Jeb Wright of Classic Rock Revisted recently conducted an interview with DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Classic Rock Revisted: DEF LEPPARD is well known for their live shows. You have a sustained energy on stage. How do you all keep from falling into the trap of just going through the motions?
Phil: "This tour features songs that are very demanding. If you don’t do the songs in the spirit that they were recorded then it would really suck. We have a bit of a new lease on life. We have been trying for many years to have success. Most of our big success was in the 8o’s and early '90s. We are very genuine about our beliefs in this band. When we see our beliefs condoned by the audience then I think you go that extra mile and give it all you’ve got. I am doing something that I dreamed about doing when I was a kid. To be 48 years old and still doing it is just fucking great."
Classic Rock Revisted: What is the biggest difference between this tour and past tours?
Phil: "The biggest difference is the amount of younger people coming to the shows. We are also not apologizing for who we are. There was this big stigma about '80s bands — and quite rightly as there were some awful bands who came after DEF LEPPARD. They kind of changed things and a lot of people thought that the music of the era sucked. We have stayed true to what we do and now it has come full circle. Now, you have 16-year-old kids coming to the show and seeing that our songs are actually really good. There is no longer that '80s stigma attached to it. We play our big hits but we play new songs as well. If you keep putting records out then it means that you are still trying and there is a certain integrity to that."
Classic Rock Revisted: DEF LEPPARD has had a history of inner band turmoil. Is that a problem now or is that something that is in the past?
Phil: "The testosterone in the band just got boosted with the recent hit and there is now a certain type of swagger — a cock strut — within the group. We want everyone to hear our new stuff and we are telling everyone to listen to it and check us out. After a while, it wears you down. The minute people start telling you how great it is, you start strutting your stuff but it is all good. In fact, it is really exciting."
Classic Rock Revisted: The new album is all cover songs. What about new material?
Phil: "We have about eight songs on the go but we have two that are demoed. We are trying the new songs out backstage. We have this thing we call The Sparkle Lounge, which is three little tiny Fender amps and a little bass amp. Rick Allen has this tiny little Roland drum kit. You can fit this stuff in the back of a trailer. We are doing some pre-production and we think we will have at least five or six songs totally produced and ready to go by the time we come off the road. We are going to start recording in January."
Classic Rock Revisted: Can you give us a hint at the sound of the new material?
Phil: "It is very rock. In fact, it is more rock than it has been in a few years. What we have tried to do in the recent past is to make great songs and in doing that we kind of left the edge off and let things get rounded off a little bit. We want the next album to have a rough edge. I think the new album will be a lot more raw."
Read the entire interview at ClassicRockRevisited.com.