DEF LEPPARD frontman Joe Elliott has hit back at POISON singer Bret Michaels and drummer Rikki Rockett over their response to Elliott's comments at a June 6 press conference at the Sweden Rock Festival, in which Elliott said bands like POISON and MÖTLEY CRÜE had "no substance in their music" and therefore relied more on their image in the '80s. Rockett questioned Elliott's rock historian credentials in his posting, and wrote, "I'd be hurt if this were coming from John Lennon... So it takes about one minute and 45 seconds to put on eyeliner. I suppose during that same time you were writing the next 'Imagine'."
Michaels had already responded to Elliott's comments earlier, saying, "We have not sold out, and continuously, for 20 years every arena because we care about just our appearance. The music comes first." He then added, "(DEF LEPPARD) shouldn't be knocking anyone about their music since they just did a show called 'Dancing With The Stars' in the U.S. and they got crucified because they fucking lip-synched the entire show, so before they bust anyone's balls, I've never lip-synched a fucking thing in my life — ever! It's the pot calling the kettle black."
In a brand new message posted at DEF LEPPARD's official web site, Elliott writes, "Whoah boys, slow down!!! Well, Bret has a point, we DID lip-synch on 'Dancing With The Stars'... absolutely... a show they'd love to be on, no doubt! But it was two-fold. One, the nature of the show didn't lean towards a full live performance, too many restrictions, so we lip-synched — the way ALL artists do when they shoot videos (and the same as we did on 'American Bandstand' 25 years ago, and every time we did 'Top Of The Pops', dozens of times, so to us Englishmen, it's no big deal). Two, I had a severe respritory infection, as highlighted by my croaking through the (absolutely 100% live!) 'Ellen' show performance the day before! My throat doctor (Dr. Sugarman, possibly Bret's doctor too!) advised me NOT to sing for a week, but these shows were all on the week our new album was released, so canceling wasn't an option.... hence my rather again croaky performance on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' the next night! I was simply making the following simple point when I said a lot of those Hollywood bands weren't 'real' (or whatever I said)... I was born Joseph Elliott, Sav was born Richard Savage, Rick was born Richard Allen, Phil was born Philip Collen, Viv was born Vivian Campbell, and oh, Steve was born Stephen Clark. I don't think anyone in POISON uses their real name, do they? And I could name hundreds of others who don't, but POISON came to mind because I was asked about them! It's nothing personal, it was just an answer to a question. As for being 'crucified' for lip-synching, one DJ on KLOS doesn't worry me, however, a Top 5 entry in the Billboard album chart the week after and very healthy ticket sales seems to lean towards the fact that most of our fans knew that I was sick and that I 'took one for the team,' as it were. Calm down boys, you've heard worse, no?! Hey... Rikki implies we're miming on tour?! HA!!! Well, he's welcome to come see us anytime he wants... Obviously not used to hearing a good band very often then, is he?? :) Also, glitter rock may well have been re-christened in the 80's by er, someone in Hollywood, but trust me, I WAS THERE in 1972 in the UK, when Bowie, Bolan, SLADE, SWEET etc..... ruled with GLAM ROCK! Check out some old mags and you'll see for yourself. I'm no historian, just a big fan, but sorry, Rikki (excuse me if I've spelled that wrong, though!), you're wrong here, mate... very wrong! As you might say yourself, chill dude, just shootin' the shit! PS: Rikki — John Lennon is dead, in case no no told you... And 'Elliott' is spelled with 2 'T's..."
Video footage of Elliott's original comment and Bret's response can be viewed below.