leppard. If you haven’t seen episodes one and two, let me catch you up. These guys lived in Sheffield, they formed a band, one guy got pissed and left, they made an album, played shows, got some sort of agent. But the dark cloud of trouble hangs over them…

We know it’s only a matter of time before someone mismanages funds, the record companies screw them, women leave them, they leave women, someone drinks themself to death, someone OD’s, someone punches someone else in the mouth, someone gets caught not paying taxes, someone shoots someone with an antique gun that wasn’t supposed to be loaded or someone sleeps with a minor…

Episode 3: Fix Your Hair, Gorgeous


1. The first tour of America includes the song “Hello America.” Really? This worked? Well, yes, didn’t you see the “Hello America” montage? They were featured in the Omaha Star! Apparently, this song and parading about in the U.S. rankled the Brits, who accused Def Leppard of pandering to Americans and not staying true to their roots. When they played the Reading Festival in August of ’80, the audience pelted the band with “rubbish.” I’m waiting eagerly to see if this makes it into the movie and, if so, what sorts of rubbish gets caught in their wigs.

2. Joe Elliot’s insistence that Def Leppard plays “working class heavy metal.” Really, I ask you, is there any other kind of heavy metal? Upper-middle-class heavy metal? Aristocratic heavy metal? Millionaire heavy metal? Creative class heavy metal? Every heavy metal band I’ve ever heard has catered to the working class. You listen to heavy metal on your way home from your shift at the shoelace factory or the fish cannery. You listen to heavy metal in the Dairy Queen parking lot. You don’t listen to it on your way to your Board of Directors retreat. You don’t hang out in front of Dean and DeLucca listening to Ratt or Iron Maiden.

3. The appearance of Anthony Michael Hall as Mutt Lange, uber-music producer. Anthony Michael Hall… so much promise and then… Well, maybe Wikipedia sums it up best with, “After a series of minor roles in the 1990s, his performance as Microsoft‘s Bill Gates in the 1999 film Pirates of Silicon Valley put him back in the spotlight.” Uh huh. Yeah. I don’t know if anyone is going to burn up the screen with a portrayal of Bill Gates.  I wish Quentin Tarantino would cast A.M.H. in something so he could enjoy a John Travolta-esque renaissance. Anyway, Mutt is really schoolin’ these ruffians in this episode. I had a difficult time hearing the audio on this, but I believe he threatened them with the possibility of them turning into The Knack if they didn’t work hard enough. Noooooo! Not The Knack! They’re only one notch above Cairo!

So, who is a likable character in this movie so far? Is Joe Elliot likable as he runs around as if he’s got a tightly-coiled spring up his butt, grabbing people by their shirt collars and hollering at them to count their blessings and behave? Is nymph-like Steve Clark likable as he stares wide-eyed into the future, scarf tied carefully around neck, probably thinking about having a quick snort? Is Rick Allen likable as he throws his drumsticks across the room after being denied a new toy and his snack, cranky from missing nap time? I don’t think so.

4 thoughts on “I’m A Drummer! Reliving Hysteria Part III

  1. 1. There is no Omaha Star. LIES!

    2. You know, they might be working-class, but I really don’t see how Def Leppard is even remotely heavy metal. As far as sound goes, they have way more in common with Queen than they do with Metallica.

    3. I’ve never worked with Mutt Lange, but their way of doing things in the studio there makes no goddamned sense to me at all.

  2. You don’t understand because Mutt Lange is a genius. Did you see the way he gingerly turned those knobs? Did you see the way he withheld the pretty girl in order to get the best drumming possible from a 17-year-old? Genius!!

  3. He was definitely turning knobs like a pro, but I don’t understand why he had the band playing along with their own recorded playback when Joe Elliot had his Magical Vocal Moment….

    On Def Lep/Queen: Both bands are totally dominated by big, layered vocals where a bunch of parts all harmonize with each other, with distorted guitars kind-of-halfway covering up sugary pop songs. I think Queen did a way better job of it (and Joe Elliot wasn’t fit to hold Freddie Mercury’s jock), but I really think they’re pretty similar.

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