Joe Elliott Names The Band Stigmatized As ‘Poor Man’s Led Zeppelin’

Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott recently sat down with Classic Rock and listed his top ten albums that he can’t live without. Elliott shared a band that made it on the list that was ‘poor man’s Zeppelin.’ Here’s what the frontman said:

“I can’t remember how I discovered this [Montrose]. I can’t remember where I heard it or the shop I bought it from. In those days, you bought records because you thought the cover was cool and hoped the music matched the sleeve. Even to this day, it sounds like it could have been made last week. Ted Templeman did an amazing job — it’s the reason Van Halen got him.”

He added:

“Ronnie Montrose was an incredible guitar player, and Sammy Hagar — even to this day — is a stunning vocalist. And the thought that Ronnie Montrose and Bill Church (the bass player) actually played with Van Morrison [on Tupelo Honey and Saint Dominic’s Preview] beggars belief. Denny Carmassi’s drumming was right up there with Bonham.”

Elliott explained why he thought people categorized Montrose as a cheap version of Led Zeppelin by sharing:

“The negativity around the band was probably the only thing that stopped them from going places, and because people thought they were poor man’s Zeppelin. The album was very reminiscent of Zeppelin, but its production was bigger. It’s just a really good slice of American rock, but it sounds very British.”

Besides Joe using the phrase ‘poor man’s Zeppelin,’ AC/DC’s Angus Young had also described Deep Purple with the phrase after the two bands got into a fistfight at the 1975 Sunbury Pop Festival. Angus said:

“I saw Deep Purple live once, and I paid money for it, and I thought, ‘Geez, this is ridiculous.’ You just see through all that sort of stuff. I never liked those Deep Purples or those sort of things. I always hated it. I always thought it was a poor man’s Led Zeppelin.”

You can read Joe Elliott’s interview with Classic Rock here and listen to ‘Montrose’ below.