As someone who has followed Def Leppard’s career for nigh on four decades, I’ve always kind of thought of Joe Elliott’s Down N Outz as something he did between tours just to keep himself busy. Formed as a celebration of the music Elliott grew up listening to, I’ve only casually listened to their previous two studio albums and live album simply because I’m at a loss regarding how you could ever better those old Mott songs?

The band’s new album ‘This Is How We Roll’ is an altogether different proposition for me though as it features just one cover (of the Tubes’ ‘White Punks On Dope’) and here we finally get to hear what the Down N Outz (also featuring The Quireboys’ Paul Guerin and Guy Griffin on guitar, Keith Weir on keyboards, with Vixen’s Share Ross on bass, and Wayward Sons’ Phil Martini on drums) actually sound like doing their own thang.

Opener ‘Another Man’s War’ actually takes me right back to the days when I first heard ‘Wasted’, it might only sound like Joe’s day job band in vocals alone but its got that same organic vibe that those early Leppard songs had in spades, and whilst this is probably the most Mott sounding track on  ‘This Is How We Roll’ rest assured it is anything but a pastiche. Likewise, the album’s title track has an almost ‘High N Dry’ feel to it, and it is a pleasure to hear Elliott singing without multi-layered backing vocals. In fact, he’s probably never sounded more relaxed and in control of his voice.

The emotionally-charged piano-driven ‘Goodbye Mr. Jones’ is the type of tune guaranteed to give you goosebumps but for me, it is the much more subtle lyrical references during the jaunty pop of ‘Creatures’ that truly ticks all the boxes in the Bowie (yup that Mr. Jones) tribute department. This is easily my favourite track on ‘This Is How We Roll’ simply because it sounds like the band is having a wail of a time just doing what the hell they want to do.

With Elliott and Ronan McHugh behind the desk the production values on ‘This Is How We Roll’ are awesomely 70s-tastic – lush where they need to be, like on the almost Carpenters meets Cats In Space pomp of ‘Last Man Standing’ or truly bonkers like on the Beatles-y musical interludes of ‘Music Box’ and album closer ‘The Destruction Of Hideous Objects, Pt 3’.

‘Boys Don’t Cry’ meanwhile is a four to the floor rocker that puts me very much in mind of those ‘Hysteria’ era b sides where the band had the Lange production shackles loosened slightly and sounded like they were actually enjoying themselves. Look, I’m not being critical of that multi-platinum selling 80s version of Def Leppard it’s just that ‘This Is How We Roll’ took five years to record because of the respective members day job commitments – not because everything had to be multi tracked to the point of the song sounding almost secondary to the production. Just listen to the gospel tinged ‘Walking to Babylon’ or the dramatic ‘Let It Shine’ for examples of this in reverse, both are mid-tempo piano driven tunes that really do shine and could have very easily fitted into a Radio Caroline playlist back in the day.

The album’s only cover, ‘White Punks On Dope’ is also done very much in the Down N Outz style, and that in itself is what doing a cover should always be all about. Making it your own, so to speak.

I’ve had nothing but ‘This Is How We Roll’ on my stereo since it dropped a few days ago and my only slight criticism is that at twelve tracks in length (three of them being interludes and one a cover) I really could have done with hearing more of how the Down N Outz themselves really do roll. That’s because when these now not so young dudes and dudette get the bit firmly between their teeth on the eight original songs contained here it really is like the Golden Age of Rock N Roll all over again.

Glorious stuff indeed!

Author: Johnny Hayward

Buy ‘This Is How We Roll’ Here

Rock photographer Bill O’Leary has a book Featuring over 175 full color concert images from the ’70s through ’90s of icons like Van Halen, Rush, Judas Priest, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, Queen, Pink Floyd, Zappa, and more Available Here
During his career, photographer Bill O’Leary took pictures of some of rock’s biggest names at the peak of their powers – Van Halen, Rush, Judas Priest, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, Queen, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, etc. And now, he has opened his archives for the first time ever – assembling a collection of not only his best images, but also, offering stories and recollections behind concerts he shot over the years. Indeed, this book is comprised of over 175 full color, live concert images photographed primarily from the late 1970’s through the 1990’s.

