Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott Hates The Heavy Metal Term

During a recent appearance on Rockonteurs with Gary Kemp and Guy Pratt, Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott disclosed that he doesn’t like the term ‘heavy metal.’

After one of the hosts said Def Leppard was definitely part of a new scene of metal, the singer replied:

“I have an issue with the term heavy metal because everybody outside of rock always thinks if you’re a heavy metal band, it’s like bad news.”

Elliott Talks About Other Bands

Then, the interviewer stepped in and said AC/DC were not heavy metal. Elliott confirmed his point, explaining:

“They were a blues rock band. UFO and Thin Lizzy were not heavy metal. Motörhead, they even had a blues influence to them. Pure metal… and even Judas Priest… Queen were never a heavy metal band but they had a couple of heavy metal songs thanks to Brian May and I think we were pretty much the same. It was rock, absolutely heavy rock for sure but it wasn’t dunderhead in the sense of like…”

The host added:

“But it was so pop on the vocal. That stuff was also beautifully huge.”

Joe continued to say:

“Listen to our first EP. There’s a song called ‘Ride Into the Sun,’ which is a total pop song but then ‘Getcha Rocks Off’ was a full-on rock song. If we’re heavy metal, then so are the Rolling Stones cuz it’s two guitars, bass, drums, and a singer. It’s a silly term. I like rock.”

The Singer Thinks Def Leppard Has Always Been A Rock Band

Elliott always said Def Leppard wasn’t really a heavy metal band. In a 2005 interview with VH1, the rocker stated:

“We’ve had this argument many times. If you put Lemmy, Scott Ian, and [Ronnie James] Dio in a room and say ‘Heavy metal — Def Leppard, discuss,’ they’d all burst out laughing. But at the same time, you could take Pink and Christina Aguilera and say ‘Def Leppard — pop music’ and they’d do the same thing. I don’t know where we stand. I don’t think we ever believed we were a metal band. I think Maiden were a metal band and a very good one. We’re a rock band.”

Def Leppard and Journey are going on a tour together in the summer of this year. It’s happening from July to September and includes performances by Steve Miller Band, Heart, and Cheap Trick.

You can listen to the rest of Elliott’s interview below.