My First Metal Band

As a child of the ’80s, there are so many genres of music influential to my early years. There is New Wave, Pop, Punk, Rock N’ Roll, Electronic, Hip Hop, and of course Heavy Metal. I have grown to dislike the label, “Hair Metal”. I believe that this takes away from what so many bands accomplished and it always seems to make people confrontational about defending their personal taste. Plus, my first metal band could easily be written off as one of those types of bands. I’m talking about Def Leppard.

 

DefLeppard01

 

I have grown to dislike the label, “Hair Metal”. I believe that this takes away from what so many bands accomplished and it always seems to make people confrontational about defending their personal taste. Plus, my first metal band could easily be written off as one of those types of bands. I’m talking about Def Leppard.

Def Leppard is essential ’80s Heavy Metal/Hard Rock. The way the band formed and rose to popularity is the source material for Rock N’ Roll dreams.

Formed in Sheffield, England, a town known for its manufacturing plants and blue-collar work ethic, Def Leppard hit US shores as part of what is now known as, “The New Wave of British Metal”.

I remember Def Leppard primarily from watching MTV as a kid. They had at least four different music videos that made a huge impact on me. Photograph, Rock of Ages, Pour Some Sugar On Me, and Rocket. Back when MTV played music videos, Def Leppard was the band that others were trying to match and/or beat. They had their own unique sound, look, and showmanship.

I used to stare at the cover art of, “Pyromania” for long periods of time. My parents had the album on vinyl. A skyscraper in cross-hairs. Shrapnel flung away from the ball of fire and rising smoke. The band photos on the back were Polaroids, singed by fiery matches showing the members of the band performing flooded with red light. They were music royalty in my wide-eyed stare.

 

DefLeppard02

 

I can remember going out and buying my first cassette tape, Def Leppard’s “Hysteria”. The album artwork just as memorable. A mutated organism with two faces surrounded by neon Tron-like geometric patterns, this time, caught in a triangular cross-hair. It remains one of their best albums, not just in terms of sales. It spawned several hit songs including the ’80s anthem, “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.

The ’80s were good to Def Leppard, they shined throughout the entire decade. Their run, like so many other bands, was derailed by the influx of grunge in the ’90s, not to mention the death of guitarist, Steve Clark.

I am lucky enough to have seen Def Leppard live. I went with my family and a friend to see them during their “Euphoria” tour. For me personally, I like when bands can perform as close to what the record sounds like. By that measure, Def Leppard is among one of the best live bands I have ever heard in my lifetime. They sound incredible.

I’ve been listening to Def Leppard for at least thirty years now. It is hard to believe. When it is all said and done, Def Leppard will still have a place in my music library, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

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