17. DEF LEPPARD – Part Four

by

DEF LEPPARD – Part Five 
… posted January 14th – 

CLICK HERE 

 

Once again thanks for your comments and e-mails. Some of them about Steve were very touching, especially the one from Lorelei ...

Hi Andie, Thank you for your beautiful reflections of your time spent with Steve. I can obviously relate to your sharing of feeling the need to look after him – as I did for over six years. We were blessed to have known him and to have loved him … Steve was loved by so many people … ’

We move on now on to the ‘Hysteria’ singles, an exhibition of DEF LEPPARD art and vinyl in London, the wonderful Juan (the ultimate DEF LEPPARD fan), and a competition to win a large Edition Print of your choice …

People often ask me if I feel nervous or intimidated meeting the Famous. Rarely, and there’s a simple reason. I was in Paul McCartney’s dressing room on the opening night of his first tour in well over a decade. He was generous enough to meet a number of people who were waiting outside his door to meet him. This poor woman, when she came in, was so nervous she was visibly trembling and opened her mouth several times to speak – but the words just didn’t happen. She was mortified. She’d won a competition to meet him and had waited over twenty years to be face to face with her idol. She just didn’t know what to say. What DO you say to Paul McCartney? That’s exactly the reason why I don’t get nervous – I have something to talk about – the project we’re working on. I have to discuss something that’s important, something to focus on that’s not about me or who I’m meeting – there’s a common ground which allows relationships to develop naturally.

I met DEF LEPPARD many times – at Joe’s house in Ireland, in Ibiza at recording sessions, at rehearsals for a tour and in numerous dressing rooms when they were on tour. They were great times but we had work to do and that was a responsibility we all took seriously. As Pete Burns said – ‘It’s an album sleeve, NOT a cure for cancer,’ – but, in the context of creativity and careers, there was a lot at stake. Relationships tend to be intense and you have to get to know people pretty well to get the best results and reach the right decisions. By the time ‘Hysteria’ was completed there was a mutual respect between the band and I which allowed us to push the boundaries of vinyl even further.

The ‘Hysteria’ singles.

I had this idea, when I discovered that the record companies intended to release ‘at least four singles’ from the album, of dividing the album sleeve design into four sections to use on the covers of the four singles. Later I discovered there could be more singles and possibly different song releases in different countries. There was only one way to go – use NINE sections to create a huge 3-foot square version of the album sleeve. ‘Hysteria’ was the first time I had to create artwork for CD’s and I realised the new format could be the death-knell for vinyl. It was a defining moment for me. I hated the CD format, its size, its limited packaging possibilities and most of all I hated how it would destroy a medium I loved – vinyl. I changed direction at that point – we’ll come to that soon – but I knew for the ‘Hysteria’ singles I had to come up with something that had never been done before and would probably never be done again.  The idea was a defiant celebration of 12” vinyl before its anticipated demise. It became a serious mission and I was determined to do whatever it took to get the idea off the ground.

To design a ‘set’ of singles before the first one was released was a real challenge – especially not knowing how many there would be or what they would be – but I knew the idea was good. If there were problems we’d find a way to make it happen. I showed the band the idea and they loved it. We decided that the ‘missing’ sections not allocated to singles should become part of an Edition Box Set when the last single was released. With massive support for the idea from Peter Mensch, he persuaded the record companies to go with the idea despite the huge cost of production. It is hard now, in our digital download age, where designs only stretch to pixel widths, to imagine a market where the importance of of vinyl allowed inspirational ideas to flourish and where the production of singles could be so extravagantly experimental.

I didn’t realise it at the time but I’d taken on a logistical nightmare. Not only were songs released in different territories in a different order and with different release dates – in different territories the single’s sleeve-art was not even the same size. (You would think, wouldn’t you, that 12” and 7” singles formats would be consistent? – but they weren’t.) There wasn’t a huge difference but enough to mean each division into nine sections had to be re-figured to suit each territory – to make sure they all fitted together perfectly. Earlier I told you how I had no idea where that ‘screaming head’ came from but, believe me, there were times I thought it was some kind of weird premonition of how I would actually feel (and look!) during the project. (see NB at end of blog to get to grips with the release complications)

I was involved in an exhibition early this year in London, celebrating the history of vinyl and, for the first time, I actually put all nine sleeves between two sheets of clear perspex and displayed the giant album as the centre-piece of the show. It looked fantastic …

Ok … it’s FanTime …

During the exhibition at the A&D Gallery (more on the gallery when the Blog enters the bizarre and hilarious world of the WALT DISNEY Corporation) a new benchmark was set to define ‘Serious Fan’ – Juan is loyalty and dedication personified. I met him at the gallery and he had a wonderful story to tell …

Juan lived in Madrid. He saw the exhibition advertised but there were only a few days left to get to England before the show closed on the Saturday. He was working so couldn’t leave until Saturday morning. He phoned his English friend who lived in London to ask if he could stay with him for the weekend, bought a plane ticket and flew to London. So …. Juan arrived and said to his friend … ‘I have to go to this exhibition.’ … ‘Where is it?’ said the friend … Juan checks on the website. ‘Chiltern Street, West One,’ he says … ‘No’ says his friend, ‘you’re confused Juan – Chiltern Street is where I live. That’s where you are now. Where’s the gallery?’ … Juan double-checks. ‘Chiltern Street. West One.’ he confirms. Impossible to believe but the only friend Juan had in London lived ten doors away from the exhibition. It doesn’t get better than that does it? What are the chances of such a co-incidence? Nada. It’s people like Juan who are the key to maintaining what I believe my work is all about – being true to the loyal fans and inspirational enough to impress new ones. Here he is …

With that in mind we get to …

THE COMPETITION.

