In a recent episode of The Rockonteurs With Gary Kemp And Guy Pratt podcast, Def Leppard‘s Joe Elliott firmly rejected the notion that his band falls under the heavy metal category. Elliott‘s candid comments underscored a long-standing frustration with genre labels that he feels misrepresent the band’s musical identity.

“I have an issue with the term ‘heavy metal’ because everybody outside of rock always thinks if you’re a heavy metal band, it’s like bad news… You get this impression that everybody’s a moron,” Elliott remarked, highlighting a stereotype that he believes unfairly stigmatizes the genre and its fans.

Elliott clarified his stance by drawing comparisons to other legendary acts: “AC/DC were a blues rock band. UFO and Thin Lizzy were not heavy metal. Motörhead, even they had a blues influence to them… Queen was never a heavy metal band, but they had a couple of heavy metal songs, thanks to Brian May. And I think we were pretty much the same way. It was rock — absolutely heavy rock, for sure.”

To further illustrate Def Leppard‘s versatility, Elliott pointed to the band’s early work: “You listen to our first EP from 1979, there’s a song called ‘Ride Into The Sun’, which is a total pop song. But then ‘Get Your Rocks Off’ was a full-on rock song.” He humorously added, “If we’re heavy metal, then so are The Rolling Stones, ’cause it’s two guitars, bass, drums, and a singer.”

Elliott‘s aversion to strict genre labels is clear: “It’s a silly, silly term. I like ‘rock’. When you start pigeonholing, it gets on my tits, to be quite honest, because can’t we just all be just a rock band or a pop band or be both?”

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