DEF LEPPARD vocalist Joe Elliott spoke frankly with Robert Cherry of the Cleveland Plain Dealer about the heyday of hair metal bands, an era the veteran group has managed to survive. "In the late '80s, every band sounded like us," Elliott said. "That was the reason grunge started. I think NIRVANA could have coped with DEF LEPPARD. They just couldn't cope with 20,000 of us. But [NIRVANA frontman] Kurt Cobain did us a big favor. As much as it hurt us, he got rid of all the rubbish. The ones that survived were literally us."Surprisingly, though, Elliott isn't cynical. In many ways, he's still the fan who first was inspired to sing after witnessing a 1971 performance by glam-rockers T. REX at Sheffield City Hall in England. He counts his record collection as his most treasured possession, "particularly THE BEATLES and DAVID BOWIE bootlegs." And he enthusiastically compares and contrasts phases of DEF LEPPARD's career to those of his idols. "We came from a generation where you didn't try to destroy your heroes, you emulated them," he said. "We wanted to be like THE WHO and THE ROLLING STONES and LED ZEPPELIN — timeless British bands that were huge worldwide. People didn't put a sell-by date on those bands because they were beyond pop music."
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