FIRST PRIZE:
A poster edition of  your choice (16 x 20ins) and 5 cards
SECOND PRIZE:
A mounted edition of your choice (image: 11 x 15.5ins) and 5 cards
THIRD PRIZE:
A mounted edition of your choice (image: 8 x 11ins) and 5 cards

What are your best fan stories? I’m not only talking about Def Leppard fans – but other performers’ fans too. The best 10 – the weirdest, funniest and most impressive will be posted on a special blog in January when the winner is selected. Whoever wins can choose a 16 x 20ins edition of their choice from my website. Here are just two of them … both new – after such great reactions from the ones on last weeks blog which showcased original drawings and sketches from my archives.

THE JUDGES …

All entries will be judged by a team of eminent professionals – high-flyers in the music industry – who will decide on the winner with objectivity, clarity and with a deep sense of responsibility … Oh sorry – what I meant to say is that the winner will be chosen by me, my Blogmeister Ricky and that weird couple Max and Rewa down the pub. Think of our team as Simon Cowell but with a more generous spirit and a much better sense of humour.

Comment’ your story on the blog or e-mail me from my website.
Make sure you state which Edition you would like to win.
Competition ends 20th January 2010.

One more DEF LEPPARD to go – ‘Adrenalize’ and ‘Euphoria’ … then we will begin working on World Tours (THE ROLLING STONES, GUNS’N’ROSES, PAUL McCARTNEY and others) with the enigmatic Gerry Barad.

DEF LEPPARD – Part Five 
… posted January 14th – 

CLICK HERE

See Monday’s post for details of some stuff  I’ve released from the archives to auction in London next week (including a few rare DEF LEPPARD originals and a painting I did in 1996 of MICHAEL JACKSON). In a couple of days, I will post the Indian story I promised you about Imagination. 

Stay well … keep your eyes peeled for a flurry of blogs next week … &ie

NB:
It did my head in just reading these stats (supplied by Mark from the DEF LEPPARD fan club – thanks Mark). It’s no wonder I had to ask Mark for the configurations – I just couldn’t remember. Now I know why!

1  2  3
4  5  6
7  8 9

1 = no single available
2 = Hysteria
3 = Love Bites
4 = Armageddon It
5 = Animal
6 = Women (US only)
7 = no single available
8 = Pour Some Sugar On Me
9 = Rocket (Europe only, but UK had different, non-segment sleeve)

The special limited 12″ edition of “LOVE BITES”:  the limited edition of that release had the 12″ sections of 1, 3 (Love Bites itself, obviously), 6 (since the UK did not have a release for “WOMEN”), 7, and 9 (some countries released this as “ROCKET”).

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32 Responses to “17. DEF LEPPARD – Part Four”

  1. DefDazz Says:

    Another great story.

    As a fan who started off when ‘Animal’, the first single from the album, was released in 1987. I have to say these covers and all the related artwork really helped make this the best time to be a Def Leppard fan. And more importantly a collector of “vinyl”.

    Knowing your intention was the celebrate the vinyl format and the artwork used on the various releases – 7″ and 12″ – I have to say you succeeded.

    Great music and great artwork. Something which continued with the ‘Adrenalize’ releases. And sadly – it’s not quite been the same since – from the point of view of collecting singles.

    I remember having seen the ‘Love Bites’ ads in music magazines and knowing it would be the last single. As it turns out they had one more to go with Rocket in January 1989.
    I found out about that via your artwork – a single review in another magazine with the front cover used above the text.

    The album cover poster still adorns my wall. And also the live poster with the In The Round staging using the Hysteria artwork (as seen in the ‘Now’ video from 2002).

    I was wondering – did you have anything to do with how the artwork was used on the 1987 stage? And those four big curtains they had up which then dropped at the start of the show?
    Or did you just supply them with the artwork?.

    Cheers,
    Darren.

    • Andie Airfix Says:

      Good question Darren. When i design something it has to accommodate how it adapts to other mediums. I didn’t design the stage but was well aware that there had to be elements of the design which were strong enough to give inspiration to those who needed to develop it within their expertise. You can’t do everything but you can create a strong starting point which inspires and connects people to the project.

  2. Patricia Ann Calobong Says:

    Another fabulous video my favorite Animal and as always when Joe Elliott (England) was a young sprout. Happy Holidays and keep them coming.

  3. Skyler Says:

    I’m a huge Def Leppard (I have all their albums – from On Through The Night to Sparkle Lounge) and I have to say, its been a pleasure to read your blog about them and how the album art of one of my all time favorites was created.

    I’m sadden that I was not old enough to see them during the Hysteria era, when Steve was alive and all. Going out on a limb here…I stopped drinking myself after hearing Steve’s story, I didn’t want something like that happening to me, I don’t know if it was good or bad to mention it, but I did.

    Hope to hear more on Def Leppard!

  4. Brenda Guild Says:

    Hi Andie, Thanks again for the great story and history of the artwork – truly fascinating. I’m loving the blogs and now the contest – here is my entry for the Best Fan Story Contest. It’s a bit of a twist as it has to do with the band but in a different light.

    It all started with the Def Leppard Lip Sync contest earlier this year. Being the huge fan I am – I figured it only made sense to enter when you have only idolized the band for over 25 years and you would do almost anything to meet them – right? Their music has touched every aspect of my life from waking up to “Let’s Get Rocked” to driving home from work to “Desert Storm and Fractured Love” and as loud as you can get. So I entered the contest knowing that I would be one of hundreds and keeping in mind that now my son would definitely have evidence to commit me when the time came around…LOL! As I uploaded the video to youtube.com, little did I know entering this contest would bring me one of the greatest gifts ever – a life long friendship with another Lep Fan, named Talia.

    Talia and I both entered the contest and we had complimented on one another’s videos. I had met several other fans during that time on line but something just clicked with us – it was like I had found a long lost sister. We both had an obsession with Joe (lordy…who wouldn’t) and I shared with her my original obsession with Steve Clark. As the contest went on – we found we not only had Def Leppard in common but our lives were so parallel it was just unbelieveable. From similar jobs to life experiences – I often refer to her now as my “sister from another mister”.

