EXCLUSIVE – JOE ELLIOTT’S DOWN N OUTZ INTERVIEW

They’ve just announced the release of their debut DVD – available exclusively at their shows with Paul Rodgers this month – and if you don’t already know about the Down N Outz then you will do very soon.

The Def Leppard/Quireboys hybrid has tasted huge success in the USA and will open for the Voice Of Rock with their second full-length album well underway.

We caught up with frontman Joe Elliott – the brains behind the glam rock throwbacks. 

rushonrock: How excited are you that the Down N Outz are playing big shows on big stages with Paul Rodgers this month?

Joe Elliott: I’m the kind of guy who loves to play live gigs. And if you’re stood where I’m standing it’s a lot more fun playing in front of a big crowd. The last gig I did was in the basement of a pub in London and you could see the whites of the people’s eyes. So would I like the Down N Outz to headline a big venue in their own right? Yes. But let’s be honest – it’s not going to happen anytime soon. And so if we’re going to play the big venues it means jumping on the coat tails of the likes of Paul Rodgers.

rushonrock: The Newcastle show was upgraded from the City Hall to the Arena within days and you have a Geordie boy (Paul Guerin, guitars) in your band – is that night going to be a highlight?

JE: Paul Rodgers playing to a Newcastle crowd means a lot to rock fans from any part of the world. It’s like when Def Leppard play in Sheffield. There’s that connection with your own people and it’s special. Playing the Newcastle Arena ahead of Paul will be a special moment. And it could be very interesting!

rushonrock: Are Down N Outz ready for arena stages with just the one album under their belt?

JE: Look, we’ve already opened for Mott The Hoople. We’ve gone out on the main stage with Ian Hunter at the High Voltage festival. They were great experiences. We’re a band that can hold a big crowd but not in our own right. Landing a support slot on a tour with Paul Rodgers was the logical thing to do. We’re not a headline act, not at all. We weren’t even supposed to be a band! We’re non league compared to Paul but it’s nice to play with the Premier League guys every so often.

rushonrock: What’s the latest on the new Down N Outz akbum?

JE: The first album did reasonably well and England Rocks was a big hit in the US. That was the catalyst and now it all seems to be falling into place. The new record is well underway but we’re doing it piecemeal simply because that’s the way we have to do it. I’ve been working on the Thin Lizzy reissues and the new Leppard live album while the lads in the Quireboys have been off touring and writing their new record. For now a new Down N Outz record is always going to be painting by numbers if you like – we fill in where we can, when we can.

rushonrock: So with Leppard set to return with a bang this summer will the Paul Rodgers dates spell the end of Down N Oitz for a while?

JE: For all of us the Down N Outz is somewhere we go to get away from our day jobs. With our day jobs we get some time off, realise we’re bored and do some work on the Down N Outz record. There’s a three-year plan for this band but it’s not three years devoted solely to that band. But it’s not the same as Leppard or even the Quireboys. Putting together a Down N Outz record is a fairly quick process. We did the first one in 42 days but if you listen to it it sounds like it should have taken a little longer than that. Luckily we’re all experienced guys who know our jobs.

rushonrock: The Down N Outz debut DVD will be available on the Paul Rodgers tour…what about a snapshot of the new record?

JE: I’m hoping that by the time we do the Rodgers tour we’ll have at least three songs completely finished and who knows? We could put them out on seven inch vinyl and sell them at the merch stall at those gigs. Basically we can do what we like. I’m enjoying that freedom with the Down N Outz – just getting songs done, putting things together and doing what we want with it. It’s great to have that freedom. I’m taking all the good bits of being a musician and avoiding all of the crap. It’s supposed to be fun you know. I’m not trying to run for the tape against Lady GaGa – it’s not like Leppard in the late 80s. It reminds me of when we did the On Through The Night album but these days you don’t normally get the chance to be what I call ‘naïve with experience’!

I’m a journalist specialising in sport and rock music. Can’t play either so I write about them instead.

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