Joe Elliott looked back at Def Leppard’s 21st-century struggles, saying they’d endured a 15-year “losing battle” before finding a new level of success.

He admitted some of their output since 2000 hasn’t lived up to expectations but that they survived the period because they refused to stop trying.

“For the first 10 or 15 years of this century we were fighting a losing battle, but we weren’t prepared to give up,” Elliott told Classic Rock in a recent interview. “We weren’t down and out, but we knew we weren’t thought of in the same way as in the ‘80s, and we needed to do something about it.”

He noted that "the business model changed – it became all about touring. Selling 10 million records was an ‘80s thing. Apart from Taylor Swift or Adele, nobody’s going to sell 10 million records again. So we toured and toured … and it worked!”

Elliott said the British veterans “really got our mojo back” when they made their self-titled 2015 LP. “In hindsight, Euphoria was a decent attempt, but the polite word for it would be ‘patchy.’ We made a pop record with X. We recorded some of it in ABBA’s studio, dancing around to ‘Waterloo,’ and maybe that rubbed off. Songs From the Sparkle Lounge had some great stuff, like ‘Love.’” He cited the Def Leppard track “Man Enough” as a crowning moment from the record, adding that it "sounded like ‘Another One Bites the Dust,’ but so what? We’ve always sounded like Queen!"

Def Leppard release their new album, Diamond Star Halos, tomorrow and start their delayed Stadium Tour with Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett in June.

Top 25 New Wave of British Heavy Metal Albums

It’s no exaggeration to say that the New Wave of British Heavy Metal saved metal from itself.