Frontman Joe rejects criticism of band’s return to festival after one year away, saying they took more flak last time

Def Leppard

Fast return: Def Lep back at Download after one year away

Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott says his band can face down any criticism over their return to headline the Download festival after just one year away.

They closed the Donington event in 2009 at the end of their Sparkle Lounge touring cycle, and this year will close the first night on their first proper appearance in support of the first live album, Mirrorball.

And Elliott insists they had no reservations about returning to the festival which marked their comeback in 1986 after drummer Rick Allen lost an arm in a car crash two years previously.

In an appallingly-edited article the singer tells gossip site RockAAA: “There have been a few negatives, with people asking why we’re on again so soon. But there were more negatives the first time we came back – and we pulled it off then.

“I’m happy we’re back; it’s a good thing. It’s the spiritual home of Rick’s rebirth as a musician. In 2009 we were doing Download as the end of a project, but this time it’s the start of one – it’s our first proper gig and it’s four days after the album comes out.”

And Elliott points out the predicted exodus from their show-closure two years ago didn’t materialise: “Being the last band on, people could have said they wanted to miss the traffic and leave early. But even when we were doing the end of the encore we couldn’t see the back of the crowd.”

Elliott, who spells his surname with two Ts, is pleased to welcome back guitarist Vivian Campbell, who spells his forename with an A rather than an E, after his stint with Thin Lizzy.

Although both bands are playing the iconic Donington festival, Elliott doubts that Campbell would invade on new Lissy guitarist Richard Fortus’ territory.

The singer says: “Vivian’s back from his loan spell with Lizzy promoted to the premier league. He’s doing one last hurrah with them at Slaine Castle in Ireland, and we start rehearsing literally the next day.

“I don’t know if there will be a crossover at Download. I’m sure Vivian would be happy to get up and do a song with them – but I’m sure the new guy might feel a bit intimidated, having to step aside when he’s only just got the gig. Vivian, being the gentleman he is, will probably just let him get on with it.”

Joe Elliott’s Down n’Outz are currently touring the UK supporting Paul Rodgers.

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