DEF LEPPARD Guitarist PHIL COLLEN: 'Records Are Less Important Now'

Joe Matera of Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: The band's most recent studio outing, "Songs From The Sparkle Lounge" features a mixture of both old and new sounding DEF LEPPARD that is underscored by a raw and reinvigorated energy…

Phil Collen: Well, we started the album while we were on tour so it didn't have the usual "take six months off, try and get re-establish in the studio and forget what you're doing" thing happening. When you're on tour, you're playing every day and so there is a bit more aggression there and you also tend to play a little bit differently and sing differently too. But when you're off tour, you really do forget that you actually get into a different mode and are a bit more comfortable. So that was the main thing and reason why there is a bit more of a spark to it than the other studio stuff we've done previously.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: The band has never been afraid to tip its toes in other genres, for example, "Nine Lives" comes close to treading into country rock terrain. And I remember reading an interview with Joe Elliott once where he stated that he hated DEF LEPPARD being labeled a "heavy metal band" as such because he believed a band had to straddle different genres in order to remain successful and sustain a long standing career.

Phil Collen: Yeah, but I don't even think that. I just think it would have been very unnatural for us to have done it that anyway. We're just a rock band and it would be very unnatural for us, for example, to play death metal music. It's not what we're really are about. "Nine Lives" is closer to the STONES and AC/DC than it is to some of the other bands. And for us, that is not a stretch as both of those bands, we were every much influenced by. And again, doing country would have been a bit weird for us to do, but we've done it in a kind of bluesy rock thing really. And that is what "Nine Lives" turned out to be. And again, it is not too much of stretch for us to do that at all.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: When it comes to touring today, how does it compare to touring during the '80s. What do you think are the main differences?

Phil Collen: The main difference is the state of the record industry today. I think on the grand scheme of things, records are less important now. I mean, for an artist you still need to do that, make a record, but from a business point of view you really end up not having an album to promote at all as opposed to having it the other way around. The way it used to be like. It is very hard to get stuff out there on a major level today but on a grassroots level, it's very different as you can get stuff out there on the Internet. And do stuff like that, which is very exciting. And because of that, it creates a lot of artists who are not afraid at doing their own thing, and are not being told what to do by some A&R guy. So they're following their own noses and being very natural about it. And I like that aspect to it. And that is the main differences from when we used to tour before to today. And I think music is very, if not, more important in people's lives than it used to be too.

Read the entire interview from Ultimate-Guitar.com.

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