Artists include…AC/DC, Albert King, The Allman Brothers Band, Anthrax, Blues Traveler, Bob Seger, Cheap Trick, Def Leppard, Dixie Dregs, Foreigner, Frank Zappa, Grateful Dead, Hot Tuna, Jeff Beck, Jethro Tull, Joan Jett, Judas Priest, Kiss, Marillion, Mercyful Fate, Michael Schenker Group, Molly Hatchet, Mötley Crüe, Motörhead, Outlaws, Overkill, Ozzy Osbourne, Pat Travers, Phish, Pink Floyd (The Wall), The Police, Queen, Rainbow, Reo Speedwagon, The Romantics, Rossington Collins Band, Rush, Scorpions, Slayer, Styx, Ted Nugent, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, Triumph, UFO, Van Halen, White Zombie, XTC, Yes, Yngwie Malmsteen with Alcatrazz, and ZZ Top.

O’Leary says:
“Hard to believe that I have been shooting concerts for 4 decades now, beginning in the mid 70’s when I went to my first concert at the world famous Madison Square Garden in New York City. I felt at home among the walls of speakers and the towering lighting rigs, I also immediately knew that leaving the show with a ticket stub, program and maybe a t-shirt would not be enough, so I had to capture the memory permanently. Within’ weeks I had traded my Sony home stereo system for a black leather jacket and my first Minolta SLR camera. After a brief learning period experimenting with the constantly changing lighting and vast array of colors, film speeds and the quick movements of the artists, I was told by many people that I was a “natural”. I have always felt that “knowing” the music deeply and being passionate about it as well, really was the “secret” to capturing the “moment”. With that confidence, I was soon shooting many concerts, 46 in 1980 alone. By then I was also being published in many major magazines as well. In the early days, I practiced “gorilla type tactics” to get my equipment into the venue’s. Later, I was forced to play the game of securing credentials in order to shoot shows. All too soon, promoter and band management rules and demands on photographers began to take the excitement out of shooting shows. Then the ” first 3 song” rule became common, NO more pictures after the third song. Pro concert photographers know that the “best” part of a shows production comes later in the event. In the end, I’m glad to have been a part of the glory days of concert photography.”

FOREWARD by Freddie Salem of The Outlaws:
“Bill O’Leary has played an extremely important part in the rock n’ roll world, as the consummate live performance photographer for over 40 years. As a professional musician, rock photographers are a part of the music scene – whether it be shooting promotional shoots, live concerts, or simply capturing life on tour. Bill first photographed us back in 1979 – a couple years after I joined the Outlaws, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. We were touring in support of our latest album, In the Eye of the Storm. Madison Square Garden is a big show for any touring band – as well as me personally, as a musician. A landmark venue. The following year, 1980, Bill again photographed me onstage – twice. Once at a Pat Travers Band show at the Palladium in Lower Manhattan in April, then again later that fall in November, as the Outlaws were touring in support of our latest album, Ghost Riders. This time, we were playing a smaller venue in Passaic, New Jersey, called the Capitol Theatre. Hundreds upon hundreds of marquis performers from all over the world have been captured on film by Bill – with the help of his trusty camera. I am surely anticipating the release of Bill O’Leary’s book, featuring his life’s passion and his iconic photography work. Looking at the thousands of live photos Bill has shot over the years one thing is very clear – he knows when to “pull the trigger.”

Down ‘n’ Outz, the project headed up by Def Leppard frontman and 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Joe Elliott, are set to release their third studio album in late 2019.

