DEF LEPPARD - X-tra Sugar This Time, Please
By Martin Popoff

"I'm in the hills of Malibu. My closest neighbor is a coyote (laughs). It's pretty remote but it's nice. I like being up here. I'm far enough from so-called civilization to feel like I get some privacy, but not too far away where I can't go into town, just check out what's going on, for shows or concerts or whatever."

Ah yes, to be a rock star. That is the fate of Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen, who is getting set to tour the band's shockingly poppy new album X, a record that has tongues wagging as to the lack of teeth this time 'round.

The burning question went something like this (although the answer didn't burn quite as much as I would have liked): Looking at this new album, are there closet metalheads in the camp that wanted it to be heavier, or did you all agree to this direction immediately?

"I think songs like Cry and Scar hearken back to almost things like Pyromania or some of the heavier songs on Hysteria," deftly side-steps Rick. "So, I think there are always going to be people in the camp that want to go that way because some of our roots are firmly in rock. But I guess a lot of us spent a lot of time listening to Queen, so that as a vocal element, always kind of smooth things out somewhat."

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