    Talia was fortunate enough to be one of the contest winners to win a meet and greet with “our boys” as we like to refer to them. She was so gracious and shared every moment with me through email and videos. We kept in touch throughout the whole experience. I felt like I was right there with her and her hubby, Alex when she told the story. She was so excited and I was so happy for her. When it came time for her to do her video of her experience and send it off to be put on the website – she asked me to take a look at it. She also had told me she had made a mentioned of me in the video in a prior email. It really touched my heart that someone who I had never met would do something like that – it actually brought me to tears. I knew we had become close but it just validated to me the kind of person she was and that our friendship was definitely going to be something that lasted a lot longer than this whole contest experience. Anyhow, Im sure that her husband is now thrilled to have someone else to fuel her obsession with Def Leppard because I’m sure he doesn’t hear enough about them now! LOL!

    Today, Talia and I have yet to meet as we live in different states and time zones but we talk weekly if not daily through facebook and still share our Def Leppard stories, memorabilia ,etc and now aspects of our personal lives. We are planning to go to a DL concert together once they come back to the states in 2011 (hopefully sooner as I’m in Leppression right about now!).

    So to wrap up, we call it fate that Def Leppard decided to open that lip sync contest up to it’s fans. Even though I didn’t win the contest – I feel like a winner as I was blessed with one of the greatest gifts ever – a life long friend and LEPPAL! Now you can’t beat that!

  5. Molly Morgan Says:

    Andie!

    I have certainly enjoyed reading and seeing everything you have to say about Def Lep and all of the hard work you have put into their album covers. What a phenominal thing you have done. I am truly Def Lep’s number 1 fan. I have seen them in 4 different states and all over Ohio. I have been following them for about 27 years. I have yet to meet them, but I am praying for that day. You have done some really fantastic artwork here, I cannot even imagine anything else on the cover of Hysteria. This just fits perfectly! Keep up the good work!

    Thanks!

  6. Lucy Merklee Says:

    My ultimate fan dream came true on 4/4/08! I attended the Def Lep concert at the Borgota in AC, NJ. 3rd row seats were fantastic, but the best part of the whole night was actually getting to meet 4 out of the 5 band members! Truly one of the best nights of my entire life. Persistence really does pay off. Right after the concert we joined about 20 or so other die hard fans out in back of the hotel where the tour buses were parked. We waited about 2 1/2 hours until about 2:30 am and then Phil, Viv, Rick & Joe came out for a meet and greet before hopping on their buses to the next city! They were so cool, friendly and truly personable. If you’re interested please visit http://www.merklee.com/defpix to see them all. ROCK ON!!! P.S. – Whenever they come to NJ, I’m ALWAYS there in the front to see them! Was bummed when they cancelled the 3rd leg of their 2009 tour, but saw them in July, so at least I got my fix for this year.

  7. Lucy Merklee Says:

    Oops, forgot to say that as a die hard fan, I would be truly happy winning any of the contest prizes. You do great work! Looking forward to seeing more in the future!!! Merry New Year!!!

  8. Lucy Merklee Says:

    PPS – I’m the blond in the pix on the website.

  9. Will Says:

    Hell yeah ! This is actually the first blog that I have ever read entirely. So much interesting facts that I never knew (I alwasy wondered what the hell happened to the missing squares to complete the Hysteria huge cover, lol).

    Anyway, I was born and raised in Guatemala. For me, one of my biggest dreams was to attend a DL concert, big fan since Hysteria. Luckily for me, the band decided to come to my country for the Slang tour ! I was like “Holy Crap !” . We decided to go with my girlfriend (who became my wife 5 years later), and had a blast at it. Only bad thing I can remember is that somehow she started to feel sick in the middle of the concert, right at the moment I was waiting for, the “Pour Some Sugar On Me” performance. When I saw here I was like, ok, she’s pouring something alright, but that ain’t sugar. We had to go back from the crowed to give her some air, and ended watching that song being performed very far from where I was at the beginning. Oh well…

    The next day, my brother tells me: “Guess who I hanged out at the Hyatt Hotel bar with ?” I was like, “you got to be kidding me”. We got to the hotel to wait on the guys to go out to the airport. Luckily the 5 of them came down the elevator and were very kind to sign autographs on my 2 favorite CD’s at the time (Hysteria and Slang). Vivian even reminded me that he was not on Hysteria, but I told him: Dude, you are playing those songs now, go ahead and sign, Steve won’t be mad.

    Those are the best moments I remember while being in medschool, I was even late to the shift I had, but had to get an autograph of this great band.

    God bless them for giving us the best music ever, and bles you Andie for this wonderful blog.

  10. Kellyn Says:

    I have been a Def Leppard fan for several years now, but have only seen them in concert 3 times. One of these was with Poison and Cheap Trick this summer in Cincinnati. I was sitting in the 6th row, center section, on the aisle. Between the Poison and Def Leppard’s sets, a woman asked me if I would switch seats with her husband who was sitting a few seats away (I don’t remember the exact reason for the switch) and I agreed. Right before Def Leppard came on stage, she checked with me again to make sure that I still was okay with switching seats. I told her that it was fine. She then led me to my new seat, which was right next to the thrust! During the set, I got a high five from Phil, took lots of pictures, and thought that my night was complete. Then during the encore, “Let’s Get Rocked”, Joe walked right by me and on his way back to the stage, he grabbed my hand and sang to me (“I’m sorry girl, here’s my confession/I suppose a rock’s out of a question”)!! Needless to say, that and another high five from Viv completely made my night!

    As a bonus, when I posted my experience on the DL forum, a lady contacted me and said that she had taken a pic of Joe holding my hand and asked if I would like a copy. I was so excited that my moment had been captured on film! I replied that I would love a copy and she e-mailed it to me a couple of days later (http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n310/kmlb_526/meandjoeelliot.jpg).

    Thanks to Def Leppard, the lady who asked me to switch seats (sorry, I didn’t ask your name), Donna (who gave me the pic), and Andie for having the contest!

  11. Norm Huizenga Says:

    Not sure if you got this, I went to your art site and sent you an email, but here it is….

