Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott has defended his band against accusations they use backing tracks during their concerts.

During a conversation with Stereogum, the singer addressed rumors that Def Leppard’s performances are technologically enhanced.

“I don’t normally comment on this kind of stuff, but a friend of mine just sent me some link to something on YouTube, a recent posting by, forgive me, I don’t know his name, Chuck something from Testament [singer Chuck Billy], I think it is, and [ex-W.A.S.P. guitarist] Chris Holmes accusing us of using backing tracks,” Elliott explained. “I don’t get angry at this. I’m flattered because their standards must be very different to ours. For anybody that thinks we use backing tracks, it must mean that when they hear us, they can’t believe how good it is for real.”

'We Don't Use Backing Tracks. We Use Effects.'

"We don’t use backing tracks. We use effects,” Elliott explained. “God, who wouldn’t? When there’s four people singing, we use effects. There’s no tapes of backing vocals."

While the singer was adamant that Def Leppard doesn’t use any recorded vocals, he admitted they do utilize some other onstage wizardry.

"We use keyboards. We use a few drum loops because, in fairness, two-armed drummers use drum loops, but Rick Allen, to play a song like 'Rocket', it’s a cacophony of toms that one arm couldn’t play. So, yeah, we use a triggered loop, which is part of his drum kit, but [U2 drummer] Larry Mullen’s been doing that for years. So have thousands of other drummers to enhance a sound. But backing tracks or playing along to a backing track — we’ve never done that, never. We’ve never mimed to the vocals, or we’ve never had multiples of stuff on tape. It’s literally live.”

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Elliott said he’d be “happy to invite” any of Def Leppard’s doubters to “come stand side stage with a pair of headphones on so they could actually hear what’s coming out of the stage.”

"If we’re running at about 90 percent [live], it’s more than most people’s 100 percent. Because we do play and sing, it does take a toll. You can, say, play Denver, where it’s a mile above sea level, and if you’ve got a gig the next day, your voice is going to be pretty shot. We have to get to a level where if it’s a little under last night, it’s still acceptable to the audience because of the adrenaline and the fact that it is live and you can hear maybe a bit of hoarseness or somebody’s fingers slip because it’s so cold, they can’t keep their fingers on the strings. Things like that happens to every single band, and that’s what brings the humanity to it. But we’re very proud of the fact that we play live, and we sing live, and we don’t use tapes.”

Bands Who Have Admitted to Using Backing Tracks

These musicians say backing tracks help them put on the best show they can and have no shame in confessing it.

Gallery Credit: Todd Fooks

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