Def Leppard Pokes Fun at Tommy Lee, Suggests He Smuggles Plants Instead of Cocaine on Tour with Mötley Crüe

Def Leppard Shares Insights with PEOPLE on Their Wholesome Life on Tour with Mötley Crüe


Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe’s life on the road has taken a more wholesome turn, as they embark on their joint tour. In an interview with PEOPLE for this week’s issue, the rockers shared some insights into their experiences.

Guitarist Phil Collen likened the co-headlining tour to a bunch of kids at school, while lead singer Joe Elliott revealed that they have to be on high alert around Tommy Lee, who is known for his mischievous antics. Apparently, if you fell asleep, you were in trouble because Tommy and John 5 would play pranks like putting plant pots on people and taking pictures of them while they slept. Elliott warned, “So God help you—just don’t shut your eyes.”

Collen added a humorous note, saying, “At least Tommy’s smuggling plants now instead of cocaine. Bonsai trees, that’s his latest obsession.”

It seems like the tour has brought a more light-hearted and playful atmosphere among the musicians.

Def Leppard in 1983; (L-R) Phil Collen, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Joe Elliott, Steve Clark.

Tommy Lee has been candid about his past drug use, openly discussing how he would smuggle substances like cocaine on tour, whether on the bus or a plane, as revealed in a 2020 interview on Steve-O’s Wild Ride podcast.

Despite their wild past, the members of Mötley Crüe, including Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell from Def Leppard, have matured over the years, appreciating their experiences and the opportunity to be semi-grown up. However, they all agree that in the music industry, you never truly “grow up” entirely.

Collen reflects on playing shows with Mötley Crüe 40 years ago and appreciates the changes and growth they’ve undergone. Meanwhile, Campbell emphasizes that the music industry has a way of keeping one youthful at heart, and he believes that complete maturity may not be entirely beneficial in the creative world of music.

Lead singer Joe Elliott echoes the sentiment, stating that holding onto the wonder and childlike excitement of making music helps keep the mind young. Losing that sense of childhood dreams could potentially hinder creativity and passion for their craft. In essence, staying connected to their youthful dreams and aspirations plays a vital role in their continued musical journey.

Def Leppard in 2022 (L-R Phil Collen, Rick Allen, Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, Viv Campbell).

Def Leppard’s childhood dreams are still alive and well, evident in their recent accomplishments. They released their orchestral remix album “Drastic Symphonies” in May, followed by their 12th studio album “Diamond Star Halos” in 2022.

Their enduring success in the music industry is a testament not only to their musical talent but also to their resilience in the face of adversity. Over the years, they have faced several challenges, including the 1984 car accident that resulted in drummer Rick Allen losing his left arm, the tragic overdose death of guitarist Steve Clark in 1991, and guitarist Vivian Campbell’s battle with cancer in 2013.

Despite these setbacks, the band’s unwavering strength and unity have been rooted in their shared passion for music. Lead singer Joe Elliott highlights that throughout their history, the band’s cohesion has been anchored in their love for the music they create together, which has helped them weather any storm that comes their way.

Def Leppard’s journey continues as they join Mötley Crüe on their tour, starting on August 5 in Syracuse, New York, and concluding on August 18 in El Paso after seven shows. Following the tour, they will head to Japan and Australia in November, showcasing their enduring passion and dedication to their craft on an international stage.