DEF LEPPARD guitarist and MANRAZE frontman Phil Collen stopped by Ultimate Classic Rock recently for an extensive two-part interview. Collen also brought along his guitar to deliver a solo acoustic rendition of the title track off DEF LEPPARD's 1987 album "Hysteria". Check out the performance below.
When asked if there are any plans for DEF LEPPARD to release an all-new studio album anytime soon, Collen replied, "No, there's not and I'll tell you why: We actually did three new songs, three studio songs for [the live album] 'Mirrorball', which was great. I really believe in this day and age unless you're going to do an album like [MANRAZE's] 'PunkFunkRootsRock', which we did in less than two weeks; I don't think there's much point in doing an album because it's such a quick turnaround, you have a song and then it's gone. For us to do an album, it'd take at least eight months unless we were doing it on tour. What I think is going to happen — I've already started writing some of the songs — [is that] we release two or three at a time or something like that it's kind of more like an EP or something attached to another project but a full-blown album would just take us away for too long and by the rate everything is going by the time we finish the album and we go, 'Okay, here it is,' there's no more recording industry left. I think you have to be careful with it, we've got some great ideas, I've got this killer song that's totally DEF LEPPARD, it's not totally finished yet but I'm looking forward to getting that on the go as well. I think we'll be doing it in dribs and drabs. I think there will be an album that comes out of something while we've been recording three songs at a time or all at once. That'll be a bit later. I think for the very near future it'd be one or two songs attached to something else."
On the topic of what it about DEF LEPPARD's music that has allowed the band to be so massively popular for 30 years now, Collen said, "I think it was a hybrid and honestly [producer] Mutt Lange has to take a lot of credit for this because he took a really good rock band and said, 'Okay, I'm going to blend it with pop,' and he's famous at that. He'd done it with Shania Twain. I think he took country to the masses because before that it was Patsy Cline, it was Nashville, it didn't really cross over — you hear of Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash, but he broke it over in a big way, and that's what he did with us. Same thing with AC/DC, they were kind of a pub, R&B boogie band, old R&B, I'm talking about like blues and that, and he just broke it into a massive domain and he certainly did that with us. With us, it was a bigger area to play with because we were big fans of QUEEN, but we liked the AC/DC vibe and we grew up on the [SEX] PISTOLS and THE CLASH, so you had this vocal style that didn't sound like STYX, JOURNEY, REO [SPEEDWAGON], where it's all sweet-sounding vocals, we would actually scream their vocals out more like British bands like THE CLASH or the PISTOLS, in tune, so it was the perfect hybrid. So I think that, coupled with (the fact that) we spent so long on getting these songs together, that all the substance went into recording these albums that actually stand up — and then the whole pole-dance anthem ['Pour Some Sugar On Me'], of course, didn't hurt — but it was actually what we put into it that allowed us to last so long."