Fight to the Def

Journey and Def Leppard battle for relevance in the new millennium.

Two bands, one stage, one burning question: Who would win in a celebrity death match between these two '80s icons? For the curious, here's the tale of the tape.

Why Journey Will Win:

With hits like "Don't Stop Believin'," "Any Way You Want It," "Open Arms," "Wheel in the Sky" and history's greatest prom ballad, "Faithfully," this band established itself as one of the great arena-rock bands of the 1980s. Steve Perry's soaring tenor is undeniably one of the most recognizable voices in pop-rock history, or, for that matter, all of music history. When he sings, "Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin'," you know that wheel will indeed keep on turning.

Why Def Leppard Will Win:

First off, any band that has the balls to let an illiterate grade-schooler name its group after a handicapped jungle animal has the chutzpah necessary to bitch-slap Steve Perry and company back to their mommies' open arms. Second, hits like "Animal," "Hysteria," "Photograph" and "Love Bites" are unforgettable entries in the pop-metal pantheon. And if those tunes aren't persuasive enough, consider "Pour Some Sugar on Me," a song that has prompted two generations of strippers to rub their junk on poles, chairs and each other to the delight of lonely dudes everywhere.

Who Would Really Win:

Journey is at a distinct disadvantage here, mostly because Steve Perry is such a pussy. Hell, it's because of him that the band dissolved in the first place (evidently, that chick Sherrie ditched him). And if that wasn't pussy-tastic enough, in 1996, just as he was about to reunite with Neil Schon and the boys for a tour, Perry busted up his hip while hiking in Hawaii -- and whined about it for three years. Eventually, his bandmates had no choice but to replace him with a Gap store employee (seriously) named Steve Augeri, who, well, most people think is Steve Perry anyway. To further confound matters, Augeri has been temporarily replaced by Jeff Scott Soto as the former recovers from some chronic throat infection.

Pussy, the sequel.

Hell, Def Leppard's drummer drove himself through a wall on New Year's Eve 1983, lost his arm and still figured out a way to show up to work. When guitarist Steve Clark died of an accidental prescription-drug-and-alcohol-cocktail overdose in 1991, the band soldiered on. Oh, and Def Leppard had a movie made about it. (Sure, it was a VH1 movie starring Anthony Michael Hall -- but, hey, it's still a movie.)

Although the odds in this match-up look to be in Def Leppard's favor, the fact is, no one really gives a shit about the outfit anymore. True, strippers are still fondling themselves to the band's songs, but ultimately the band has no pop-culture resonance. You'll never find references to Def Leppard on The Simpsons -- where Journey has, um, journeyed -- nor will you hear the act's tunes on shows such as Family Guy, Beavis and Butt-head, South Park or American Idol, which have all used Journey's songs and made it a point to celebrate how awesomely bad these guys were/are. In the end, it looks like there's just no escaping it:

Journey is the more relevant band.

 
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