The band, completed by The Quireboys’ Paul Guerin (Guitar), Guy Griffin (Guitar) and Keith Weir (keyboards), plus Share Ross (Bass, Vixen) and Phil Martini (drums, Wayward Sons), take a different approach on “This Is How We Roll” to the previous album. The album only features one cover version (The Tubes “White Punks On Dope) – alongside eleven original Joe Elliott penned tracks.

Guitarist Guy Griffin says, “(“This Is How We Roll”) is absolutely fantastic, probably one of the best records I’ve worked on. It doesn’t sound like Leppard or the first two Down n Outz records. It’s kind of all the stuff Joe grew up with, a lot of piano type stuff, a bit Elton John, one track a bit 10cc, a couple of good rockers… a real mix of stuff. Joe’s voice sounds amazing and it’s great fun to do.”

Joe Elliott says,“Boy, has this has been a long time coming?! Recorded in infrequent bursts of activity over a 5-year period whenever our respective motherships allowed, I’m extremely proud of what we’ve achieved with this album. I’m blessed to have worked with such a superb bunch of musicians on this collection of songs. To a man, and woman (!), they completely got my vision of what I wanted us to convey on this record & as usual, working with a world-class producer/engineer in Ronan McHugh has guaranteed the sound of the record to be top-notch! I couldn’t be more proud.”

Along with the announcement of the new studio album, Down ‘n’ Outz also release the rock out of title track and lead single “This Is How We Roll”, available to listen to: Here

From breathless opener “Another Man’s War” to the lush “Last Man Standing”, to the epic six-minute “Let It Shine”, this is an album that draws on all the influences that have shaped both Joe Elliott and the previous Down ‘n’ Outz albums to create a stunning collection of original songs. “This Is How We Roll” was produced by Joe Elliott with co-production by Ronan McHugh. The album was recorded at Joe Elliott’s own studio Joe’s Garage.

 

“This Is How We Roll” will be released on via UMC on 11th October 2019. The album will be available on CD, LP, digitally and also on limited edition 12” Picture Disc LP.
“This Is How We Roll” is now available to pre-order: Here
The Down ‘n’ Outz project was born in 2009 when Mott The Hoople reformed and asked a long-time friend and fan Joe Elliott to get involved. Joe formed the Down ‘n’ Outz with Paul, Guy, Keith, and Phil. Together they looked to bring songs by Mott The Hoople and spin-off projects of Mott, Ian Hunter and British Lions to a wider audience.

In 2009 Down ‘n’ Outz supported Mott The Hoople at one of the band’s five Hammersmith Apollo shows. The fan interest eventually led to the band looking to put together an album and. 2011 saw the release of the critically acclaimed debut My Re-Generationthrough Mailboat Records (Joe Perry, Walter Becker, Chris Isaak, Jeff Bridges). My Re-Generation included the singles “England Rocks” and “Overnight Angels,” that reached No 4 and No 1 respectively on the US Media Base Rock chart -keeping Eric Clapton’s new single off the top of the chart for 2 weeks. The band then released a live DVD taken from those initial shows called “Live at Hammersmith Apollo.” A second studio album The Further Adventures of…was released in 2014 and featured the single “Rock and Roll Queen”. New bassist Share Ross (Vixen) debuted on 2017’s live album and DVD “The Further Live Adventures Of…”

A stunning live act – having toured with the likes of Paul Rogers across the UK (Including The Royal Albert Hall) and festival performances including High Voltage and Planet Rockstock, Down ‘n’ Outz are planning live dates to support “This Is How We Roll”.

“This Is How We Roll” track-listing is as follows

CD
Another Man’s War
This Is How We Roll
Goodnight Mr. Jones
Creatures
Last Man Standing
Music Box
Boys Don’t Cry
Walking to Babylon
Let It Shine
Music Box Reprise/Griff’s Lament
White Punks on Dope
The Destruction of Hideous Objects Part 3

LP / Picture Disc

Side One
Another Man’s War
This Is How We Roll
Goodnight Mr. Jones
Creatures
Last Man Standing

Side Two
Music Box
Boys Don’t Cry
Walking to Babylon
Let It Shine
Music Box Reprise/Griff’s Lament*
White Punks on Dope
The Destruction of Hideous Objects Part 3

Official site
Facebook
Twitter

It’s a staggering 32 years since Cheap Trick last played the capitol city of Wales, and whilst I’ve seen the band a good few times since that Motley Crue support slot it was their return to Cardiff that meant for the first time in many a year I not only snapped up a ticket for this show in double quick time but I’m also queuing early doors in the pouring rain outside one of my least favourite venues just to make sure I don’t miss a note. Ever the fan boy eh!