    If I win, I would like the Hysteria Nine singles Picture.
    Also thank you, now I know what that image is all about on the front. It still looks creepy as hell to me.

    So I became a KISS fan around 96-97 when they became super-popular again. I couldn’t avoid them; they were everywhere (TV, magazines, newspapers, merchandise, etc.). Being young, broke, and green to the whole concert going thing, I missed out on the reunion tour. When KISS released Psycho-Circus, I was excited about getting the album; it didn’t really dawn on me to go see them live in concert. Detroit Rock City the movie came out (fun movie); KISS was everywhere and they weren’t going away (which come to find out, they had not ever, I was just unaware!). I had what seemed and endless supply of CDs to collect, merchandise was always stocked at Spencer’s Gifts, and KISS was still on the TV often.

    Then it happened… they announced that they were hanging up the boots and wiping the make-up off their faces for the last time, i.e. that the next tour would be their last. So I was floored, I had to see KISS, before they retired, big problem though was I had no money. I had just been weeded out of my hours at Taco Bell. So I did the only thing I could think of, get a coffee can, put a collage of KISS all over it and get donations for me to see KISS from kids at school. It was a good thing people at school liked me. When the first leg of the tour was announced, there wasn’t a Chicago or Detroit show (I’m right in the middle); the closest one was Louisville, KY. So that was the place I set my sites on. I must have had a 3 or 4 months to collect cash. I ended collecting $400 in change, which covered the cost of 4 tickets (me, my cousin Jason, friends Ben and Jeff), food, gas, and the hotel room. I was very well known in school and one thing people did know about me, is that I liked KISS.

    So the day comes and we head out late on Friday evening around 7 (the show was the next day April 29) after Ben gets out of work. Well Ben doesn’t trust my blue 1987 Pontiac Sundbird (which I had deemed my Crazy Nights mobile [the album came out that year and had hints of the same color]), and Ben just bought this little stick shift brown escort (which Jeff had deemed the shit burger) two weeks prior. Well we all wouldn’t fit with our stuff in Ben’s car, so we ended up taking two cars;Jason and I in one car, Ben and Jeff in another. It was supposed to be a 5 ½ hour trip, but then things went awry.

    The first of our mishaps was my driving. I was following Ben’s vehicle and I radio to him (yeah we brought walkie-talkies) to them “Fuck guys rain”, something I hadn’t accounted for. They laughed because it was from Ben’s windshield wiper solution, but the real problem was, me practically cutting people off when I changed lanes. I’ll admit that it’s true, but also will contest Ben did it just as much. Anyway I cut someone off and we get to a light. It went in the order of Ben’s car, mine and then the pissed off driver behind me. Oh was that guy pissed. He was screaming yelling out his window. I just glared forward. I said, “Lock your door” as my hands were quickly off the wheel, locking the door and firmly back on. Jeff radios “Norm that guy is pissed”, I yell out “shut up Jeff”, but not in the walkie-talkie, just out loud. After the light turns green the guy speeds by screaming giving the finger, I think it will all go away if I just ignore it, and in this case it did.

    The second break in our adventure was at a rest stop. We all get out to use the restroom and to stretch our legs. As we head back to get ready to leave, Ben is like “uh-oh, where are my keys”. He looks all over in the bathroom, on the ground, and eventually in their resting place… HIS IGNITION! So panic ensued. We asked the grounds keeper, who looked like he was a member of ZZ Top with his long beard for a phone book so we could call a locksmith or tow truck. He offers us a coat hanger so we can try and get the door unlocked. It fails. We ended up looking up numbers for a locksmith, but couldn’t get a hold of anyone. So Ben start’s fiddling with the trunk lock. Somehow that bastard picked the lock with some paper clips he had attached to his hat. Also was stroke of luck that his back seats folded down. As Ben says he’s got them and Jeff decides to give Ben some hard learning, he closes the trunk repetitively on his dangling legs. All we could hear was Ben screaming “owe, shit, fuck; ok I’ve learned my lesson”. Ah, good times.

    Unfortunately the worst was yet to come. Finally were back on the road after losing about an hour of time. So to make up that time, we were going a little faster than the signs permitted. Jeff would radio to us, “how fast are we going” (since the shit burger didn’t have working dash lights). We were going 85 mph. Well it wasn’t longer than 45 minutes from our last stop that final stop that we came across another road block… deer. There was a heard of them. I think we caught the tail end of them. There was a car to Ben’s left so he didn’t see them, but since I was behind him I did. Jason radios “Deeee…. Never mind”. I saw the deer get clipped by the passenger front corner of the car next to Ben’s and then another Ben totally slammed into it. Jeff said it was the funniest thing, Ben getting hit with an air bag and all he could see were Ben’s arms flailing about. At the same Jeff’s head smacked against the dash board because he was messing with the radio. My vision got blurred by a shower of hair and blood, but I didn’t hit a deer. I braked so fast you could hear the tires squeal. Ben’s car of two weeks was totaled. After everyone was found ok, Ben called his mom and then the police. Luckily he had his mom’s late 90’s brick of a cell phone. While we waited for them to show up, Ben and I walked back to the deer to see what kind of damage was in. The deer was split open with its guts out everywhere. All I knew was that I was furious. If the deer wasn’t dead, I would have killed it. I yelled “You will not stop me from seeing KISS Bitch!” As we walked back I kicked Ben’s defunct tail light out. Really this is the only time I have ever lost my cool. So Ben decides to set up some road flairs. He tries lighting it and lighting it. First we all have to yell at him because he was right next to dripping fluids from his car. Then after it didn’t light, I was getting angrier; I took it from him and I tried, when it didn’t light, out of frustration threw it into a field. Ben was like what if “lights and then catches the field on fire”. I didn’t care. Finally the cop shows up, wants to see our IDs, and asks us what we’re doing. We tell him to going to see KISS, he said “you guys are too young to like KISS”, and trust me I’ve heard that often. So he asks us if we are drinking, which I was a little surprised he didn’t as to see my carton of orange juice, since I was drinking straight from it (it’s my favorite drink). Then he went and looked at the car. He said it was the worst car-deer accident he had ever seen. He called a tow truck and we got what we needed from Ben’s car and put it into mine. Surprisingly it was never asked how fast we were going.

