The Reason Joe Elliott Apologized Mexican Americans

Many celebrities from all parts of the entertainment industry currently have millions of followers on different social media platforms; therefore, they can easily reach their fans by sharing posts. This internet era made them more influential than before, and they should be careful about their words because it can cause serious backlashes, criticisms, and other disputes between their fans.

However, they were also a pre-social media era fueled by the press and carried by the fans that caused quite the trouble for musicians. The artists reached their fans through public statements, interviews, and speeches during the concerts for many years. Sometimes, the words they said in their performances, mainly under the influence of drugs and alcohol, caused a lot of trouble to them. After the band’s concert in El Paso, Texas, Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott became one of these musicians who should’ve watched their words.

When Did Joe Elliott Make A Controversial Statement About Def Leppard’s El Paso Concert?

Def Leppard released their third studio album named ‘Pyromania’ on January 20, 1983, and it was their new guitarist Phil Collen’s first album after replacing Pete Willis. The record reflects the band’s change from heavy metal to more radio-friendly rock sounds, making it very popular and commercially successful. As a result, ‘Pyromania’ sold more than ten million copies in the US and hit many charts.

The band began Pyromania World Tour on February 9, 1983, in London to promote their new album, and it ended on December 18, 1983, in Dortmund. In the beginning, probably none of the band members couldn’t have guessed that the tour would turn into a nightmare for them. During their tour, Def Leppard performed a concert in El Paso, Texas, on September 6, and then they went to Arizona for their next live performance.

In their Arizona show, the band’s lead singer Joe Elliott invited the audience to join him while singing a song from ‘Pyromania’ named ‘Rock of Ages’ in a very controversial way. He tried to encourage them, saying that they should be louder because ‘that place with all the greasy Mexicans’ sang better than them. Elliott’s words were defined as racism towards the Mexican-American population of El Paso, and they were in almost every headline.

The ‘greasy Mexicans’ comment caused a harsh backlash, especially in the city. The citizens boycotted Def Leppard and all local rock stations that continued to play any of their songs. Even then-Mayor Jonathan Rogers suggested the band’s permanent ban from performing live in the city. Shortly after, Elliott called an El Paso radio station, KLAQ, and apologized for his racist statement about the audience in El Paso.