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Rock 101, WHEB, and the Morning Buzz Welcome

Only New England Performance!

Stone Bullet (5:30 PM)

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Parking Opens: 4:30 PM
Doors Open: 5:30 PM
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Def Leppard

In the beginning a chart-breaking debut album, tours with more established heavy-metal bands, and pinup good looks made Def Leppard one of the leaders of the '80s British heavy-metal renaissance. The members, barely out of their teens when their first album debuted, soon became one of the most consistently successful pop-metal groups of the decade and beyond, becoming, as one Goldmine article put it, "The Heavy Metal Band You Can Bring Home to Mother."

Pete Willis and Rick Savage started the group in Sheffield in 1977. Joe Elliott had coined the name Deaf Leopard before joining them; Willis and Savage changed the spelling. As a quartet with a since-forgotten drummer, Def Leppard built a local pub following, and in 1978, after being joined by Steve Clark and hiring a temporary drummer, the group produced its first record, an EP called Getcha Rocks Off, released on its own Bludgeon Riffola label. The record got airplay on the BBC and sold 24,000 copies.

The members' self-made success and precociousness (Elliott, the group's eldest member, was 19, and Rick Allen, who became their permanent drummer after playing with several professional Sheffield bands, was 15) brought them the attention of the British rock press. AC/DC manager Peter Mensch added them to his roster and got them a contract with Mercury. Their first album was a hit in the U.K. and reached #51 in the U.S. The group toured Britain with Sammy Hagar and AC/DC, played the 1980 Reading Festival, and first toured the U.S. opening for Ted Nugent, Pat Travers, Judas Priest, and AC/DC. A second U.S. tour, with Blackfoot, Ozzy Osbourne, and Rainbow, coupled with heavy coverage in the U.S. metal press, created a growing American audience.

The group's second album, High 'n' Dry was the first of a string of platinum and multiplatinum LPs, hitting #38 in 1981 and selling over 2 million copies. (It was remixed and rereleased in 1984 with two more tracks, a remixed "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" and "Me and My Wine.") By early 1982 the group had reentered the studio to record Pyromania, which would eventually sell a phenomenal 10 million copies. Midway through the recording, founding guitarist Pete Willis was fired for alcoholism and replaced by Phil Collen, formerly of Girl. At the same time co-lead guitarist Steve Clark was beginning a slide into the extreme alcohol addiction that would eventually kill him.

Shortly after Pyromania's release, the band embarked on its first world tour. MTV, undeniably a factor in the band's U.S. success, began airing "Bringin' on the Heartbreak," and within the next few years virtually all the band's videos (beginning with Pyromania's "Rock of Ages," "Photograph," and "Foolin'") would go into heavy rotation. When producer Mutt Lange, with whom the group had recorded since its major-label debut, was unavailable to work on their next album, Def Leppard turned to Jim Steinman, most famous for his work with Meat Loaf. When Steinman proved incompatible, High 'n' Dry engineer Nigel Green stepped in. Just one month later, drummer Rick Allen lost his left arm in a New Year's Eve car accident after he attempted to pass another driver at high speed. Surgeons reattached the limb, but after infection set in, it was amputated. Def Leppard's future was in doubt, but by the spring of 1985 Allen was learning to play drums again with the help of a specially adapted Simmons kit. (For a while he performed with special electronic equipment, using prerecorded tapes of his drumming for some parts, then returned to a regular acoustic kit with customized foot pads in 1995.) The band continued recording, but when Lange heard the tapes, he suggested the band scrap them and start again. In August 1986 Allen performed for the first time since his accident on the European Monsters of Rock Tour.

In early 1987 the band finally completed work on the long-awaited Hysteria, which spun off six Top 20 singles: "Animal" (#19, 1987; and their first Top 40 hit in the U.K.), "Hysteria" (#10, 1988), "Pour Some Sugar on Me" (#2, 1988), "Love Bites" (#1, 1988), "Armageddon It" (#3, 1988), and "Rocket" (#12, 1989). Though longtime fans and some critics found it disappointingly poppish, on the verge of bubblegum, that change in direction no doubt contributed to it selling over 16 million copies worldwide and topping the U.S. LPs chart for six weeks.

Tragedy struck the group again when on January 8, 1991, guitarist Steve Clark died of a fatal mixture of drugs and alcohol. Beginning in 1982, he had undergone treatment for his alcoholism several times. His addiction was so disabling that Phil Collen had done most of the leads on Hysteria, and later the group forced Clark to take a lengthy sabbatical. Once in 1989, after being found comatose in a gutter, he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, but he seemed beyond help. The group continued recording and even made the video for "Let's Get Rocked" as a foursome.

Clark's replacement, Vivian Campbell, who had previously played with Ronnie James Dio and Whitesnake, joined in 1992, weeks after the release of Adrenalize. Another #1 LP, Adrenalize spawned a flurry of hit singles: "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad" (#12, 1992), "Let's Get Rocked" (#15, 1992), "Make Love Like a Man" (#36, 1992), and "Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)" (#34, 1992). Retro Active (#9, 1993), a platinum collection of B sides, rarities, and covers, yielded the hit singles "Two Steps Behind" (#32, 1994) (also on the Last Action Hero soundtrack) and "Miss You in a Heartbeat" (#39, 1994). The album also included one Mick Ronson song, "Only After Dark." As the band wanted to explore new directions on its next studio album, it decided to release a greatest-hits collection before embarking on the next stage of its career; Vault (#15, 1995) went on to sell close to 2 million copies. Its successor, Slang, which added industrial and even touches of soul to the musical mix, peaked at #14. The band retreated to its classic '80s pop-metal style on Euphoria (#11, 1999).