    It was actually pretty quiet the rest of the way there, about an hour or so, minus Ben telling me I was over the white line on the right. I guess I liked the outer edge. Anyway, it was the last instance he mentioned it, because he says “why are we over the line again” I say, “Because you’re fat”. It was a moment of laughter in our adventuress night. We made it finally to the hotel, probably like 3 am, a couple of hours later than expected.

    The concert was amazing. I could feel the heat every time they would say “fire” during “Heaven’s On Fire”. We were actually next to some characters, two stoners. One eventually passed out and the other kept asking Ben for a light. For my first KISS concert they sang happy birthday to Ace Frehley, really though, everything about the show as amazing. The trip home wasn’t very noteworthy (thankfully). But, at least for me (Ben is still a little upset he totaled his car within 2 weeks of owning it), was totally worth it.

  12. Andie Airfix Says:

    Definitely received. Genius story and thanks for taking the time. &ie

  13. Kelli Wiggins Says:

    Love the blog and all the comments. Fascinating about how the artwork comes about.

    I’ve followed Def Leppard since 1982 when our city got MTV-one of the first in the country. I was mesmerized by the first 3 Def Leppard videos that were in heavy rotation (since MTV still didn’t have very many videos at the time)-the ‘concert’ videos that featured ‘High and Dry’, etc. I immediately fell in love with the band and Sav in particular. Since I lived in the Phoenix, AZ area I was able to attend a lot of their concerts over the years starting with the one where they were opening for Billy Squier. Unfortunately I was never able to get very close to the stage since the concerts were all festival seating.

    In December of 1999, the band was doing a benefit concert at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix. The Celebrity only holds 1,800 people and the stage is in the round and rotates slowly back and forth half way so no seat is a bad seat. Also the stage is only about four feet tall and there are no barriers in front of it. In fact, the stage was so low that we could see the set list taped to the floor. I was able to get tickets (at scalper prices of course) in the third row. I couldn’t believe that I was finally going to be able to be so close to the band and be able to make eye contact! I brought along a picture of Sav that at one time been pinned up in my room when I was a teenager. In the picture he couldn’t have been more than 18 years old or so and it was just him, not with the whole band. I had that and a Sharpie in the hopes of maybe seeing him after the show getting on the bus.

    When the show started, those of us up front stood right up next to the stage-so close we could have reached out and grabbed anybody in the band’s legs-but that would have been rude. So close that you could hear their individual voices as they sang. I was beyond thrilled. And I was right in front of Sav. During a lull, while Joe was talking to the audience and the band wasn’t playing I happened to make eye contact with Sav and figured this was my big chance. I handed my picture and Sharpie towards him and mouthed the word “please?” to him and he nodded yes and took the picture and pen and turned and put the pic on an amp and signed the picture and gave it back to me!!!!! I wanted to shake his hand but figured that would be rude but I couldn’t believe what just happened. How often does somebody get a rock god to autograph your picture right from the stage?! Right after that security made everyone go back to their seats.

    The rest of the concert was awesome as usual. They didn’t play a short show just because it was a small venue. I was able to make eye contact and smile at each and every one of the guys-and get a smile back. I think I floated on cloud 9 all the way back home! I had the picture and ticket stub framed and matted and it hangs on my wall with pride. I still can’t believe it happened.

    Def Leppard is such a classy group and it’s obvious that they still have fun performing at their concerts. I’ll always be a life long fan of theirs!

    PS-If I win I would like the Hysteria 9 panel artwork. Thanks

  14. Adrian Honey Says:

    Time period the late 1980’s around 88-89 ish when all theese singles were coming out my and my best friend got every one we could japanese 3 inch cds with the same covers. one time we copied the album cover and slowly enlarged sections just to see what were missing to get the “extra Pieces” just to see how differnt they were from the orginal cover we did the 3in cd, the 45’s and the 12 inch records. we got to see hystera tour before the in the round shows even but then we were just kids not knowing any better. fast forward to “adren”. allways trying to complete yer artwork with the box set where u haad to get all the differnt version to complete was a semi challenge. we did however did get the final coming box sets and after a show night i i drove around town saw busses by a fancy hotel it was them DL i hapened to have a few old photos and my final coming box set with me just in case . they were all suprised that someone had this is the states for they had not signed one here for such a time. fast forward to the 2000’s after a house fire my tings got ruined and that boxset got ruined. i was crushed. well i was able to get it again via the internet now and i came close to getting it signed again before one othe “baseball” shows but they ran into the car instead. so now it sits atop of my pc desk just waiting for that day to try again. i am so gratefull for all of the insights you have given nto the making of the artwork. maybe someday i will get a chance to get it signed by the artist.

  15. Adrian Honey Says:

    anything would be great sorry about that the 9 is the preferred

  16. Sacha Lange Says:

    Back in late 1982, my family was a quite normal suburban American family. It was my dad, my mom, my sister and me – the little brother who’d not yet been introduced to rock ‘n’ roll music.

    My teenage sister asked to go to a Kansas concert with her boyfriend. It would be her first concert ever. Since my mom had heard of people being trampled to death and the other goings-on’s that occur at rock concerts, my mom’s response was, “If you want to go to the concert, I’ll take you both.”

    While they were at the show, for some reason (I’ll never know), my mom, noticed that one security guard seemed to be taking light abuse (joking around) from his co-workers. So, my mom, who was quite beautiful, strolled up to that one security guard, took his arm (as if they’d known each other forever), shut up the coworkers and gave his ego a little boost.

    In early 1984, it came time for my first concert. I asked to go to see my favorite artist, Ozzy Osbourne. Being fair, my mom gave me the same deal and took me to the show. When we arrived, she tracked down that security guard. Remembering my mom, he upgraded our nosebleed seats to side stage and, just before show time, he took us backstage to meet a true rock star and the Godfather of Heavy Metal – Ozzy.

