Steve Baltin of AOL Music reports that DEF LEPPARD is preparing to enter the studio to begin work on a new album. "We're hoping to get started around January and get it finished by the end of the summer," frontman Joe Elliott tells AOL Music.

As for what has influenced Elliott of late, some of his responses may be a surprise, even after last year's successful "Yeah" collection of covers. "There's a great Irish band called THE ANSWER," he says. "I've got high hopes for them because they're like the new FREE, or they could be. I'm also looking forward to listening to the new MUSE album because I've just got to the point of having heard the one from 2003 enough to go, 'OK, this is Freddie Mercury joining RADIOHEAD.'" He also counts releases by the SCISSOR SISTERS and the KAISER CHIEFS among his favorites of recent years. "The KAISER CHIEFS remind me of my formative years. They remind me so much of a lot of the English bands that used to wear these suits and ride around on scooters."

If those answers surprise you, Elliott thinks they shouldn't. "I'm always going to be ELTON JOHN more than BLACK SABBATH, I'm afraid," he says. "Melody is my thing. People laugh at McCartney, but I thought this last solo album was fantastic.' Having not totally turned his back on the rock, Elliott is also enamoured of THE ROLLING STONES' latest, "A Bigger Bang". "It's their best album since 'Tattoo You'," he says. "I like nice, good, chunky rock 'n' roll. I just wish somebody else would write songs like 'Tie Your Mother Down'. I want to hear a bunch of songs like that. Maybe they'll be on our next album."


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