First, and foremost, I’d like to dedicate this song to the boys of Def Leppard and to the Hysteria production, all the cast and crew, the people of Sheffield, the people who bought D.L’s albums over the years and the people who still blare “Pour Some Sugar On Me” from their cars.
Because, although we’ve come to the end of the road, still I can’t let go. It’s so natural. You belong to me. I belong to you.
Lookin’ like a tramp, like a video vamp
Demolition woman, can I be your man?
Razzle ‘n’ a dazzle ‘n’ a flash a little light
Television lover, baby, go all night
Sometime, anytime, sugar me sweet
Little miss ah innocent sugar me, yeah
Well, this is now dragging out quite a bit, isn’t it? I feel as if I owe readers a bit of a recap so we can all remember where we were in the saga when it was so abruptly dropped.
There were some guys in Sheffield, England who formed a band. For various reasons (aka: luck) they became Def Leppard, a top-selling “metal” band of the 1980s and perhaps 1990 and maybe three or four months in 1991. I wrote “metal” because there seems contention out there over whether or not D.L. is actually a metal band. It depends… do you buy that Poison was a metal band? Poison makes D.L. look like metal gods. Anyway…
They went on some U.S. tours, where they were beloved. They put out a successful album. But then there were problems. Joe wanted to work too hard, push things. All he cared about was the band’s fame and fortune. Rick wanted to party and drive fast and in return he lost an arm. Now everything is up in the air (except for that arm). Is it the end of D.L.?
It’s a time for the guys to have some life-altering revelations. Sometimes you lose a limb. Sometimes having looks, girls and money doesn’t guarantee happiness. Neither does a ratty wig. Sometimes you’re in a pretty famous rock band, make a lot of money and have a lot of hits and someone decides to make a limp biopic that boils it all down to some formulaic scenes. That’s how it goes. Ask Ritchie Valens. Well, OK, can’t do that… Ask Jim Morrison… Oh… Ask The Beatles… Oh. Well, ask Ringo.
And now we come to the real “meat and potatoes” of this story. Ah, Episode V, where it all comes together and it all falls apart…
This section of the movie was partially based on a school essay by Cole Montgomery, age 15, titled “Why I Want To Be A Rock Star.” As you’ll see, his reasoning is somewhat sound – no homework, no adults telling you what to do (except for your manager and your band mates), lots of drinking, all-you-can-eat titty bar, lots of drinking, drugs, rad clothes, sports cars and drinking.
But, lo, what is this? Why, it’s a cautionary tale…
As you may have been able to tell from the crankiness of my last post, I was in need of some serious rest and relaxation over the holiday weekend. I could not bring myself to face another episode of Hysteria! Even the act of eating had lost its allure. What? I have to eat something, like, again? And there’s nothing in the refrigerator because I threw everything away in anticipation of being out of town? Oh, bother. And let me tell you, that’s not my usual mode of operation at all.
Not at all.
Am I better now? Have I revived myself? Not quite. I would like very much for someone to braid my hair while I watch cartoons and rock back and forth.
But duty calls. Must view Hysteria Part IV…
And what is this? The best episode yet, that’s what! Hold on, kids, we’re covering a lot of ground today.
The work week before the big holiday weekend grinds slowly by… tick… tock. The clock, it hardly moves! Let’s take a break and get caught up on the trials and tribulations of Def Leppard. If you haven’t seen episodes one and two, let me catch you up. These guys lived in Sheffield, they formed a band, one guy got pissed and left, they made an album, played shows, got some sort of agent. But the dark cloud of trouble hangs over them…
We know it’s only a matter of time before someone mismanages funds, the record companies screw them, women leave them, they leave women, someone drinks themself to death, someone OD’s, someone punches someone else in the mouth, someone gets caught not paying taxes, someone shoots someone with an antique gun that wasn’t supposed to be loaded or someone sleeps with a minor…
In today’s episode, the drama is already ramping up with the usual “Rise of the Supergroup” problems.
First, I’d like to mention something. I really do love Def Leppard. I mean that un-ironically. I know since I’m a member of Generation X, that might be hard to believe but I listened to them a lot in high school and I used to try to draw the Hysteria cover art. I guess that makes me kind of like Joe Elliot, drawing his Def Leppard logo and artwork before he was even in the band, huh?
One of the best TV movies Keith and I ever watched aired in 2001 on VH1 – Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story. Oh the ups and the downs! The tragedy and the triumphs! It turns out that you can rent the movie through Netflix but, maybe even better, you can watch it for free on YouTube in several installments.
This makes Hysteria seem like a fun webseries of 10-minutes episodes, which is maybe all you can take at one time. The story revolves around drummer Rick Allen’s accident, in 1984, that cost him his arm. Of course, Rick Allen and Def went on to triumph after that, which is what made this movie possible. If it had been Rick Allen lost his arm and became an angry, bitter man on top of Steve Clark dying of alcoholism, this movie couldn’t have been made. Well, it could have been made, maybe by Oliver Stone.