Monday, May 26, 2008
DEF LEPPARD Frontman - 'I've Just Had A Steroid Injection In My Butt"
"AIIIITICCHOOOOOW!” The sneeze ricochets off the mike stand before disappearing, damply, behind the drum riser. Roadies wince. Guitar techs flinch. The culprit - a middle-aged man with a pyramid of flammable blond hair - sniffs sheepishly. Fumbling in the pockets of his distressed denim jeans, he extracts a wad of tissues and proceeds to dab his streaming nose. “Bloody hell,” snuffles Joe Elliot, by way of apology. “That were a big 'un.”
As with the sneezing, so with the rock. When DEF LEPPARD fall ill, they do so with the brio you'd expect of a band so enamoured with the pageantry of stadium rock they used to be deposited onstage in laundry baskets. Two weeks into their world tour, the diamond-selling soft metal warhorses found themselves flattened by an upper respiratory tract infection. X-rays were undertaken. Sick notes were scribbled. Pyjamas - possibly distressed denim pyjamas with tiny diamante semi-quavers - were donned. Now, just days after they were given the all-clear, a sneeze-punctuated soundcheck at a glumly utilitarian amphitheatre on the outskirts of San Diego does not bode well for a still-poorly Joe Elliot. Does he want to get rocked? He does not. Frankly, the 48-year-old singer would rather be tucked up on the tour bus, sucking a lozenge and watching Dalziel and Pascoe (“I love Dalziel and Pascoe!”). But the die is cast: 20,000 Californians have ensured that tonight's gig is a sell-out and the show must go on.
Elliot, understandably, is concerned. “I've just had a steroid injection in my butt,” he rasps, wincing as he manoeuvres into a folding chair in the concrete garden that serves as the venue's hospitality area. “It bloody hurts, but what can you do? We can't afford to cancel. I mean, just blowing out them shows we did (six North American concerts have been rescheduled) has turned this into the most expensive cough in rock'n'roll, hurr-hurr!”
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