Def Leppard's Joe Elliott laughs off claims they use backing tracks at gigs

Joe Elliott insists they have never used a backing track or tape at their concerts but is "flattered" some people think they do.



Def Leppard insist they have never used a backing track at their concerts
Def Leppard insist they have never used a backing track at their concerts

Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott has reacted after the band was accused of using tapes and backing tracks for their concerts.

The 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' hitmaker insists he is not fazed by the musicians who made the claims because it shows that they think their performances are too good to be true.

In a lengthy discussion with Stereogum, he said: “I don’t normally comment on this kind of stuff, but a friend of mine just sent me some link to something on YouTube, a recent posting by, forgive me, I don’t know his name, Chuck something from Testament [singer Chuck Billy], I think it is, and [ex-W.A.S.P. guitarist] Chris Holmes accusing us of using backing tracks.

“I don’t get angry at this. I’m flattered because their standards must be very different to ours. For anybody that thinks we use backing tracks, it must mean that when they hear us, they can’t believe how good it is for real.

"We don’t use backing tracks. We use effects.

“God, who wouldn’t? When there’s four people singing, we use effects. There’s no tapes of backing vocals."

They do have some tricks that they use, such as a triggered loop for the drums and keyboards, but he insists everything is played live and he's never mimed.

He explained: "We use keyboards. We use a few drum loops because, in fairness, two-armed drummers use drum loops, but Rick Allen, to play a song like 'Rocket', it’s a cacophony of toms that one arm couldn’t play. So yeah, we use a triggered loop, which is part of his drum kit, but [U2 drummer] Larry Mullen’s been doing that for years. So have thousands of other drummers to enhance a sound. But backing tracks or playing along to a backing track — we’ve never done that, never. We’ve never mimed to the vocals, or we’ve never had multiples of stuff on tape. It’s literally live.”

In fact, the 64-year-old rocker admits their high-octane performances often take a "toll" on them.

He went on: "If we’re running at about 90 per cent [live], it’s more than most people’s 100 per cent. Because we do play and sing, it does take a toll. You can, say, play Denver, where it’s a mile above sea level, and if you’ve got a gig the next day, your voice is going to be pretty shot. We have to get to a level where if it’s a little under last night, it’s still acceptable to the audience because of the adrenaline and the fact that it is live and you can hear maybe a bit of hoarseness or somebody’s fingers slip because it’s so cold, they can’t keep their fingers on the strings. Things like that happens to every single band, and that’s what brings the humanity to it. But we’re very proud of the fact that we play live, and we sing live, and we don’t use tapes.”