    As the months and years went on, my mother and I went to many shows and I was lucky enough to get front row to Van Halen, an Alex Van Halen drum stick, a personalized autograph from Billy Idol, and, in 1987, awesome seats and After Show passes to meet all five of my rock idols – Def Leppard.

    These events and the surrounding encouragement influenced me greatly and set me on a lifelong path of a deep love and appreciation for music, the ambition to be a professional musician myself, and the belief that anything is possible. So, my story is actually about the one person who ever graced this Earth of whom I am (and always will be) a true fan…my mom. I love you and miss you, Mom.

    (I hope I’m not too late… It’s almost 11:00 P.M. Eastern Time Zone on the 1st of January 2010. I would like to win the Edition: DEF LEPPARD ‘NINE’.)

  17. Earl Pomeroy Says:

    I really like this blog. Please continue the great work. Regards!!!

  18. Andie Airfix Says:

    Hi Sacha. No not too late and great story. Deadline for stories has been extended – see latest post.

  19. LZ Says:

    1988 was definitely my Def Leppard year as a fan!
    After attending the Sanremo Festival and a couple of Leps show in my country (Florence and Milan) I decided I had not enough and wanted more!
    That was the age of when-there-was-no-internet when even to know the tour dates list was almost a mission-impossible (Kerrang was a must!) and when for buying a ticket for a show anywhere in Europe from my country I had to battle against the Postal Office people….
    However, easy choice for my next show, Bournemouth at the BIC on the 10th April 1988.
    Why Bournemouth?
    First because that was my second hometown having spent months there studying English, working in a Pizzeria for earning some money (to be able to some London gigs).
    Second because the family I stayed with was and still is my “UK family” and still call them mum and dad.
    Third because that was the very first date of the UK tour…
    Well, I think I could go on and on….

    So after a quick phone call to my “UK family” I even solved the problem of buying the ticket.
    The day before the show I arrived to Bournemouth and my UK mum tells me that she knows the manager of the venue and she would have tried to get me in for the soundcheck.
    Unbelievable to say that happens…..
    First (and last) time in my life….

    You know when you wake up in the morning and you take a while to understand where you are and what you have around yourself?
    That was exactly how I was feeling when I entered the BIC Concert Hall doors proudly wearing my W.O.M.A.N. cartoon shirt.
    I immediately got a bit of confusion front stage with some people running here and there and some loud music onstage.
    I remember I tried to get focused on the stage hoping to see Joe and the band: but I saw Loverboy while doing their soundcheck.
    Nevermind (even if my real words were something else …)!!!
    Then, just a second before thanking the manager of the venue and leaving the Hall I accidentally looked at those people front stage running and shouting: in the same moment the man with me said something like “Let’s go and see if they want to have a photo with you” and walked to those guys front stage.
    Still not fully getting what was happening, I saw Joe, then I saw Sav and Rick while following the man a couple of steps behind…
    They were playing football front stage while Loverboy was soundchecking and I was walking to them!!!!!!!
    They were kind enough to stop playing, signing a couple of records, taking some pictures and even thanking me for travelling to see them!
    That was enough for me but, as they say, the best is yet to come.
    I went backstage after the show, or better went back of backstage meaning the backdoor of the venue to see them coming out.
    I got my missing autograph from Steve and Phil and all once again on the just bought Tour Book!
    I remember almost all the members eating a pizza just outside their car and talking to me asking which was my favourite pizza and which one is more popular in Italy…
    Simply I could not believe what I was doing…
    But the highlight of the night is something which later in my life I took for my self and still using in my down period…
    At some point Rick came out of the door from the back of the venue drinking a beer.
    I walked to him and he was so kind as to ask me if I enjoyed the show and if that was the last one…
    I asked him another autograph for my tour book and smiling he answered:
    “Of course but I have only one arm and you have to keep my beer!”.
    So I did……
    In the meantime some other fans arrived to Rick waiting for their autograph.
    And I still had Rick’s beer in my hand.
    “Beer!” said Rick smiling to me.
    So I gave back to him his beer and getting the pen: this happened a couple of times.
    Than he thanked me for the help and joined the rest of the band eating.
    Be positive, smile and everything will be alright!

    The following morning I took the bus to London.
    The original plan was to go back home.
    But I headed for Wembley…..

  20. Piper Thomaston Says:

    I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles.I enjoying reading your post. You make 100% valid points in a concise and pertinent fashion, This is a really good read for me, thank you for your time.

  21. TCamp Says:

    Hi there!
    Believe it or not, I actually own all 9 panels! I was a big Def Leppard collector in the late 80’s/early 90’s and have quite a collection of rare stuff like colored vinyl, the first “Women” single on CD, “Rock of Ages” on shapped vinyl, etc. . Can’t believe that was 20 years ago ….still love the band!

  22. ricky riddell Says:

    What about ya!

    I also own all the jigsaw parts……nothing will (other than the Band) take the complete Edition away from me.

    I spent 8 years (every Saturday Morning going into stores like Hectors house) searching the old 2nd hand record stores around Belfast for the last piece of the jigsaw that i needed “Pour Some Sugar On Me” i was the happiest Lep fan on Planet Earth when i finally came across it in 1996…..i had spent hundreds of £Pounds on train tickets and countless cups of tea in train stations trying to track down the ever elusive ‘SUGAR’. Amazing times with no regrets. Def Leppard are the BEST. Thanks for such an AMAZING ALBUM COVER.

    Cheers Ricky

  23. Kim Says:

    First, I would like to thank Andie for sharing his artwork and stories.

