Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott believes every band should set themselves up as a cottage industry – and he insists it’s not hard to do.
His outfit have been running their own affairs for several years after their record contract expired. They’ve re-recorded some of their classic tracks so they can be released without having to pay their former label, and the band’s next album, currently in production, will be released on their now fully-fledged Bludgeon Riffola label.
Elliott tells My Global Mind: “As soon as we were out of with our deal with Universal we did everything in-house – everything. We do our own artwork, distribution deals, we write and record our own songs, we record our own live stuff, we organise it all. It’s not difficult to do; all you need is a bit of knowledge.”
He argues there’s no guarantee that a major label will hire the best people for the job to work for a band. “Doing it this way, we can pick and choose people that are really good,” he says.”
And he believes it’s cheaper too: “The label pay you a miserly little fee for delivering a record because, supposedly, they have the infrastructure and all that stuff. If you actually think about it you can do it yourself – you get people to work for you, you pay them to do it, and paying them to do a good job is a lot less than paying the record company.”
Elliott underlines that taking charge of their own affairs hasn’t damaged Def Leppard’s profile. “We’ve been a cottage industry for five or six years, and in that time we’ve headlined Download twice. On the 35th anniversary of the band’s existence we played in front of 82,000 people in Quebec. We’re ticking along.”
Even if mistakes are made the band know it’ll be their own fault. “IF it’s going to go down the tubes I want to be responsible for it – not somebody else,” he states. “At least it’s our choice, and that’s what it should be.
“Artists should be in charge of their own career, and that’s all we’re doing. We’re wrestling back control.”