Some package tours feature on-stage collaboration between the headliners, but fans who turn out to see Def Leppard with Styx and Tesla this summer shouldn't expect to see any big set-closing jams.

Lep singer Joe Elliott explained his reluctance in an interview with Billboard, pointing out, "We have to keep an extremely tight ship when there's three bands on. You go one minute overtime and they're fining everybody $25,000 a minute or something. And we're not gonna drop one of our songs to have a 10-minute blues jam with Styx or Tesla. I don't really see the appeal."

He does, however, see the appeal of this triple bill, which features two bands Def Leppard has toured with in the past. "Styx is a great bunch of guys and as American as mom's apple pie all the way through. And we had Tesla on board when we did the Hysteria tour back in '87; they were out for at least six or seven months with us before they went off to do their own thing," said Elliott. "It'll be a great time on stage and backstage, I think."

The announcement for the tour, which runs from late June through early October, finds Def Leppard putting the finishing touches on its next album, which Elliott promises will be out "absolutely this year" and calls "remarkably strong." Adding that the band is sorting through offers from various labels, he offered a few hints as to what fans can expect when it finally arrives in stores.

"It sounds like Def Leppard, but it sounds like Def Leppard stretching their wings a little bit. There are a couple of songs tied to our DNA, instantly recognizable as us, and some of the stuff that's not so much like that and represents who we are now, a band that's in their early- to mid-50s, the kind of music they should be making without it sounding old and farty," he mused. "We're not trying to write 24-hour party songs at our age; that would be silly."

What really makes Elliott happy at this point is that the band has varied its approach enough in the past that they don't feel "tied down" to a particular sound. "Like, when you say AC/DC, you kinda know what you're gonna get," he offered by way of example. "We're more in the Queen ballpark where you can have a slow thing and you can have a full-on rock song on the same record and they go side by side. That's where we're coming from on a lot of this stuff."

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