    My hobby started almost 30 years ago. I say hobby because that’s what it has been for me. I have been very lucky to have seen every tour that Def Leppard has done in the U.S., most I have seen numerous times. As a short story I have to tell you about the Hysteria tour. What a show—I had read that when the stadium almost cleared at the end of the show, the guys would come out from under the stage. As the stadium started to clear, the ushers were trying to get me to leave and I just kept pleading that as soon as they came out I would leave. At the time, Joe was the favorite and as soon as I saw him I just yelled his name and he looked up with that gorgeous grin of his and waved. I will never forget that moment and how I felt, I sit down in the seat and cryed with joy.

    Well now, I was really hooked. My collection of anything Def Leppard had begun. It was also at this time that one concert was just not enough, so I would see them as many times as I could in surrounding states. That still wasn’t enough at times. NO I’m not crazy or a stalker but they just have IT. IT just makes you feel great, IT is something that I have yet to understand myself. I just knew that I needed more of IT!!! So the story begins during the SLANG tour. Over the phone with friends that I had made, we made plans to see DL

    • Kim Says:

      AAAWWWEEEESSSOOOMMMEEE!!!!!!!! I’m so glad you enjoyed my story. I almost didn’t write it. You just don’t know how excited I was to see my name as the winner. Thank you sooo much!!! I felt like I could hear the crowd screaming my name when I scrolled down to see the winner.

  24. Laurel Bailey Says:

    I’m an eighteen year old girl from Utah (middle of nowhere). I first heard of Def Leppard from VH1’s 100 greatest hits of the 80’s. Of course “Pour Some Sugar on Me” was # 2 (should’ve been #1) and I saw that episode the day I was to go into my second knee surgery. When I woke up from the surgery, my sister was there with her camera, and recorded my first few minutes of coming out of the anesthetic. Out of no where I start singing “Pour some sugar on me” and my sister just starts laughing. I stop for a minute and say “Who wrote that anyway?” She didn’t know, but after that I was hooked on this phenomenal band. Mind you I don’t remember any of what happened that day, but it’s all there on tape!
    Soon after I went and bought their “Rock of Ages” compilation and have been hooked ever since. They came to Utah over the summer, and I was ready to empty my college bank account to go, but, alas, the show was sold out before I could get my hands on any tickets.
    DEF LEPPARD RULES 4EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Kim Says:

    Sorry, I’m tired and hit the wrong button. As I was saying, we made plans to see them as many times as we could. The first leg of my tour began in Cleveland, Ohio where I met all my friends I had made just because of DL. I had opted out of my beach vacation to travel north and follow the guys for the opportunity to meet them. SSoooooooo well worth every penny. I had most of my tickets in hand for the concerts which I payed a pretty penny for. I was in the first, second and third rows to every show–and in Cleveland is where my long wait to meet them finally came true. We were staying in the same hotel as the guys and we knew that they would go to the bar in the hotel after the show. It was so crowded and I was so nervous. Moving through the small bar I start getting extremely nervous—WHAT DO I SAY? DON’T ACT STUPID! LET THEM KNOW HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO YOU!! All going through my head. I got very close to Joe, but I just couldn’t make myself get closer. He moves to the bar and sits down, he’s talking to someone and I see three seats open up across from him. I grabbed the two closest friends I had made and we sat for a while across the way. Yes, I was listening to him talk and NO I wasn’t easedropping. Well I guess I was, but I couldn’t tell you what it was about, I just wanted to hear his voice. Of course I had to have a drink I wasn’t going to be able to approach him if I didn’t. So I sit, had a Crown and Coke and listened to him just talk. I had my nerve and knew that when he made a move I was going to be there. And he did and I did, he hugged me and was so gracious to me and we took a picture and I didn’t make a fool of myself. There, what more could I ask for? I felt very blessed because I had seen him earlier get really hateful with someone and it scared my away. Later, I learned he had perfect right to say and do what he did.

    As we were leaving the bar , Phil and his then girlfriend Anita were coming in the door. What was so ironic was that Anita had come down during the show and danced with us during the song SLANG. During the show we had no idea who she was. She acknowledged us as she approached us telling Phil she had danced with us at the show. We took pictures and talked for a while. She found out we were going to several other shows and promised to find us because she always came out in the crowd during the SLANG song. And she did! What a nice person and beautiful at that.

    After that night, I knew that hands down Phil had to be the nicest guy ever. We traveled through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and back to Ohio during that trip and I had so many more wonderful memories of the guys and the shows. We were on a first name basis speaking to one another in the hotels, whether we were on the elevator coming or going from the hotel or even in the hallway. It was magical for me because I loved their music so much and had followed their career since the beginning–On Through The Night beginning. In Indianapolis, Joe turned and pointed right at me and sang to me. That was one of the shows that I had front row seats. In Cinncinatti we spent a couple days in the same hotel while they were off a day and that’s when I finally got to meet Rick Allen. What an inspiration he is and he was so nice to acknowledge that he had seen us at the last few shows and asked how we were enjoying them. Amazing!!! Right!!!

    It wasn’t over! My friends and I decided after we went home that we just had to go the weekend to the Dallas, Austin and Houston shows. And yes we were there. We fly into Dallas and see Def Leppard that night. Then we rent a car and drive to Austin and stay in the same hotel as them again. I remember walking through the sitting area as we had checked into our room and came down for a walk–someone calling out my name and thinking to myself, WHO KNOWS ME HERE? I’m from Tennessee. I turn and see Phil who was sitting in a chair reading a book. It had been about a month since the trip north and HE REMEMBERED MY NAME!!!!!! We chated and he was amazed we were seeing them the three nights they were in Texas. He said, ” You guys must be superfans!” and laughed. At most of the shows we went to, we were usually in front of Phil who is great about acknowledging you in the crowd and this trip was no different. I got to talk more to Sav and Joe during this trip. Also during this trip I got a 3 ft by 3 ft poster signed by all of them. They had never seen the poster before and thought is was cool. It was the eye from the Adenalize album and it was made out of a hard plastic.

