Def Leppard squashed the last shimmering shard of hope held close to my rocker-chick heart that they still maintained a bit of coolness. They appeared live on Dancing with the Stars. No really. Live. As ballroom dancers whirled around them in sequins and bad self-tanner. I know, I know…people love this wholesome, family entertainment. Which is exactly why it disturbs me that Def Leppard would appear there. In the midst of pondering the horror, I (the marketing/PR girl that I am) wondered if Def Leppard was: 1) appealing to the demographics of the show; 2) Trying to spit shine their image; 3) earning some quick cash; or 4) losing their marbles.
Now granted, in the grand scheme of rock star reputation, Def Leppard was no Guns N’ Roses. They probably didn’t trash many hotel rooms or assault groupies with live aquatic animals but they weren’t exactly clean cut. The drummer, afterall, wore the union jack for shorts! (Gasp!) And I’ve seen that one-armed drummer in action and he is BAD ASS. Do not be mistaken, Def Leppard was the master of Pyrotechnic British Heavy Metal in the 80’s. They were one of the early saviors of MTV, with catchy videos and smashing good looks. (Joe Elliott…sigh…)
Def Leppard has been crowned, however, the most unluckiest band in Rock n Roll. Their excesses caused them to lose not only the arm of their drummer, Rick Allen, but original guitarist Pete Willis who was kicked out of the band for severe alcoholism (how bad are you when you are fired from a rock band?); Later guitarist Steve Clark died from an overdose of drugs in combination with alcohol, making him the official 110th rocker to die from his own vomit (Ok I made that number up). So really, after all those bad mishaps, its just too late to try and salvage any sort of reputation you may have once (if at all) had.
Ok, so we’ve established Def Leppard’s status in the world of the rock n roll lifestyle. Yes, they could be trying to appeal to an older sophisticated Generation X’er crowd that once banged their heads to Rock Rock (Til You Drop) and now enjoy B-listers doing the Fox Trot to Pour Some Sugar on Me. Ok, granted, Pour Some Sugar on Me was the pop-phase of Def Leppard and it was all pretty much down hill from there. Even I acknowledge it to be Def Leppard’s least shining moment. But Def Leppard as entertainment for Dancing with the Stars? No. Not my generation. Not me. Not ever.
I believe the biggest (unfortunate) likelihood is that Def Leppard simply sold out. Their last two new albums have been less than stellar money-makers and even their compilation (greatest hits) albums have not scored big. My guess is the High n Dry funds are high and dry.