I’m glad I did too because tonight really does belong to the boys from Rockford. Playing a tight and sadly shorter set than I’ve come to expect from the band they still manage to change things around set list wise from the previous two nights (I just couldn’t resist a sneaky peak online beforehand) slotting in the sublime ‘Big Eyes’ and a crowd pleasing ‘The Flame’ as tonight’s curveballs around the rest of the set – which effectively plays out like a greatest hits of Cheap Trick.

The addition of Robin Zander’s son Robin Zander Jnr on second guitar and backing vocals certainly adds a new dimension to the band, one which allows his father to make full use of the ego ramp and concentrate on hitting all the right notes, something the 65 year old still does with the utmost of ease. Whilst behind the kit Daxx Nielsen has become as much a feature of Cheap Trick these past seventeen or so years as the legendary Bun E Carlos. And whilst legendary is a term bandied around all to easily these days when it comes to songs like ‘ If You Want My Love’, ‘I Want You To Want Me’, ‘Dream Police’ and ‘Surrender’ right here in these four songs you have perhaps the very cornerstones of many a subsequent musical genres. Without this band there would certainly be no power pop, there would be no hair metal and perhaps maybe even no alt-rock or grunge so when Kliph Scurlock takes to the drums for a song tonight everything comes kinda full circle and I feel honoured to witness such a magical one-off event.

Ending their ten song set with ‘Goodnight Now’ Rick Nielsen’s ludicrous multi neck guitar once again makes a long overdue appearance on a Welsh stage before it’s all over in the blink of an eye. Short and sweet this might have been but I adored every single sugar coated second of it, long may the Trick shine on.

Having witnessed the tail end of Def Leppard’s 25th anniversary tour for the ‘Hysteria’ album at Hellfest five years ago I was certainly interested in seeing what the band might do to top that stealing performance this time around.

Okay there’s a few small changes – there’s no Def Leppard supporting themselves “deep dive” archive set to start things off, plus (and this bit does seem strange) there’s no repeat of the intro film that they used to set the scene for what was about to follow, but what we do get tonight is the twelve song, bazillion copy selling, album played out in sequence in meticulous detail and boy does it sound good. How can you critique arena rock perfection? You can’t, you just have to simply accept that songs like ‘Animal’, ‘Armageddon It’ and ‘Gods Of War’ (noticeably now devoid of the Mrs T outro speech) were written for “Sold Out” nights like tonight and whatever you think of Def Leppard you cannot deny these guys have achieved a phenomenal amount in their time together as a band and tonight they have simply never looked happier – especially with the ecstatic crowd response.

Moving the “deep dive” section to the encores (ah! I see what you did their guys) and noting that on previous nights classics like ‘Wasted’ and ‘Let It Go’ have been given an airing I have to admit that tonight’s opening selection of ‘Make Love Like A Man’ ‘When Love And Hate Collide’ and ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ kind of leave me feeling like I’d been dealt a bum hand, I mean am I the only one who’d have preferred to hear ‘When Saturday Comes’ at this point? Ha! Look, I’ve still got the game changing ‘Rock Of Ages’ and the always awesome ‘Photograph’ so I’m always going to leave here tonight with a smile on my face, just like pretty much everyone else, it’s just that deep down inside I wish Da Lepps would have done a 35th year anniversary of the album those classics came from instead.

Ah well, you can always dream…

Author:Johnny Hayward