Joe Elliott defends Def Leppard against accusations of using backing tracks

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Joe Elliott wants fans to know that what they see at a Def Leppard concert is all live.

“You want people to hear it and go, ‘My God, they’re tight,’ but you can tell there’s a difference between the live and the record,” he tells Stereogum in a new interview.

While Elliott said he doesn’t “normally comment on this kind of stuff,” he wanted to set the record straight after W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes and Testament’s Chuck Willy had claimed the band used backing tracks in concert. 

“I’m flattered because their standards must be very different to ours,” Elliott says. “For anybody that thinks we use backing tracks, it must mean that when they hear us, they can’t believe how good it is for real.”

He adds, “The fact is that if you rehearse the way we do and you’re as talented as the band are as musicians, then maybe you would believe it. I’d be happy to invite any of those guys to come stand side stage with a pair of headphones on so they could actually hear what’s coming out of the stage.”

Elliott does acknowledge the use some effects, like keyboards and drum loops, the latter of which he says is used by “thousands of other drummers to enhance a sound.” 

“But backing tracks or playing along to a backing track — we’ve never done that, never,” he insists. “We’ve never mimed to the vocals, or we’ve never had multiples of stuff on tape. It’s literally live.”

Finally Elliott notes, “So, sorry Chuck and Chris Holmes, but you’ve got that one completely wrong. But thanks for thinking that we need them. We don’t. We’re that good.”

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