Today marks what would have been the 53rd b’day of Steve “Steamin’” Clark, guitarist for Def Leppard. Even during my “too cool” years, I never fully denied Def Leppard’s first three albums, and Steve Clark’s gun slinger presence was always a big reason for that. He was just the ultimate in “guitar god,” from his loose look to the casual way he let his guitar hang basically down to his knees.
While he was technically a co-lead with Phil Collen (and Pete Willis), I saw him as more of a rhythm and riff man, which in DL’s early days was no chug-a-lug side job, but a real work of art. He expressed his nonchalance through his playing, which was both rock n roll chic and raw artistic talent.
Sadly, his excesses caught up with him and he died of a pill and alcohol overdose in 1991, age 30. But he was a major factor in Def Leppard’s best (and biggest) albums, three of which I would hold up against any album of the genre (and the other has Pour Some Sugar on Me).