How Joe Elliott Gets Away With Meeting His Heroes
“I talk to people like Robert Plant all the time and we never discuss music, ever,” Elliott told Forbes. “It’s always soccer. … You can be on a different level with people that understand your success. They give you the thumbs-up and respect you, but they don’t have to be part of it.”
He noted that he's a "realist when it comes to that. They always say, ‘Never meet your heroes.’ That’s never been a problem for me because I don’t expect them to necessarily get what I do. … The kind of music Def Leppard makes doesn’t really have that much of a connection to a lot of the music I grew up listening to.”
With induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame a possibility next year, Elliott suggested that the impact and influence of British bands appeared to have been underestimated by the institution over the years. He cited Roxy Music as an example.
“Maybe this committee that I would imagine are 99 percent based in New York, or at least America, don’t really recognize the value of when ‘Virginia Plain’ hit the airwaves in 1972," he explained. "But the whole of Great Britain that was between the age of 12 and 16 stopped in their tracks and said, "What the fuck is that?" I don't think they see that or are even aware that happened. T. Rex were huge.”
Asked whom he’d like to induct Def Leppard, should they be given the honor, he name-checked Mott the Hoople frontman Ian Hunter, but said it was unlikely that anyone from fellow nominees Roxy Music would agree to do it.
“I genuinely hope they get in because I understand the respect factor of … ‘Well done, guys, I love it when British bands do as well as you did, but it's not my cup of tea,’" he said. "I don't have a problem with that at all because I can still sit down and talk to [Roxy guitarist] Phil Manzanera about coffee, Indian restaurants.”