Ed Power of Independent.ie recently conducted an interview with DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Independent.ie: So, let me get this straight. You're a hard rock guitarist — and a vegetarian. Isn't there a law against that?
Collen: I've felt weird about eating meat since I was a kid. I'm a picture of health at 51. I hardly eat any kind of food. I'm a vegan. You don't need meat to survive. It's a pleasure thing.
Independent.ie: Speaking of forbidden pleasures, you had a reputation for hitting the bottle pretty hard back in DEF LEPPARD's glory days. What convinced you to pack it in?
Collen: I was just getting so, so fucked up. I was having blackouts and I didn't like being completely out of control.
Independent.ie: Whereas your band mate, Steve Clark, kept drinking and passed away at age 31. It was the booze that that did for him in the end, wasn't it?
Collen: Steve carried on and obviously it killed him. It was a very similar thing. The difference was that I thought, "Oh shit, I shouldn't be doing this. It's not for me."
Independent.ie: In the eyes of many, DEF LEPPARD came pretty close to being a real-life SPINAL TAP. Did it seem that way from the inside?
Collen: Yeah, absolutely. You can't escape the SPINAL TAP. There were definitely moments like that. You've got to bear in mind we were kids. Rick Allen [DEF LEPPARD drummer] was 19 when we were doing "Pyromania".
Independent.ie: You've had your differences with your record label recently. It's been reported you were mightily miffed about the marketing of your recent albums.
Collen: You remember the days when Prince wrote "Slave" across his face? For us, it's a control issue. You want to own your own music. Also, you pay a publishing company to protect you — and then everybody's downloading your stuff and they don't do anything about it.
Read the entire interview from Independent.ie.