    It still wasn’t over for us because they hadn’t been to my state yet and that was even more than I could hope for. A week or so later we traveled to Atlanta, GA to see them. As we were driving in the city trying to find the box office to get tickets we heard on the radio that if you had the most tickets to different shows during this tour you would win front row seats. We ( my same 2 side kicks that I had shared all this with ) looked at each other and for no reason we could think of still had all our ticket stubbs in our purses and wallets. They had been to a few that I hadn’t went to and I had went to a few that they hadn’t went to. We counted and lucky number 13 popped up. We won front row that night and couldn’t believe we had brought them with us. Like what can you do with used concert tickets??????? WIN FRONT ROW SEATS I SAY!!! We still had my town Nashville, TN. It would be the last one, we all knew it. We had a great ride, an unforgetable journey so what more could happen? Well I’ll tell you——I ONLY TOOK PHIL AND ANITA ….IN MY CAR……TO A BAGLE SHOP THE MORNING AFTER THE NASHVILLE SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!Yes I had Phil Collen in the front seat of my Trans Am. I took a picture of them at the back of my car because my license plate said Def Leppard. I’ll not give out the exact letters but Phil knew what it said. So I have to say I feel very blessed to have these and even more memories since then. Not many people get to meet who they idolize and I feel very lucky. I also have had a child since those days and she has become a fan herself. I always joked to my family that if anything ever happened to me, not to sale my Def Leppard memorbillia in a yard sale. I have some nice pieces and some that are worth a little money. I know I have invested a lot of money in it. Now, I have my daughter and I know she will take care of it and it will live on. She is a fan herself and has a few memories with Phil. He remembered me on the next tour. About 4 years later I took my daughter to see them and he was like WOW you have a child this time. She hasn’t actually met them yet but Phil signed her guitar during the Sparkle Lounge tour from the stage and Joe pointed and sang to her. I can say, “I know how she feels!” And I feel like her day will come when she does meet them. She loves the stories I tell her and loves looking at my pictures and she tells all her friends that her mom has met Def Leppard. I think it was pretty cool and I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I loved living it!!!!!!!!

  26. Kim Says:

    If I am lucky enough for you to like my story, I would be happy with anything Def Leppard. The Hysteria singles are an awesome piece of work I have to say.

  27. Lee Houghton Says:

    Hi Andie! Great Blog! My story goes back to 2003 and the X Tour (second leg). Having been round the country with my then girlfriend, Angela, watching the guys in concert, she could not make it to the gig in Nottingham. As ever, the gig was excellent and after the show, I waited outside, along with some fellow hardcore fans. All the guys came out, chatted, signed stuff and were their usual polite, cheerful selves! As my girlfriend could not make it, and as she was back at home, I seized an opportunity and asked Viv if he wouldn’t mind speaking to Angela on my mobile.I told him she had to be in work early and was back home, in bed, but would be thrilled if he could say a quick hello. With a twinkle in his eye, he said “sure” and I dutifully passed the phone over. The following conversation then took place:
    place:
    Viv – “Hello Angela, how come you are not at the gig?”. Angela replied, explained she needed to be in work early the following day.
    Viv – “Oh really, that’s a pity…. Did you say you were in bed? Are you masturbating?”.

    At this point, all I could hear is some giggling on the end of the phone, Viv hands the phone back after saying goodbye, with a wink. Yours truly is left blushing beetroot red. I gingerly spoke into the handset…
    “Hey Babe, that was nice of Viv…Err, you aren’t masturbating, are you???? A true story!!

  28. sean goodwin Says:

    ok, well my fan story comes from way back in 1996 when def leppard were coming to the end of their UK Slang tour. At the time I was a member of the then Def Lepp fan club and luckily for me I managed to win 2 tickets to their Rocking The Campus gig at Exeter University on november 28th!!! So I was happy, in fact very happy! only thing was to find someone to take with me. Anyway, I had a female friend (no, not a girlfriend, I wish though!) Julie, was more than happy to go to the gig.

    At the time I was living in Portsmouth so it was a good couple of hours drive to Exeter. We arrived and parked up then went into the gig. It surprised me how small and intimate the gig was, only around 200 capacity. The gig was great and loud, and when Joe mentioned that they wouldn’t be doing any ballads and only doing the loud rock songs, all the women began to boo loudly and all the guys cheered!! Well, the rock songs won! There was a bit of interplay between Joe and Viv, something along the lines of “we were going to play Let It Go but viv dont know it” at which point viv started to play the intro much to the loud cheers from everyone! anyway there was bit more banter and the gig carried on.

    After the gig the guys said their thanks and good night and would see us again sometiem. At this point Julie said to me “lets try and sneak through that barrier and get out back to meet them”. I said we got no chance as their was a rather large looking security bloke there. to which she said leave it to me and promptly started to sweet talk him to try and get us through. well he was having none of it then she tried to play her trump card and said to him “how about I take care of you and give you a b*^” *”b” well, I choked on my coke! I could believe how brazen she was!! mind you neither could the bloke! and he still turned her down! no one in their right mind would ever turn down on offer like that coming from her but when he did she was totaly surprised and gobsmacked (‘scuse the pun!).
    after realising she wasnt going to get her way we decied to finish our drinks and started to make our way out the main door when we noticed said security bloke was no longer at the barrier. we chanced our luck and made our way past the barrier and found ourselves walking down a coridoor and found ourselves out by the bands coaches. luckily no one really cared plus there was also a few other fans already there. so I had photos taken of myself and joe, and myself and viv as well as one with phil. Rick had already got on the bus plus we had a couple of pics with a few of us together.
    All in all it was a great evening and meeting most of the lepps was something else. Who knows what may have happened if she had got her way with the security bloke!!

    That gig was one of the best leppard gigs I have been to, the sound was great and you werent getting crushed by anyone and no one was in your way and everyone had a fantastic view of the band without even having to try!! It was just a perfect gig for me and im sure for others that were there.

    well, should this be in the running for any prizes then i would surely love the hysteria singles artwork, it would look fantastic in my front room!!!

    sean

  29. Leoma Said Says:

    Nice Post!. I’ve been lurking on your blog for quite a while. You make some very interesting points in this one.Just wanted to say keep up the good work!

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