Leppardmania – A Tribute to Def Leppard – Review


A Tribute to Def Leppard (Deadline/Cleopatra)
by Scott Hefflon

Dear God, what’s next, tributes to Keel and Pretty Boy Floyd? Any stone left unturned by Deadline and Dwell? I won’t give ’em any ideas… My problem with this kinda thing is it’s all the same half-wits who have no place else to go and can’t seem to get on with it. Geez, even C.C. DeVille (Poison, duh) has a new band, and they really ain’t that bad. And I hate C.C. DeVille! No one ever thinks to dig a little and get, ya know, some long-lost “talent,” either to save one of these tribs or, hell, just for the mere sake of going beyond the obvious. Then again, maybe those who’ve disappeared kinda like not being laughed at for the past few years. Stardom is tough to kick, and salvaging any dignity after the glam thing is about as rare as shitting rose-smelling bricks of solid gold.

OK, to these ears, Def Leppard only had a couple good records (yeah, the first few — I’m one of them too-cool elitist fuckers who was there first and’ll never let ya live it down), and a good handful of “classic” songs, yet most of ’em can’t exist outta context (meaning you feel foolish trying to convince anyone who wasn’t there that “Rock of Ages” was the balls in its day). Then again, to squirm out from under the weight of my assholism, I gotta admit that Pyromania had a spooky few songs that’ve stuck with me, despite the band being the absolute epitome of over-produced, inhumanly-processed pop metal posterboys (The Backstreet Boys of their day, in case you never made the connection). I’ve convinced myself that I liked them cuz I was young and stupid and could play the songs cuz they sucked almost as much as I did at the time, but hauntingly beautiful numbers like “Too Late for Love,” parts of “Foolin’,” and “Bringin’ on the Heartache” still send shivers up my spine (no matter how badly they’re slaughtered). Pyromania actually had a couple other shiners (one about a hunter, I think), but it ain’t here (and neither is that pouring sugar song from later daze, thankfully) so I’m not gonna admit to having a rotten-soft spot for this record any more than I already have.

The backing band to this, shall we say, “spotty” tribute is mostly the latter-day poofs, but I coulda played this fuckin’ record so it’s not really that important. But the names are Jerry Dixon and Eric Turner (Warrant), Randy Castillo (who’s credited to the new, not-so-Mötley Crüe yet he’s played with Ozzy and others), and Tracii Guns (L.A. Guns). Vocals by John Corabi (Union) “Wasted,” Joe Leste (Bang Tango) “Rock Brigade,” Jani Lane (Warrant) “Photograph,” Kevin DuBrow (Quiet Riot) “Rock, Rock” remixed by Fredco, Stevie Rachelle (Tuff) “Too Late for Love,” Steve Whiteman (Kix) “Foolin’,” Kelly Hansen (Hurricane) “Rock of Ages,” Phil Lewis (L.A. Guns) “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak,” Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys) “Let it Go,” Jizzy Pearl (Love/Hate) “High & Dry,” Kory Clarke (Warrior Soul) “You Got Me Running,” and Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt) “On Through the Night.”

One final admission: “Let it Go” smokes! From the early AC/DC-by-way-of-Fastway material (if you don’t know what I mean, be thankful), this Dangerous Toy fellow really hits it and brings it out. OK, one other thing… As much as I openly and vehemently HATE cock-rockin’ dumbasses (Crüe, G’N’R, whoever) jumping the industrial/electro bandwagon (now that it’s way, way past its prime: The losers can’t even cop out well, can they?), this Fredco character makes DuBrow’s “Rock, Rock” into an arena-screaming raver ala KMFDM (sans distorted vocals). Very, very nice. It’s worthy of the dance club scene, and it puts the song in a whole new, contemporary light. Now that’s what these stupid tributes are for!
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