The band plays Auburn’s White River Amphitheatre on Friday, June 9.
It’s cool to like Def Leppard again.
The ’80s hard-rock band, which survived the ’90s grunge era that did in many of its peers, is not only still delivering high-energy live shows but is releasing new music that its loyal fan base is embracing.
Back in the ’80s, the British hard rockers topped the charts and had videos in heavy rotation on MTV with such hits has “Photograph,” “Rock of Ages” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” The band survived the ’90s and re-emerged with a Top 10 album — 2015’s self-titled “Def Leppard” — to find that not only had fans stuck around for the ride, but the band had attracted a younger set of new followers.
Def Leppard, Poison, Tesla
7 p.m. Friday, June 9, White River Amphitheatre, 40601 Auburn Enumclaw Road, Auburn; $39.50-$235; (800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com).
“I think we still have integrity and that’s a powerful tool,” said guitarist Phil Collen in a recent phone interview. “We’ve never split up or reformed or done reunion tours or any of that stuff. We put our last album out because we wanted to, it wasn’t cost effective, but we wanted to do our album. It has really done wonders for us and that integrity shows.”
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It’s exactly that perseverance and conviction that’s paid off for the group. Def Leppard is now celebrating four decades as a band and will perform Friday, June 9, at the White River Amphitheatre along with ’80s glam rockers Poison and the rock band Tesla.
Collen, who joined the group in 1983 during recording sessions for the group’s breakthrough album, “Pyromania,” is now finding admirers in mainstream artists like Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift, both of whom the band has collaborated with, but also in hip alternative acts like Deerhoof, which has covered “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” and Seattle’s own Young Evils, which convinced Collen to play guitar on its 2014 song “Renegades.” Even the alternative music blog Stereogum sent a reviewer to Def Leppard’s recent show in Charlottesville, Va.
Alongside legendary groups like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard has two original studio albums (“Pyromania” and “Hysteria”) that have sold more than 10 million copies each in the U.S. Eventually the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will come knocking, but Collen isn’t eager for that invite.
“Don’t even care. It happens great, if not … yeah, don’t care,” Collen said.
Collen seems more interested in celebrating the present and pushing forward. He just finished producing a new album by Tesla and said he’s already begun collaborating with Def Leppard bassist Rick Savage on a new song.
It’s been 40 years since Def Leppard formed, and Collen sees no reason to slow down.
“We have the best job in the world, 20,000 people singing songs that you’ve sat there and written, women throwing underwear at you … It doesn’t get old at all, it’s great, “Collen said. “We get to play our own songs and pretty much do our own thing so it’s amazing. I’d say that’s a good motivator to keep it going.”