DEF LEPPARD Guitarist COLLEN On European Tour Kick-Off: 'We Were Smoking'

DEF LEPPARD's official web site, DefLeppard.com, has been updated with the following article:

It's one down for DEF LEPPARD — and a lot more rock to go.

The summer tour in support of the band's new hit album, "Yeah!", officially kicked off on Saturday night in Milan, Italy, when the band hit the stage as one of the headliners of the Gods of Metal festival.

And according to guitarist and vocalist Phil Collen, it was more than rewarding to be playing live, loud DEF LEPPARD rock n' roll again — especially the songs on "Yeah!", the band's long-awaited album of cover songs by the glam-rock heroes of their youth.
"It was great," Collen said. "It's a little different. We haven't really played Europe properly for a while. We've kind of been away for a long time, so this is kind of a reintroduction for us with the European festivals.

"We were smoking, I thought, and it was really warm and it was really nice to be out there."

This is only the beginning of a long, fun summer for DEF LEPPARD.

They'll play three more festivals — Rock the Nation in Oberhausen, Germany, on June 7, Sweden Rock in Solvesborg, Sweden, on June 9, and Arrow Rock in Lichtenvoorde, the Netherlands, on June 10 — before playing shows in Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Then they'll hit the United States for a three-month co-headlining run with JOURNEY.

"What's really nice about this is that back in the day, I always remember playing Europe in the winter," Collen said. "It was always kind of a bit dismal. We'd be driving there and it'd be pissing with rain. Just England in general, it's just raining all the time anyway, usually.

"But the weekend was glorious in Italy. It was beautiful. We're doing these outdoor shows and it's baking. It's a really great way to start off this tour, I've gotta say."

During the remainder of the tour, DEF LEPPARD will be promoting "Yeah!", which is packed with fresh takes on gems from the KINKS, BADFINGER, Marc Bolan and T.REX, DAVID BOWIE, SWEET, ROXY MUSIC, MOTT THE HOOPLE, FREE, THE FACES, BLONDIE and THIN LIZZY.

As Collen says, each song is infused with a healthy helping of the band's signature sound, which makes the new live show a potent mixture of DEF LEPPARD's greatest hits and a tribute to the groups that inspired them to become musicians in the first place.

"A lot of these songs sound like they could be us, which is different from a lot of cover albums," Collen said. "I think people do cover albums because the label wants them to or the angle is, 'We want to have a hit. Are we going to record another hit?'

"We didn't really do that. We've got a lot of these songs that are deep cuts, if you like. Some people don't know what they are. To be quite honest, we did this album for ourselves. It was actually quite a selfish thing.

"It wasn't because our fans wanted to, it wasn't because we wanted to show our fans where we come from, it wasn't because we wanted to please the record company. It was like, 'No. This is for us,' and that's the reason why. By doing that, there was no real pressure on it. It was actually a very fun album."

And what can DEF LEPPARD fans expect from the rest of the tour?

"We've taken it up a notch," Collen said. "It's not like we're going to be running around in tutus or anything. We're just upping it, making it more exciting."

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