Why DEF LEPPARD Finally Allowed 'Rock Of Ages' Musical To Use Band's Music

Why DEF LEPPARD Finally Allowed 'Rock Of Ages' Musical To Use Band's Music

Joe Elliott spoke to The New York Times about DEF LEPPARD's decision to finally allow the producers of the musical "Rock Of Ages" to use its songs as the show returns for a limited run in New York celebrating its 10th anniversary.

"There isn't a person alive that's never changed their mind," Elliott said. "People are going to go, 'Ah, it's good enough for you now, but it wasn't then.' Well, yeah. That's exactly right."

According to Elliott, part of the reason DEF LEPPARD was reluctant to have its music included is the fact that they were unfairly compared to the "hair-metal" bands of the '80s.

"We were always getting lumped in with this so-called new wave of British heavy metal when we first started out 40 years ago," Elliott said. "Cut forward like 10 years, and some moron — I use the word not lightly, moron — comes up with the phrase 'hair metal' and we're going, 'Dude, we couldn't have been so far removed from that if we tried.' Literally, while everybody else is poncing around Sunset Boulevard doing whatever they did, we were in Holland living next to a windmill recording the 'Hysteria' album."

Elliott added that the "Rock Of Ages" request felt like an attempt to include DEF LEPPARD's music in "a play based on everything that we stood against."

In a 2012 interview with Attention Deficit Delirium, DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen suggested that legal issues were the reason the band's music wasn't included in the original musical. Two re-recorded DEF LEPPARD songs, "Rock Of Ages" and "Pour Some Sugar On Me", made it into the "Rock Of Ages" movie adaptation co-starring Tom Cruise as self-absorbed rocker Stacee Jaxx.

"It went through the legal things, but they hadn't got it sorted out in time [when] the play was going up, although it was the title of one of our songs," he explained. "They didn't get it ready in time, and with the movie it's a whole different set of rules. They actually went through all the proper channels, and everything got sorted out. Payment got sorted out beforehand. I do believe they are going to revisit the play after the movie comes out. If it's a success, they'll add more stuff in it [the show], and we’re totally up for that. I'd even be up for actually being in the house band for awhile, which would be hilarious. I think it would be great fun."

Collen also insisted that DEF LEPPARD "would have loved to have been" included in the musical when it first opened up on Broadway. "It's called 'Rock Of Ages', so it's a bit lame that we're not in it," he said. "But like I said, it just didn't get sorted out in time, and I'm sure it will [in the future]."

"Rock Of Ages" has returned for a special 16-week run this summer. The musical is being staged at the off-Broadway theater New World Stages and runs from June 19 through September 29.

The original Tony-nominated musical played a six-year run on Broadway, racking up more than 2,300 performances at the Brooks Atkinson and Helen Hayes Theatres, earning five Tony nominations, including "Best Musical" and a nod for director Kristin Hanggi. The show also enjoyed successful national and international tours.

The musical's soundtrack boasts other 1980s hit songs, including BON JOVI's "Wanted Dead Or Alive", TWISTED SISTER's "We're Not Gonna Take It", WHITESNAKE's "Here I Go Again", POISON's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and JOURNEY's "Don't Stop Believing".


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