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Phil Collen unDEFeated

Issue #3

Collen isn’t just a great guitarist – in common with the rest of the band he has serious vocal skills
Stuart Bull

With Def Leppard in the middle of a US tour, GI's Stuart Bull caught up with Phil Collen to find out a little more about one of Rock's survivors.

Def Leppard’s first ever live album, Mirrorball, is currently roaring away and with live dates in Ireland, the UK, the USA and Japan, the band is back with a bang in 2011. International tours take months of planning and GI’s Stuart Bull caught-up with Def Leppard’s highly regarded Phil Collen for our interview, just as the tour – which continues until November 2011 - and the final album details were taking shape.

Collen isn’t just a great guitarist – in common with the rest of the band he has serious vocal skills, too – one of the features that sets Def Leppard apart from run of the mill Metal outfits. But it’s as a guitarist that Phil Collen made his mark – first with bands like Girl, then stepping into the troubled Def Leppard, as Pete Willis departed. The band’s rocky career continued, with the untimely death of fellow Leppard guitarist, Steve Clark, in 1991, but with Vivian Campbell on board and Collen seriously cleaning-up his act, the band has gone on to greater and greater strengths since those days, culminating in the current album and tour.

Collen’s a hardcore Jackson user, with as impressive a collection of pointy headstock guitars as you could hope to find – including a signature model of his own – the PC1, which he discusses with Stuart Bull in our video interview. His collection isn’t quite all Brand J, though, as it also includes an Ibanez Destroyer, a late 1970’s Telecaster and an SG – but Jackson seems to be his first love. Stage amps with Def Leppard are Marshall all the way (with some help from an ancient Randall power amp), though Collen has also been spotted using Fender Cyber Twin combos on clinics and smaller gigs.

As if Def Leppard duties weren’t enough to keep one man busy, super-fit Collen has another band too – the three-piece Man Raze, which has a new album due this summer.

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Issue #75

Peter Green / Ivar Bjørnson

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