By Steve Newton
I became a fan of Def Leppard back in 1980, as soon as I scored their debut album, On Through the Night, at a local record store.
I bought it because I liked the sound of the band name and because the album-cover art depicted a huge Les Paul being hauled by a big truck.
Then when I got it home and played it I realized these young guys were the real deal. The star of the show seemed to be guitarist Steve Clark, who cowrote 10 of the 11 tracks, and played most of the solos.
I got to interview “Steamin” Steve once, back in June of ’88, when Leppard were touring behind their Hysteria album, the long-delayed followup to their massively popular Pyromania disc of ’83. Hysteria was recorded after drummer Rick Allen had lost his left arm in a 1984 car accident, but had managed to master a combination electric/acoustic kit with customized foot pedals that allowed him to carry on rockin’.
When Clark called me from a tour stop in Moncton, New Brunswick, I asked him how Allen was doing with the kit, and whether, when he first lost his arm, Clark really believed Def Leppard could carry on with him as the drummer.
Have a listen: