Alex Kluft: Today marks your 30th anniversary with Def Leppard, what’s that been like for you?
Phil Collen: It's thirty years today apparently, pretty wild actually, it has just absolutely flown. You know I can't remember it being thirty and it has obviously been my whole life up to that point it’s just gone so quick. Very different to what you’d imagine it. It doesn’t seem that long at all.
AK: Is there anything you would change if you could go back 30 years?
PC: No, 'cause I really love where I am right now. So you know I think if I would’ve changed anything, I wouldn’t have gotten to this place. Yeah, all good. Obviously you know a few things happened that you don’t like, like Steve going, and all those kind of negative things you know I don't want us to go through that so I’m in a really good place it’s great.
AK: What got you into playing guitar?
PC: I actually, my cousin who is two years older than me in London used to get all these bootlegs and he'd really get me into some deep music you know just other stuff like he'd had Hendrix bootlegs and a lot of American stuff that he got into I don't know where he heard this stuff but you know I was into it everything and everything you know and anything you know; the Who, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Motown, top Reggae, you name it, and then like really got heavily into the Glam thing, but my cousin got me into Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, and stuff like that. So my first show I ever saw at all was Deep Purple in 1971 I think I was about 14 and I pretty much changed after that I just wanted to play guitar you know I saw Ritchie Blackmore smashing a Strat after that I was like shit that's what I wanted to do.
AK: Are there plans for a new studio album?
PC: Yeah, but I would think an album is such an old fashioned term now these days. No one really buys albums per say, and people they would rather just download they're doing obviously there are people out there who do want to do that but for the most part you know people want to do that and as an artist I've got to say it feels better to just do you know we'd done three new songs on the last album and I think that was the way to go. It's a very corporate kind of mentality when you go well you got to do 12 songs, and as an artist you know you have to fill shit in normally. Back in the days the Beatles, the Stones, certainly David Bowie they would write a song they would write it and record it and then put it out, and I think you get a more purer kind of more genuine kind of art form like that. I think it’s kind of a bit bogus when you go ok we got three songs here, now we're going to make 12 and you fill the rest out. And that was I certainly think kind of cool to be a part of that for the longest time it's kind of cool that you can actually go back and just do songs as you feel them and not because that’s what is demanded of you. So yeah, I like the idea so I've got a feeling we're going to be doing maybe the odd song here and there and
we are going to be doing an album for sure, but you know I’ve got some new stuff on the go right now, and Joe [Elliot] has so it's just a matter of getting it together and I think we're actually going to start while we're on tour, and that’s pretty cool as well.
AK: Are you doing any side projects?
PC: Yeah you know my Manraze band don’t you? I don't know if you know about that me with Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols, and Simon Laffy from my old band Girl it's more alternative. Lyrically it's slightly different, musically it's very different you know the best quote I heard was we sounded like a cross between the Foo Fighters and the Police. We have two albums out, had a track that’s featured in a movie, a documentary movie, and it's almost like a dance track. It's very kind of left field we go kind of in any which way and it's allot of fun.
AK: What did you think of the Rock Of Ages movie?
PC: I loved it, you know I know it got kind of slammed and everything but you know it’s a theatrical musical comedy and I still think they did an amazing job Adam (Shankman) he had done Hairspray he really did a great version of the Broadway play which I saw as well I liked that as well if you are into that and that is your thing that's great I think personally kind of they went to a different demographic and it
didn't quite ignite but actually we got great love from the movie and everyone who was involved with it as well, even the whole Tom Cruise thing the tribute and everything was great they did an amazing job. So I thought it was really cool.
AK: Being an arena rock band for so many years now I saw your house of blues show to kick off the tour what's it like coming back to a smaller venue after playing such big ones for so many years?
PC: Well you know with my other band Manraze we do clubs, we open up, we play tons of places in England like back in the old days really so I'm used to doing that you know 'cause certainly with Manraze and I'm the lead singer with that band as well so I have a totally different approach to it and that was interesting in itself as a real big learning curve for me and I love the fact that I can be 54 years old and still
be humble enough to kind of let in just amazing experiences and actually learn from them, it's actually really cool! So it's kind of nice, it was good Def Leppard kicking the cool on before we had actually done a gig up to that moment when we did House of Blues which we've never played before. So it was really cool then we did it on the red carpet, we were the house band for the red carpet for Rock Of Ages thing again
it kind of gently eased us into playing live again you know so it had only been six months or so since our last gig but um it was really a nice way to come and segue into a tour.
AK: How did this tour with Poison and Lita Ford come together?
PC: Well we've toured with Poison before and we know Lita Ford and I think really the time with all three bands in this movie so we gotta lot, like I said got a lot of love we got and everyone was playing our songs and I kept hearing Poison songs all over the place so it actually really, really made sense that we actually went out with the movie we get along great with Poison I mean I was just out with Rikki Rockett
this morning you know we were out grabbing a coffee and we get on great with them they are really a cool bunch of guys and they have been through a hell of a lot and have come out the other side as well so I totally respect them for that and it's really nice that everyone has grown up and the kids were playing with each other yesterday my three year old daughter and CC DeVille's five year old boy were playing so it is a totally different vibe to watch than what used to happen on tours and stuff it's great love it.
AK: Def Leppard has so many hits are there any songs you thought should have been bigger?
PC: Yeah, of course, always, you never really know how that is going to work out you know at the moment we ruled the whole strip of airwaves from “Pour Some Sugar On Me” women wanted to take their clothes off when they heard that one but yeah we have tons of stuff that it's really cool and means alot to a bunch of people out there and you play it for different reasons and that so I am really happy.
AK: It seems like you have a more female audience at most shows, how long has that been going on?
PC: I think when we decided not to be just like an ordinary rock band you know we didn't want to look like, certainly not like the American bands you know they had mustaches and beards and stuff like that and you got all these English rock bands that are all greasy hair and leather we thought we would rather kind of look like Duran Duran than Motorhead or even Journey or REO Speedwagon because for us it was a no brainer it was like we came up in a different generation, and different influences and that like I said the look and the vibe was more Duran Duran than it was some of these other rock bands so we just did the right thing so I think it was really cool that we didn't kind of bow to peer pressure and kind of just be like everyone else we wanted to do different things we certainly did even with the records that we made so the image just went along with that and not even on purpose it wasn't like we actually went out to promote a certain image it just kind of ended up that way.
AK: Do you have a favorite venue in Chicago or a favorite memory here?
PC: So many actually but I do remember 1999 we played the Rosemont which we are about to play again I don't know what it is called now though but we'd been coming back for years obviously we had such a great night and I know the Y2K, is everything going to go off at midnight and all that stuff that one sticks out like I said there are many memories in Chicago you know even to vacation when I took time off after the tour went out to Fox Lake and all these different great memories from Illinois, Chicago in particular like I said 1999 New Year's Eve show was pretty cool!