Joe Elliott PRAISES fired Def Leppard co-founder Pete Willis: ‘Integral part of this band’

Back in 1977, Rick Savage, Tony Kenning and Pete Willis formed the band Atomic Mass. The Sheffield group chose Joe Elliott as their lead singer, who came up with the Def Leppard name change. But as they rose to fame, guitarist Willis was fired in July 1982 due to his on the job excessive drinking and was replaced by Phil Collen.

Now in an exclusive interview with, Elliott has opened up on keeping in contact with Willis and how he sees the Def Leppard co-founder as “integral” to the band.

The 60-year-old said: “I haven’t seen him since 2004.

“I have, through friends, tried to make contact with him.

“In other words, when we got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame [last year], we tried to get him to come. He deserved to get his credit.”

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Elliott added: “They had a nice chat, but at the end of the day Pete decided not to go.

“So, knowing that, I rewrote my speech, and I made sure we said some very positive things about Pete’s contribution to this band back in 1978-1982.

“And then we moved on and that’s it basically. He’s got his life, we’ve got ours.

“He chose a different path and we always wish him well at the end of the day.


Meanwhile, Def Leppard: London To Vegas has been released, bringing together two of the band’s most recent concerts in film and audio formats.The first was Hysteria At The O2, where Def Leppard performed their 1987 12x platinum album in its entirety.

Elliott said of the show that sold out in half an hour: “We make a promise to the world that one day we’d come back and do Hysteria in full in the UK.

“It took us a while to get there, but we finally got there in December 2018. A real commitment and challenge to play it live, but we pulled it off.”

Def Leppard: London to Vegas is out now and the different formats are available here.