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Joe Elliott

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jonpall
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Just for your enjoyment (for those who like Def Leppard), this is a complete live concert and there are links to lots of other newly uploaded live concerts from this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5lydLxXL_E&list=PL5C77E6129F274449&index=51&feature=plpp_video

I hadn't really listened much to Def Leppard, so I didn't realize how good Joe Elliott was. Good control of the high part of the voice and a real rocker's voice.

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I totally agree, Jonpall.

And allow me to get on my soapbox and preach a little, as if I have never done that before.

Aside from the purely phenomenal musicianship of this band, from Joe's everlasting voice to the virtuosity if guitarist Phil Collen (spokesman of the group, most often) they are a band. A gang. A brotherhood. Especially as how they stuck with the drummer after he lost his left arm. They could have easily said "we need to get another drummer" and he probably would have agreed with them. But they stuck it out, postponed the tours and spent themselves silly consulting with a mechanical engineer to come up with a drum kit that could be played with 2 feet and 1 arm. And waited, as he had to learn how to drum, all over again.

That is golden, that is rock, and they have endured because they kept the sound, they kept the drummer. Even f they turned out crap, which they never have, they deserve kudos for never leaving a man behind. So to speak, Def Leppard are the SEALs of rock and roll.

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Good post, Ron. Also, from this video you can find links to full length concerts of bands like Guns N' Roses, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin and Whitesnake. It's very interesting to listen to the singers in these videos from a technical standpoint. You can learn a lot from them. You can hear that they were not perfect. Not all the time. Obviously they had lots of talents but one very important thing they had was courage. They had guts. They took the chance to suck and ended up having more success than they could have dreamt of. Because they dared.

But you can f.ex. hear

a) That when Joe Elliot sings the first, or one of the first, high phrases in the concerts, he's being careful of not overdoing the pressure on his throat so the sound is ever so slightly thin for a split second, probably so that he at leasts HITS the note in tune. But in a couple of seconds he finds his balance and adds slightly more meat to the sound until it's "just right".

B) Axl Rose starting the concert with two songs that have unusually many low notes, probably to warm up his voice a bit. Then when he starts to put in a few high phrases, he sounds good, but he's certainly not perfect. He's trying to get his balance of thinning the voice out with just the right amount as he goes up and down in pitch. It takes him a few songs to find that balance.

c) David Coverdale early in his career where he hadn't really mastered singing high notes, but, like Steven Tyler early on, rather sung in chest voice and did an occasional high scream. No middle voice because he hadn't learned how to bridge the low and high notes together. In fact I can hear him doing stuff that I've done in the past and that's reasshuring.

d) Robert Plant avoiding lots of high notes, f.ex. in the beginning song, "Rock 'n' roll", similar to what Freddy Mercury did.

Today's rock vocal lesson:

1. Twang like hell.

2. Thin the voice as you up, not too fast (otherwise you might sound too weak and thin) and not too slow (otherwise you might be flat and hurt your voice).

3. Sing with LOTS of intensity and feeling, like you REALLY mean it.

Have a nice one.

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To illustrate my point even further, here's a great live performance from David Coverdale AFTER he learned how to bridge:

Still, it's a live performance so you can hear that the top note in the very first vocal line is slightly flat. He's bringing in a BIT too much vocal weight - not thinning out the voice fast enough. But right after, in the next line, he fixes it! He must have realized (at the very least sub conciously) that he should thin the top note slightly more and so he did. He does mostly great in this performance and his high scream at 2:55 is nothing short of stellar.

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Again, you are so right, jonpall. And I do similar things myself, especially live. I feel my way in on the first verse and chorus.

And Coverdale is a great example. It's like this song is a doumentation of warm-up. He sounds a bit woofy but toward the end, he's warmed up, thinned out, and articulating. That is, it's not just high sonics, it's high melody with understandable lyrics..

I liked this line of Whitesnake. It was like a supergroup. Steve Vai, Rudy Sarzo. And David, gracious as ever. We could try to sing like David (and I don't mean sound like him, but sing like him.) But we should also try to behave like him, gracious to the audience, for they write your paycheck, in so many steps.

