Pour Some Ziggy On Me: Leppard/Spiders Take On Bowie

Def Leppard's Joe Elliott, Phil Collen team with Spiders From Mars to do Bowie covers.

Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott, guitarist Phil Collen and members of David

Bowie's '70s band Spiders From Mars have recorded a double-CD of Bowie

covers under the name Cybernauts.

The 25-track set, Cybernauts Live, consists of 18 live songs and seven

studio cuts for a total of nearly two-and-a-half hours of music.

The Cybernauts project grew out of Elliott's admiration for Bowie guitarist Mick

Ronson, who died of cancer in 1993.

"He was a genuine hero of mine, became a good friend of mine, and died

tragically," Elliott said during a June 8 interview from his home in Dublin. "We wanted to let the world know that there was more than Jimi Hendrix in the dead file that comes under the term 'classic guitar player.' "

The day Ronson died, Def Leppard performed a version of "Ziggy

Stardust" in Stockholm, Sweden. A year later, they were invited by Ronson's

sister Maggie to partake in a Mick Ronson memorial show at the Hammersmith

Odeon in London. For the event, they hooked up with the Spiders From Mars

rhythm section — bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick "Woody" Woodmansey — and learned songs from The Man Who Sold the World (1970), The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust (1972), Hunky Dory (1971) and Aladdin Sane (1973).

"It was a great honor for me and Phil to be involved and pretend for 45

minutes to be Bowie and Ronson," Elliott said.

At this point, Elliott and Collen are back writing with Def Leppard, so

Cybernauts have no plans to tour America, but never say never.

"The good thing about this is it's not a record that's tagged to a

particular point in time," Elliott said. "These are classic songs, and it's

entirely possible that we might get back together and do some sort of tour

together some time in the future. In the meantime, it's available online for

anyone who wants it."

The discs were scheduled to go on sale June 7 on the band's Web site,

www.cybernautsruleok.com, but as of June 8, the site still wasn't equipped

with the proper security measures to handle credit card orders, Elliott said. At present, the site has posted a message saying, "We'll have it available again as soon as

possible. Please accept our apologies." Elliott said he expected the

problems to be straightened out by Monday morning, when the discs will go on

sale for 17 pounds (about $25).

"I've basically been running this entire thing myself as an exercise in fun,

which turned out to be slightly frustrating," he said. "But at least I see

what it's like now to be part music mogul, part manager and part record

company executive. Kind of like Puff Daddy, but I'm sure he has people doing

it all on his behalf, and he takes the credit. I've actually physically been

handling this all myself. It was something to do, and it was rewarding, but

next time I think I'd rather go fishing."

The tracklist for Cybernauts Live:

Disc one:

  • "Watch That Man"

  • "Hang Onto Yourself"

  • "Changes"

  • "The Supermen"

  • "Five Years"

  • "Cracked Actor"

  • "Moonage Daydream"

  • "Angel No. 9"

  • "Jean Genie"

  • "Life On Mars?"

  • "The Man Who Sold the World"

  • "Starman"

  • "The Width of a Circle"

  • "Ziggy Stardust"

  • "White Light White Heat"

  • "Rock & Roll Suicide"

  • "Suffragette City"

  • "All the Young Dudes"

Disc two(studio tracks):

  • "All the Young Dudes"

  • "Moonage Daydream"

  • "Manic Depression"

  • "The Man Who Sold the World"

  • "Time"

  • "Panic in Detroit"

  • "Lady Grinning Soul"