On This Day in Def Leppard History - 13th September (1979) - Leppard kicked off a UK tour supporting Sammy Hagar at Mayfair, Newcastle. Read more about the show HERE
Great interview w/ Joe talking Leppard new album, the difference between Down ’n’ Outz and D.L., working with members of DnO and why he started the band, touring in 2015, NFL's UK Pre-Game performance amongst other items..
See photos HERE
Here's my last guitar blog from the summer tour. I'll wrap it up by mentioning two guitars that only made one night appearances on this tour and give a few words about the X-Stroyer as it made it onstage every night of the tour.
Since we were in Mexico City I'll mention the Teotihuacan mask given to me at the Teotihuacan pyramids just outside Mexico City about nine years ago. Ironically I visited those same pyramids again and bumped into the person affectionately known as 'Gorilla' to his friends who gave me my mask. This mask is also the muse for the face that appears on 'Maya' adorning the first fret and two other of my Jackson Supreme guitars (including the grey one which is still on display at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas).
First off the Jackson PC-1 in trans black metallic (Tranny):
This guitar has the usual Dimarzio super 3 and HS-2 pickups with a Jackson sustainer/driver pickup in the neck position. It has FU-TONE saddles and titanium block, a maple neck and fingerboard and D'Addario 13-54 gauge strings. I played it on 'Let's Get Rocked’. You can also see this guitar in the 'Nine Lives' video with Tim Mcgraw.
Next up is the Jackson Telecaster. This guitar was custom made in the early 2000s. It originally had a maple neck and fingerboard but it never worked 100% for me. It sounded good and made it out on a few tours but it didn't make me want to play it. When my friend Lance suggested how good it would look with a rosewood fingerboard I asked the Jackson custom shop if they could give it a makeover. Mike Shannon created a beautiful fat neck with a rosewood fingerboard. I couldn't put it down after it arrived on tour, taking it to the hotel room everyday. I played it once onstage this summer I think, at Bristow, Virginia on 'Love Bites'. I'll be playing it in the studio on two new Delta Deep songs next week when I get home off tour. It has an ash body, a Dimarzio Area Hot T pickup in the bridge position and a Dimarzio Area T chrome (DP417C) in the neck position. It has D'Addario 13-54 gauge strings. After Scott set it up it feels very different to my PC-1's although it does have a PC-1 neck on it. Mainly because it has a fixed bridge and not my usual tremelo, floating bridge setup now it plays and sounds amazing.
The Jackson PC X-Stroyer continued to wow me on the whole tour. The sound was spectacular and I put this down to there being so much wood involved. It's such a mass of wood making it rather heavy (and I do have some really heavy guitars). With all the bells and whistles that are featured on the PC-1's and Supremes it comes out and slays. Having said that it's nowhere near as comfortable to play as a PC-1 and I wouldn't dream of playing it all night, which I have done with some of my PC-1's-most notably my old green and first one 'Kermit' that stayed in tune all night for the live recording of the Cybernauts live concert in 1996. The X-Stroyer isn't a production model but I'm sure it'll be available as a custom guitar if anyone's man enough for it.
I'd like to thank everyone who came and saw us on this tour; Scott Appleton who made the guitars perform like the champs that they are; Gabriel who is traveling with us on the Mexico leg of the tour who showed us around and shared with me and Helen the most amazing cultural experiences in Mexico City; and my lovely wife Helen Collen who made me and my guitars look great with her excellent photography.
Watch now!. All photos by Helen Collen.
Jackson-Bela - See all photos HERE
This guitar has been in and on many magazine covers and articles with and without me not to mention Def Leppard videos. It currently resides at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland Ohio in a coffin-well a glass case actually but close enough considering the face painted on the guitar.
The artwork was done by Dan Lawrence. During the recording of the Hysteria album I ordered my second custom Jackson guitar (the first being the cracked black and silver Soloist in the 'Women' and 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' videos). Grover Jackson, the name where the Jackson guitars title comes from said, "You know we could paint anything on a guitar and even make it glow in the dark". Back in the 80s when Grover still owned Jackson Guitars he was pretty hands on. Many a time he would come out on tour, make sketches that would later take shape on wood, and eventually become a guitar. I'd also go to the old factory and Grover would take a saw to a guitar and hack a new shape. I even have a prototype Phil Collen guitar at home that has pencil marks and is totally raw which was hacked out by Grover (I'll take a photo and share it with you all when I get home). Anyway Grover said, "If you get me a photo we can copy it." Being a horror movie buff like Grover I went to Forbidden Planet, a comic and memorabilia store in London and got an 8x10 black and white photo of Bela Lugosi, arguably the most famous film version of the vampire Dracula and sent it out to California to the Jackson factory.There's a story about when the artwork and specs were left on a table and the next day a vampire bat was on the wall next to the plans when everybody came into work in the morning. That aside the guitar was finally finished and made it's first live appearance on the Hysteria tour.
The guitar itself is/was a Jackson dinky with a bolt on neck. It originally had a Khaler trem system on it as did a lot of my early guitars mainly because my friend and red hot guitar player Rudi Riviere knew the tremelo bridge's systems inventor Dave Story when he designed the trem in London. The guitar has been through some major changes over the years but still glows like crazy when the lights go out. I had Dimarzio super distortion humbuckers put in as the guitar has 2 hum buckers, not that you can see them as they have plastic covers painted over. It has an ebony fingerboard with shark fin inlays and I eventually had a Floyd Rose tremelo system installed with an FU-tone titanium block.
This guitar has improved with age and sounds better than it ever did. I've had it for 28 years. You can hear this guitar on the first half of the solo on 'Let's Get Rocked' and see it on the videos 'Animal', 'Armageddon It', 'and 'Rock On'. You can also hear it on the live version of 'Nine Lives' on the Mirrorball album.
I just got to play it for one night only (Tues Aug 26th) when we played Cuyahoga Falls near Cleveland. I would like to thank the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum's Shelby Morrison, Mngr of Artist & VIP Relations and Amanda Pecsenye-Registrar for bringing, hanging with us, and later collecting Bela at our Cleveland Show at the Blossom Music Center. Scotty set it up and re-strung it. I played it on 'Love Bites', 'Let's Get Rocked', 'Armageddon It', and 'Sugar' before it had to be returned to it's crypt before daylight. You can see Bela on display anytime at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. I'll probably get it back next year so it can go on our 2015 world tour with me, of course.