It’s several decades since Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott played a Tyneside venue quite so intimate as Newcastle’s Riverside. However, the voice of multi-million selling rock classics Pyromania and Hysteria can’t wait to get up close and personal with his Geordie fans this weekend.
A word of warning though: Def or not, you’ll not be treated to a single Lepps anthem as the Down N Outz pay tribute to all things Mott The Hoople and Ian Hunter.
Originally conceived as a one-off house band to support Mott during their 2009 reunion run at the Hammersmith Apollo, Elliott’s side project has taken on a life of its own. A second album of Hunter-inspired covers was released earlier this year and the band has already started on a record featuring original material inspired by the glam rock era of the 1970s.
“The Down N Outz is not a tribute band,” insisted Elliott. “I wasn’t sat there in 2009 thinking I’m bored - what should I do? I’m not bored in Def Leppard. How could I be? We’re busier than ever.
“And I’m not bothered about doing something else just for the sake of it. But I love the music of Mott The Hoople and I love this band. And it is a band. It’s a band that comes together for the love of the music and a band that has a lot of potential.”
Joining Elliott in the Down N Outz are half of the Quireboys, one quarter of Vixen and homegrown drummer Phil Martini. Thrown together by a love for a long lost genre of party rock, the star-studded covers band brings a wealth of experience to every show. Expect a raft of sing-a-long anthems from latest long player The Further Adventures Of… - an album that fills Elliott with pride.
“The first album we recorded was, by our standards, loose as a goose,” he added. “The second record – although we had to record it in drips and drabs – allowed me to work a bit more on the production side of things.
“It was recorded in sections and as a result it was pieced together more carefully than the first. I think that’s reflected in the sound and the feel. We needed to up the ante production-wise in order to do the material justice. First time around we were finding our feet as a band but now we have a focus and we know what we want from Down N Outz. The third album will be an original album and it’s already been started.”
Elliott will return to his Dublin home and studio at the end of the Down N Outz tour to complete work on the follow-up to Leppard’s Songs From The Sparkle Lounge before touring the globe with one of the biggest rock bands on the planet throughout 2015.
Yet this month’s club tour is a chance for the Sheffield lad to get back to his roots and pay the music that inspired him as a teenager looking to cut his teeth in the Steel City.
“The Down No Outz album is not a vanity project but due to the fact that it’s not Leppard people won’t be queuing around the block to see the band,” he added. “We accept that. But this tour is happening because it’s a period when we can all get together and play the music that we love. And that’s the thing about the Down N Outz – we love the songs and we want to play them live.
“It’s great fun being out with the lads from the Quireboys, Phil and Share. Paul, Griff and Keith from the Quireboys had a week between the end of their tour and the start of ours but they’re such good musicians that they knew all of the stuff straight off.
“We had a week rehearsing in Bristol and it was brilliant. It always has been. At the start of Down N Outz I just hoped that they would put the work in and that it would all go to plan. After 30 minutes of our first rehearsal together I was just blown away by their musicianship. I still am now.”
* Down N Outz play Newcastle Riverside on Sunday December 14. Visit www.downnoutz.net for ticket details.