Def Leppard's Joe Elliott calls Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 'faceless prats'

Frontman of British rockers claims institution only backs 'cool' bands, and questions the gains of being nominated

Joe Elliott, frontman of long-standing British heavy metal band Def Leppard, has laid into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the US institution that celebrates legends in rock music 25 years after the release of their first record.

"I imagine the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as this board table with six Mr Roboto's sitting around, faceless tuxedo-wearing prats," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "There are two hats. They pull out the one, 'Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Kiss, Mötley Crüe, fuck that. No.' 'Leonard Cohen, John Cougar Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, REM, the Pixies, we want all them in because they're cool. We don't want Ratt, we don't want Poison,'" he said, referring to successful glam-metal bands he saw as being overlooked.

"I was really happy when I saw Johnny Rotten tell them to go fuck themselves," he added, referring to the Sex Pistols frontman who referred to the rock institution as "a piss stain" when they were inducted in 2006. "That's what I would do ... even if I did get talked out of it by the other guys in the band. But I don't care. I don't gain anything from it ... When you get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the next day you wake up in the same bed. You don't get tours thrown at you to open for Led Zeppelin or find out Paul McCartney wants to write a song with you. It's rubbish. There's no gain from it."

His comments come after Kiss, Def Leppard's tourmates this summer, protested that members from throughout the band's career should be inducted into the Hall of Fame, rather than just the founding four. Since then, a rather philosophical debate has begun about the nature of band members, with the Hall of Fame arguing that replacement Kiss members are merely "the persona of characters" created by their makeup-wearing forebears, rather than musicians in their own right. Kiss have attacked the Hall's "questionable credibility" and "nonsense and half truths", accusing them of favouritism.

Def Leppard are eligible for the Hall of Fame, with their debut On Through the Night released in 1980. They sold over 100m albums worldwide via their brand of hard and glossy rock music, with hits including Love Bites and Pour Some Sugar on Me.

Regarding the tour, Elliott said: "We're not in competition with Kiss, but we're not stupid. They're gonna play their top tunes; we'd be fucking stupid not to. We don't want to come across as, 'Well, you just handed it to them by playing B-sides that came out in Holland and Japan to an American audience.' I don't care what the critics think. If you can't handle the responsibility of a hit record, don't write one."

Elsewhere in the interview, Elliott is also gearing up to release a side project of Mott the Hoople cover versions, and he reveals that he's "a huge Nick Drake fan ... He has a weird voice and his song structures are bizarre, but I like that naivety."

This article was amended to reflect that Def Leppard are already eligible for the Hall of Fame.


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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