IT'S rare that Def Leppard come to these shores, yet the finest songs from Def Leppard's long career can be heard live on a regular basis throughout the UK - and in Belfast on September 16th.
Europe's only tribute band to the Sheffield heroes, Deft Leppard, will be playing in Belfast's Empire on 16th September - and the band can't wait!
"Belfast's fantastic," said Ashley Cooper, who sings the part of Joe Elliot when Deft Leppard hit the stage.
"We played here in February and the reception we got was fantastic, the venue, the promoters and the crowd all treated us really well, and we played even better than normal!"
One member of Deft Leppard got into the action more than he anticipated.
Aaron Sutton, who plays Leppard's guitarist Vivian Campbell ended up in the crowd.
"Aaron got a little too close and some of the ladies, shall we say, encouraged him to get down into the crowd," explains Ashley. "I suppose it was because Vivian Campell's a Belfast lad, but there might have been a button undone by the time he got back onstage."
A range of tribute bands have been around for the past number of years, from big productions such as The Australian Pink Floyd, through to pub bands plying covers. But Deft Leppard's motivation is simply a love of the music, especially that of their heroes.
"Our main reason for doing it is simply that fans can't get to see their favourite bands that often," explains Ashley. "And as those bands have gotten bigger they never get to see them up close in an intimate venue.
"Def Leppard played just two dates in the UK this year in Sheffield and London."
Deft Leppard, who formed just over a year ago, have been refining their set now throughout the summer touring.
As yet they haven't decided if they are to put some of the tracks from Def Leppard's latest album, 'Yeah', in their set - especially seeing as Leppard themselves seem undecided as to what songs they are playing on their current US tour.
"We've been thinking about that," said Ashley. "We could do 21st Century Boy pretty well, or Hanging on the Telephone, but we concentrate on the hits that the fans want to hear."
All of Deft Leppard are experienced musicians, who have played in their own bands or have been session players. Through the week they hold down a variety of jobs - from site managers through to teachers - but it is at weekends that Deft Leppard come to life.
"We've been on tour most weekends, and will have played about a dozen weekends straight before we arrive for Belfast on the 16th. It's the last date of that leg of the tour and it'll be a special night because of that!"
NB: This exclusive Belfastmetalheadsreunited interview with Deft Leppard is available for free use in print media. Please drop a comment/email if you wish to use it.