DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen was recently interviewed by Rick Deyulio of the TK99 radio station. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.
At nearly 58 years old, Collen is a prime example of the "no-excuse" rule when it comes to being active, fit and healthy.
As a rock and roll guitarist in an internationally successful rock band, Collen didn't start out as a health and fitness enthusiast. After years of playing hard, partying hard, and leading a self-described "very unhealthy lifestyle," Phil decided to make a change. In his early thirties Collen decided to quit drinking and partying. His live-saving conversion came just before his DEF LEPPARD bandmate and "terror twin" of the party scene, Steve Clark, died of a prescription drug and alcohol overdose in early 1991. Inspired to lead a healthier lifestyle, the sober Collen no longer needed to "recover" each day from the previous night's debauchery, and instead found himself with numerous free hours in his day. Collen began exercising, running to start, and later taking up the martial art of Muay Thai kick boxing.
"Really, how it came about… When I stopped drinking… I started blacking out from drinking," Collen told TK99. "I'd get so trashed and then black out and not remember anything, and then do stupid things like drive and god knows what. And I woke up one morning and I was, like, 'No, I really can't do this anymore,' so I stopped. And when I finally stopped, I found I had at least two extra hours a day that I wasn't kind of in sleep, hangover kind of… you know, sleeping one off. And I started jogging. Not that I liked jogging, but it felt really good to be doing something physical. And then that just led to other kind of physical things; I got into martial arts and then weight lifting. And what I do now is just a combination of anything and everything. If there's a gym in the hotel, I'll go and work out there. If not, I've got a bench press and a kick-boxing dummy that I carry around on tour. And if not, I just do push-ups and pull-ups behind the stage on this big bar that goes above the drum kit. So there's always something you can do. And I figured that if you don't, if you stop doing that, then your body starts aching, in a nutshell. Especially as we age, if you don't carry on doing something active, your body will start atrophying. So that's really why I do it, because it actually feels really good, and I actually like feeling like I'm in my twenties still. It certainly beats the alternative. And again, stopping drinking, it certainly… it beat the alternative, which is what really happened with Steve; that's the path that I would have been going on. So, yeah, for me, it was a no-brainer, really. All those things are kind of related."
Collen also talked about the importance of staying active as we age, and how we are all designed to have the ability to live an active lifestyle for most if not all of our lives. He said: "It doesn't have to crazy stuff. It can literally just be going for a walk, but doing it consistently, going, 'Okay, I've got this down.' Before you know it, you're finding other things to do. It makes all the difference in the world. It's the difference between being kind of laid up on a couch before you hit 50 or something and being totally normal and not even thinking about it. So, yeah, it's a good thing to do."
Collen's memoir, "Adrenalized: Life. Def Leppard, And Beyond", written with veteran journalist and author Chris Epting, was released on October 27 via Atria Books. It is the first book written by a member of the group that holds claim to being one of only five rock bands with two original studio albums selling over 10 million copies in the U.S.
In the mid-1980s, DEF LEPPARD catapulted to rock 'n' roll superstardom with their blockbuster album "Pyromania" — until tragedy threatened to put a quick end to their rocket ascent. Now, surviving lead guitarist Phil Collen reveals the truth behind the mythology of the band with "Adrenalized: My Life In Def Leppard And Beyond", setting the record straight in a rags-to-riches story populated with biggest names in music history. A voyeuristic peek into the inner-sanctum of rock stardom, "Adrenalized" is more than the usual cautionary tale; Phil Collen — an unlikely rock star from the start — offers an inspirational portrait of self-discipline and human resilience.