DEF LEPPARD frontman Joe Elliott has slammed MelodicRock.com webmaster Andrew McNeice for posting an early review of the band's upcoming "covers" album — a review that Elliott claims was based on an "unfinished," "work-in-progress copy." In a posting on LEPPARD's official web site, Elliott writes, "It appears someone (at some site dedicated to melodic rock) thinks it's terribly clever to go public with the first review of the covers CD. Well, here's a couple of things he/she/it might like to contemplate..... IT'S NOT FINISHED YET!! He/she/it has, by the looks of things, luckily stumbled across a work-in-progress copy on someone's desk — someone who admittedly should know better than to leave a copy lying around in view of such a low life. So it's a stolen, rough UNFINISHED copy that clearly doesn't belong to them. A cheap journalistic trick that's been going on for years...
"This person (and I use the term loosely) has no ears. This is obvious from some of the comments regarding the sound. Any idiot hearing it would know it isn't finished yet, except, for it seems, this particular idiot. I would suggest that whichever mag or site he/she/it writes for reserve further judgment on the CD until it's actually finished. He/she/its opinion of the songs bothers not one bit, as song choice is always subjective (especially on a covers album). Our fans will get a chance to hear the songs and read why we chose these particular songs, but all in good time.
"A final note to the above mentioned 'music critic'..... please give it back to whoever you stole it from, you asshole."
Responding to Elliott's remarks, McNeice wrote the following on his web site:
"I could make a lengthy retort line by line to Joe's comments, but the simple facts are this: I live in Tasmania, Australia and have not made any recent round-the-world trips to raid the vaults of U.K. recording studios. To say I stole the CD is a downright lie and sheer stupidity. The CD was obviously sent to me by someone within the LEPPARD organization — the same organization that set me up to look stupid 12 months ago. And Joe himself has made past references to a 14-track covers album — which is what I received and made comments on. And to my well trained ears — this may not be the best produced or the most polished recording ever — but it sounds finished. The band may now be adding more tracks to complete an album, but for those tracks I have, the production style and EQ's match that of the already released 'Waterloo Sunset' — this is not a collection of random demos! Rick Savage has also made several comments alluring to the fact the album was finished and would have already been released had the record label been more enthusiastic.
"Work in this business long enough and you are going to piss off some artists you respect and admire. It's how these artists respond which separates those with class. I used to respect DEF LEPPARD.
"Joe is clearly in major damage-control mode here. Painting the critical journalist as an evil and a bad man — so fans will immediately discard the negative comments — is very simplistic. If they think that will work for them, then good luck, but intelligent fans will see right through this lame attack."