18. DEF LEPPARD – Part Five



Blogs have been somewhat erratic over the past couple of weeks due to various mishaps – see later!!

For those of you who haven’t visited the blog since DEF LEPPARD – Part Four, just start here. For those who have seen various intermediate blogs just scroll down to where you were in previous short posting on DEF LEPPARD – Part Five. 


The response to the fans competition has been brilliant. (For details go to DEF LEPPARD – Part Four.) Our illustrious experts on the judging panel have been pretty tied up (’smashed’ is another word I’d possibly use!) over the festive season, so we have decided to extend FAN STORIES competition until sobriety returns and critical faculties are back to normal.

NEW CLOSING date for Competion is JANUARY 20th … 

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

so get writing NOW if you want to win an edition from andieairfix.com and don’t forget to tell me which Edition you’d like if you win one of the three prizes.


I’m certainly not a paranoid person, but sometimes I wonder what on Earth is going on in my life. It’s not just me is it? There are times when everything seems to happen at once and at the moment everything that happens conspires to send me off on unexpected tangents – ones that deflect me from what I should be doing. Ok, so before Christmas this alien attached itself to my neck – appearing like a tennis ball just under my skin. Got rid of it but the antibiotics attacking the beast created a nuclear war in my body that left me exhausted. Thank God that’s gone I said, as the volcano subsided and life returned to comparative normality. Back to the other stuff now. Get back on track, I said to myself.

Unfortunately, there was another alien waiting in the wings to knock me off balance – literally. This particular idiotic life-form was attached to a mobile phone and it was oblivious to the world around it. I reacted quickly –  when it stepped into the road directly in front of my bike –swerved towards the kerb hoping to ride up onto the pavement to avoid the inevitable collision but the kerb was the height of a small mountain. Hit the kerb. Bike stops but I continue on my travels through the air – over the handlebars, smashed onto pavement – broken arm. I lay there stunned for a while but, when I realised what had happened, my immediate reaction was to confront the fuck-wit alien. The bastard was nowhere to be seen – probably totally unaware that it had caused another species considerable pain and damage. Anyway – it’s a clean break, no surgery, no plastercast, so, as they say, things could have been worse. If I see the alien again I fear I will be extremely alienist and run the bastard over. !**@*!

It seems an age since Def Leppard – Part Four but we begin, after mishaps, with The Boyz again and one of the first computer-generated videos – remember this is 1992? 

The success of ‘Hysteria’ was phenomenal. The album, for those not aware of the scale of their success, charted seven singles in the US Hot 100. ‘Hysteria’ remained in the charts for three years and sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. The band sold more records than any rock band in the US during the 1980s. It was a hard album to follow. The pressure on the band was huge – pressure from record companies was one thing but the self-imposed pressure to produce a follow-up album was a terrifying mountain to climb that took its toll. Cracks began to appear which threatened the solidity of the band. Steve Clark had problems with alcohol and the person I met during the ‘leave of absence’ the band rightly and loyally insisted on, was increasingly plagued by self-doubt and was visibly even more fragile than usual. In early January 1991, the band lost him to an accidental mix of prescription drugs and alcohol. It’s 19 years this week since Steve’s tragic death. Although he died before the release of ‘Adrenalize’, his contribution to the album is awesome. Here’s the original Steve Clark version of  ‘Tear It Down.’ Genius.


The band decided to continue recording the album and ‘Adrenalize’ was finally released in the Spring of 1992. It was a difficult sleeve to create, despite it’s deceptive simplicity. The concept was unanimously approved at ‘first roughs’ stage. 


Developing the idea into the final image for the cover required inventing innovative techniques to match the clear picture I had in my head of what I wanted. Developing the idea into the final image for the cover required considerable experimentation. The ‘Exploding Eye’ image, clearly defined in my Mind’s Eye, proved extremely difficult to create with convincing authenticity. I called in the cavalry – a friend and colleague at the cutting-edge of image manipulation – a photographer and photo-retoucher called Rob Farrar. I’d worked with him on several occasions previously (he created the final composite for the ‘Hysteria ‘ sleeve) and many times since*. He was someone who instantly and intuitively ‘got it’ when I tried to explain what I was trying to illustrate – not just technically but emotionally. Not only was Rob a brilliant retoucher but he was also keen to develop photographic techniques which would add further dimensions to his image manipulation.

 The problem with ‘Adrenalize’ was a question of scale – to create the effect of a mind-blowing explosion in what was essentially a very small object – an eye. To get from …
to …
 … required some serious thinking. Photographing an eye was difficult in itself. Highly specialised cameras were needed and they were impossible to get hold of – most resided in medical research centres. We did try but the results weren’t good enough. The original rough sketches were created as artwork – allowing the detail of the eye to clearly defined …

… so Rob and I decided on a different tack. The orignal Eye used on the ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ sleeve was created as a combination of illustration and photography. How to make it explode convincingly? ‘Let’s do it, and photograph it,’ said Rob. ‘What?’ I said. ‘Explode the image and photograph it,’ he said. ‘And how do you suggest we do that Rob?’ … The image was photographed on a 10×16 transparency – I literally cut the Eye up into sections – we placed them on a light-box exactly how we thought the sections would be displaced by an explosion – and after a series (dozens) of experiments blasting different levels of light through the transparency glued to the lightbox, we finally had a brillant result where the lightbursts were convincingly real.

However, as much computers have advanced since then – they can’t provide me with the use of two hands when I’ve a broken arm. Try it – it’s a nightmare … progress is slow but I’ll be back with more in a couple of days …

Before our next episode, I’ll leave you, in this special anniversary week, with a poignant tribute video showcasing a rare and amazing talent … sadly missed.

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6 Responses to “18. DEF LEPPARD – Part Five”

  1. skywalker Says:

    Very amazing concept design of the album cover .. in addition to the great past story u shared here..

    And keep heaven rocking, the Riffmaster.

  2. mike stapley Says:


    Sorry if this posts twice–didn’t see it the first time. Thanks for all the great stories and insight into a great band and great album artwork!

    As for the contest, I haven’t had a brush with fame or the band to report but I had one of the greatest experiences I’ve had this summer when I took my oldest daughter, 15, to see the Lepps for the first time. Kids often tolerate their parents music more than they enjoy it and I wasn’t certain she would want to see Def Leppard, Poison and Cheap Trick in Salt Lake City but she was thrilled at the chance to go.

    Still thought she may just be humoring me but I was excitied to take her and told her of many great experiences I had over the years at Def Lepp shows and assured her she was in for a great time. I bought her a Union Jack bandana upon our arrival and she wore it proudly throughout the show. To see her dance and hear her sing along to songs we’ve shared her entire life was a thrill for me. Its an experience as a parent I’ll never forget and I’m proud to be passing my love of Def Leppard to the next generation!

  3. christina Says:

    cool idea

  4. Brenda Guild Says:

    Hi Andie, I’m resubmitting my entry as I’m not sure it was ever received I couldn’t get it through on the email so trying the blog again. If I have the honor to win I would like the Edition print of Hysteria..9 block. or the one with Love Bites in it. Thanks for another great blog by the way and for the video of Steve Clark..he was my favorite. Cheers! Brenda

    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. Brad Says:

    Hey Andie,

    Is that a bottle in the middle of the eye for Steve? I have always thought so.

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