With Pyromania and Hysteria both certified Diamond by the RIAA, Def Leppard are one of only five rock bands with two original studio albums selling over 10 million copies each in the US. The others are The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Van Halen. Both Pyromania andHysteria feature in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Def Leppard played an eleven show residency at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada from March 22 through April 10, 2013. They performed the album Hysteria in its entirety, as well as other songs. Phil Collen says that the group recorded the shows for a future live release which he calls ‘Hysteria Live’. This is the first time the band will play an album live from start to finish

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

“It’s been an interesting road from the mid 90s up until now,” says Slash. “I never stopped to think, ‘What am I gonna to do in the long term?’ Or ruminated on my solo career, where it was heading. I’ve just been jamming around, going wherever the muse has taken me. And this is the first time where I feel like I’m in the saddle and riding my own destiny with some genuine focus.”

For fans who’ve tracked the broken glass and ruby slipper journey of Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist since the release of Appetite for Destruction two days before his 22nd birthday 25 years ago this July, one can’t help but be radioactive with enthusiasm. Apocalyptic Love is not just a new record by the storied musician with the black top hat and magical gift for riff, for Slash and his three co-conspirators; it is, indeed, destiny. And everyone involved is poised for the ride.

The liberated feel of Apocalyptic Love is evident throughout the LP’s 13 songs, as is the genuine chemistry between Slash and lead singer, Myles Kennedy. The evolution of their creative relationship went full throttle since the two first joined forces on Slash’s 2010 debut solo release where the Alter Bridge front man lent his pipes to the cavalcade of venerable guest vocalists which included Iggy Pop, Ian Astbury and Ozzy Osbourne.

The Slash/Kennedy collaboration started from intuition. “I contacted him out of the blue, sent him one of the songs I was working on which turned out later to be ‘Starlight’. After Myles contributed his ideas and sent it back to Slash, creative forces congealed. “I went, ‘Wow, now that’sreally good,” recalls Slash. “I played it for Eric so we flew Myles out to track it and this unassuming mild mannered guy shows up, similar in demeanor to me, sort of quiet, not really explosive in personality. He then nailed “Back from Cali” it was like, ‘You ready to go on tour with us?’ I was so happy when he accepted the offer.” For the Boston-born lead singer of the Florida-based hard rock quartet, Alter Bridge, the gig was an opportunity to expand his personal portfoliowhile exploring some musical synergy with an artist he’d long admired.

The modern master of the Gibson needed a rhythm section to flesh out his frenetic and fanciful chords. After auditioning a lot of drummers, he settled on Brent Fitz. “He was perfect,” Slash enthuses. “And Brent introduced me to Todd Kerns who was not only an awesome bass player but hesings like a mother***ker. It was really magical – a throw together band that was just right.”

Myles Kennedy and Slash quickly discovered they possessed profound creative chemistry that would spawn a wellspring of brilliant song ideas. “I’d jot down chords and concepts and play them for Myles,” says Slash. “He would automatically adhere to whatever the track was and add these great melodies and lyrics. We started putting these basic arrangements together and the songs appeared.”

Slash and Myles have fused dynamic forces like two elements creating a natural compound of unique rock energy. Their genuine sense of mutual admiration and respect transcends profile and personality. “What I love so much about Slash’s playing is the immense emotion he devotes to his craft,” says Myles. “There is a certain ache to the way he bends a note, the vibrato. He plays so brilliantly on this record, as he has on all the records he’s made, but there’s a touch more beautiful pain in his technique now. Being a guitar player myself, I’m just in awe of his method and style.”,/p>

Few will argue that Slash has evolved with grassroots relevance and reverent pace over the past decade where he now rightfully belongs in the pantheon of axe mythology, having been selected by a Time Magazine survey as second only to Jimi Hendrix among electric guitarists. Staying focused on your current musical project whilst in the midst of swelling adulation and swirling speculation is no easy feat. But somehow, Slash manages to keep his eye on the apocalyptic prize.

Much to the delight of old and new fans, Slash’s resume builds along with his worldwide fan base. Since making history and amassing global sales in excess of 100 million units with Guns N’ Roses, returned with Slash’s Snakepit in 1994, followed by Velvet Revolver’s two hit LPs, 2005’sContraband (for which the single, “Slither” won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock performance) and 2007’s Libertad. Finally, Slash reemerged with his groundbreaking, guest-star studded 2010 solo debut. In 2011, Slash was honored by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce who named him as an official selection to receive a star in 2012 on Hollywood’s iconic Walk of Fame. After making numerous session appearances and lending his laid-back, six-string genius to an eclectic mix of artists which include Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Darren Aronovsky; not to mention Guitar Hero III: The Legend of Rock and co-authoring a bestselling memoir–the question begs: What’s next for the London-born, L.A. schooled kid who discovered his musical soul when his father played him the Beatles, Stones and Yardbirds?

“Touring Apocalyptic Love and having a great time,” Slash says humbly. “As long as I can plug my Les Paul into a Marshall amp, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.” Not a bad destiny at all.

Bank of NH Pavilion
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(603) 293-4700
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