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Yes. And interestingly, of all those live concerts that are linked together on youtube, to me it sounds like Joe Elliot might be doing the best job. A singer in a band that I've listened very little to. Probably because as a teenager, Def Leppard was not "cool" enough for me and my friends. Their lyrics could be better, though, I guess ;) . That's actually inspiring me to write better lyrics as I'm in a songwriting mood these days.

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Well, Def Leppard had pro producer Mutt Lange for quite some time. He put such a polish on the sound. In fact, in spite of being a hard rock and heavy metal band, they were considered "chick" rock. Which is diminutive of both them and women. As if it is somehow less valid to have a well done sound with lyrics about love songs and a deceptively simple rhythm.

It's like David Lee Roth said. You need to keep the dancable songs in the set. Because it's not guys who make you millions. It's women. Either they buy the albums and tickets themselves, or their boyfriends or husbands buy it for them as presents, a date, what-have-you. There are plenty of bands that don't "cater" to "chick" rock. In anonymity and bare subsistence they shall reign.

Other side of the coin, as you have noted, just because the band is popular and the recorded sound is polished does not mean the band isn't working. Even Mike, here, can tell you that you can only mix with what you get.

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And they had plenty of "hard" songs that didn't get enough radio play."Another Hit and Run," "Me and My Wine." However, I think "Rock of Ages" was the cross-over. Totally heavy metal that was recorded and produced well. And had a strong, dancable meter that took it past the Beethoven or Paganini comparisons. Nothing wrong with metal bands that stick to a more classical arrangement. But that song just gets under your skin and in your blood and you are powerless to stop yourself from at least humming it in the shower. Quiet Riot might have been the first metal band to top the charts but Def Leppard had even your grandma humming along.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know of many people who knocked Def Leppard back in the day, especially when "Hysteria" took off.

I couldn't bring myself to jump on that bandwagon after seeing them live on that tour. They kicked ungodly ass, and made many of the other heavier "tough guy" bands look like amateurs in comparison, in my opinion. They are the real deal live.

Not to mention, Phil Collen is a severely underrated guitar player. That guy can shred with the very best of them.

What they did with "Bringing on the Heartbreak" here is just superb.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G83KdDwsKKc&feature=related

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Good post, Ron. Also, from this video you can find links to full length concerts of bands like Guns N' Roses, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin and Whitesnake. It's very interesting to listen to the singers in these videos from a technical standpoint. You can learn a lot from them. You can hear that they were not perfect. Not all the time. Obviously they had lots of talents but one very important thing they had was courage. They had guts. They took the chance to suck and ended up having more success than they could have dreamt of. Because they dared.

But you can f.ex. hear

a) That when Joe Elliot sings the first, or one of the first, high phrases in the concerts, he's being careful of not overdoing the pressure on his throat so the sound is ever so slightly thin for a split second, probably so that he at leasts HITS the note in tune. But in a couple of seconds he finds his balance and adds slightly more meat to the sound until it's "just right".

B) Axl Rose starting the concert with two songs that have unusually many low notes, probably to warm up his voice a bit. Then when he starts to put in a few high phrases, he sounds good, but he's certainly not perfect. He's trying to get his balance of thinning the voice out with just the right amount as he goes up and down in pitch. It takes him a few songs to find that balance.

c) David Coverdale early in his career where he hadn't really mastered singing high notes, but, like Steven Tyler early on, rather sung in chest voice and did an occasional high scream. No middle voice because he hadn't learned how to bridge the low and high notes together. In fact I can hear him doing stuff that I've done in the past and that's reasshuring.

d) Robert Plant avoiding lots of high notes, f.ex. in the beginning song, "Rock 'n' roll", similar to what Freddy Mercury did.

Today's rock vocal lesson:

1. Twang like hell.

2. Thin the voice as you up, not too fast (otherwise you might sound too weak and thin) and not too slow (otherwise you might be flat and hurt your voice).

3. Sing with LOTS of intensity and feeling, like you REALLY mean it.

Have a nice one.

addendum to today's rock vocal lesson:

warm up thoroughly (often undervalued or overlooked)

get the throat open and relaxed

take the strain with with the lower core muscles

be sure to remain supported from the very onset of tone to the very end of a phrase

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