DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen was recently interviewed by the New Bern, North Carolina radio station 106.5 WSFL. The three-part conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On “Pour Some Sugar On Me”:
Phil: “I wrote the riff. Mutt [Lange, producer] wrote the intro and played it finger-style. I said, ‘Finger-style playing is useless.’ He said, ‘How would you do it?’ So I’d done it with a pick, and he was like, ‘There you go.’ Joe [Elliott, vocals] was sitting in a corridor. We’d finished all the songs [for ‘Hysteria’], and were just finishing the album up. Joe was going [sings], ‘Pour some sugar on me,’ and Mutt goes, ‘What’s that?’ [Joe] goes, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ Within ten days, we’d finished the song, and the record company went crazy because we’d spent all this time, and Mutt said, ‘You know what? I think this is going to be the most important song on the record, so we really need to record this.’ We got the hang of it, then. It was the quickest song on the record. It flew, and it had all the stuff — sexy, it just had all the right ingredients and elements. Mutt said, ‘Let’s make it kind of rap,’ because RUN-D.M.C. and other bands were kind of exploding, and the meter was a rap meter. That’s really where that comes from, which is interesting, because rock bands don’t usually do that. They don’t take something like that that’s supposed to be the opposing genre. God forbid you cross them. That’s what we were really all about, that album in particular — taking different genres and mixing them all up.”
On “Animal”, the group’s first Top 10 hit in their native U.K.:
Phil: “It was actually a big deal, because obviously, we’re from there, and we were totally ignored. I can understand why. The music we do is really based on American music. We sing with an American accent. Mick Jagger sings with an American accent, because he learned from blues singers. That’s what you do. It was an American art form. We loved that. Even THE BEATLES, everything was based on American music, so I can totally get that why in England they weren’t really getting it, because it sounded very much like an American band and they thought we’d sold out.”
On continuing to release new music:
Phil: “It’s one of the most important things. It would really suck if you were in a band and you didn’t try and write songs. That’s the whole point of being in a band, I thought — not just playing live and being a novelty act. You want to get out there and create. Creating stuff is the most exciting part of the whole thing. We’ll constantly be doing that – new blood, and just getting ideas. We’re always trying to write the perfect song.”
On whether the group will share the stage with JOURNEY during the groups’ upcoming tour together:
Phil: “We’ve played with JOURNEY before. I’ve jammed with them before; I’ve been on stage with them. They’re an amazing band. I’m a huge fan. It’s going to be awesome. One of the great things, we were actually sitting in a dressing room in Saratoga Springs, New York with JOURNEY. This was, like, 2006, and Jonathan Cain said, ‘I wrote ‘Faithfully’ on that piano.’ There was a piano that happened to be there. Most of the guys out of DEF LEPPARD and most of the guys out of JOURNEY, we all sat around this piano and we all just started singing together. I wish someone would have recorded it, because it was amazing. So yeah, I don’t see why not.”
On finally making the group’s catalog available digitally:
Phil: “We were waiting for the right deal. The time wasn’t right for us, and the offers weren’t right for us, and we didn’t want to just, like, throw [away] all of that hard work that we put out. The right deal came along, finally, so we’re good to go. I’ve always loved streaming — I thought it was a great medium. I thought it was, like, magic — you can just turn your phone on and listen to it whenever you want and wherever you want, mostly, if you’ve got a good signal. I listen to music via streaming all the time. [It’s a] godsend to me — I work out, have my phone on; I plug it into stuff, speakers and whatever. It’s great. I absolutely think new audiences will get turned on by it. It’s really exciting for us to go digital, because there’s a whole brand new audience out there that really hasn’t had access to us, and they’ll finally get it.”
DEF LEPPARD and JOURNEY‘s American tour will mark the first time the groups have performed together since 2006. The North American trek will be composed of both stadium and arena concerts, with half of the shows being closed by JOURNEY and half by DEF LEPPARD. The tour, promoted by Live Nation, kicks off May 21 in Hartford, Connecticut, at the XL Center and will feature complete sets and all-new production from both bands. The 58-city tour will hit ten stadiums — Toronto’s Rogers Centre; Atlanta’s Sun Trust Park; Detroit’s Comerica Park; Chicago’s Wrigley Field; Denver’s Coors Field; Minneapolis’s Target Field; Boston’s Fenway Park; St. Louis’s Busch Stadium; San Francisco’s AT&T Park; and San Diego’s Petco Park — as well as world-famous arenas, such as Madison Square Garden in New York and the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, California.