Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen chats about the band's most recent album, Slang, after a show in Brussels.
Sonic Moderator Hey, are you ready to rock? Phil is!
It's Okie Do you have any fears about you choice of career?
Phil Collen I wouldn't advise it to anyone. We are fortunate, but I wouldn't suggest it.
Dwayne Wayne How many copies of Slang have been sold in the U.S.? Do you plan on releasing any more singles to promote sales?
Phil Collen I am not sure about sales -- I don't think we are gold yet. We will put out more singles if there is a demand for them.
Dwayne Wayne Do you plan on touring again in the U.S.? If so, when?
Phil Collen We always tour by demand. We will tour year-round if there is a demand. As for now we have finished playing the states, unless something happens with the single.
HighnDry What was your most memorable show in the U.S.?
Phil Collen On this tour, Detroit was pretty memorable. And it's always memorable when I get to play at home (the Irvine show in California).
davytee65 Which of your albums do you think includes your best playing?
Phil Collen My favorite solo is "White Lightning" off Adrenalized. I like the new album, and Pyromania.
Ten4Fighting Is [guitarist/vocalist] Vivian Campbell an official member of the band now?
Phil Collen He always has been a member. We thought about asking him to join a year or so before he did. He is definitely a permanent member.
Dwayne Wayne Has the addition of Vivian improved the band?
Phil Collen I think we sound better now than we have in the past. His vocals have added a lot. He plays different than Steve and I, but it's very complementary.
lil angel01 Def Leppard was the band that got me into music. How does it feel to have such a major influence on the lives of your fans?
Phil Collen I think it's fantastic. We never take that for granted. It's a real honor when people say stuff like that.
Famus Slang is clearly different from your other albums. Why the change to a more '90s sound?
Phil Collen We got bored of sounding the same -- we needed a change.
davytee65 How does the new album differ from your earlier efforts?
Phil Collen Most of the playing was live -- we didn't use a studio, we used a house. It was a fun vibe. Rick Allen was playing a real drum kit.
Dwayne Wayne How did you come up with a great-sounding dance/rock song like "Slang"?
Phil Collen We wanted it to sound like a cross between the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Janet Jackson, but it really came alive when we involved Bobby Brooks and Brad Buxer, who worked with Michael Jackson. We played some Latin percussion. It was a combination of things, really.
BENJI5 What's your favorite song on Slang?
Phil Collen It changes every week. I like "Breathe a Sigh" at the moment -- we just started to do it live and it's going to be the next single.
davytee65 Which, if any, of the newer rock bands do you listen to?
Phil Collen Our opening acts -- Tripping Daisy, Terrorvision, STP -- are pretty neat.
Lepprdette Was it strange to hear Tripping Daisy play "Wasted" in concert?
Phil Collen Actually no -- they do a better version than we do. It took on a different image.
GaBoy8 It's hard to keep up with all your import CDs. How do you decide which singles to release in the U.S. and which ones to release overseas? Why wouldn't you release the same single in all parts of the world at the same time?
Phil Collen Usually the local record company will tell us its preference. We have singles that are top-10 hits in one country and unheard of in another.
lil angel01 Do you feel that your record company has promoted the new CD as well as they could have?
Phil Collen I don't really know -- it's a hard call. The radio stations have to play it. It's a funny time right now for rock bands.
davytee65 Why haven't we seen any of your new videos on MTV? Do you guys still make videos?
Phil Collen Yeah, and they cost a fortune. Call MTV and ask them, because we have no idea!
It's Okie When you come up with new melodies, do you write them down or just keep them in your head as you work on them?
Phil Collen The good ones you remember. I usually put them down on a Dictaphone or a cassette deck.
KREOSOTE Have you ever wished you could get away from the rock & roll stardom?
Phil Collen I get away from it every time I go home. It's only like that [the stardom] on tour.
MOUI How many band members are hearing-impaired by now?
Phil Collen Could you say that again please? No, none of us are, we take fairly good care of ourselves. We don't use volume as a manhood thing.
Dwayne Wayne In the song "Breathe a Sigh," what kind of guitar are you playing in the intro? And are you using a drum machine, or is that Rick playing?
Phil Collen It's a 1954 Gibson 175. There is a drum machine, with real drums as well.
GaBoy8 I've heard that "Blood Runs Cold," from the new album, and "White Lightning" were written with [the late Def Leppard guitarist] Steve Clark in mind. Does his memory inspire you and the band?
Phil Collen Yes it does. I think those two songs were about the frustration of Steve's situation. His music still inspires us in a positive way.
lil angel01 Where do you see Def Leppard in the year 2000? Still touring?
Phil Collen Probably releasing a box set. And we will still be touring.
lil angel01 Is your attitude as a band any different than it was in the '80s?
Phil Collen We are a lot more experienced, musically and otherwise. I think it's great that we can still like each other and enjoy each others' company.
leppardite What was the inspiration for the song "Gift of Flesh," on the new album?
Phil Collen How negative people are toward the environment -- much like "Sympathy for the Devil." It's about how we take everything for granted.
davytee65 Does it bother you guys that your sales in the U.S. aren't what they were when Hysteria was on the charts?
Phil Collen Oh yeah, but you can't expect every album to do 16 million. We are still proud of Slang -- it's our best.
leppardite What's the craziest thing a fan has done to meet you guys?
Phil Collen A girl once climbed up to a 9th-floor balcony, to our bass player's window.
Lepfan How many guitars do you have in your collection, and which is your favorite?
Phil Collen I think I have about 150. Favorites are a Jackson PC and the Gibson 175.
KARMAAMRAK Does Joe Elliott have a singer's ego?
Phil Collen No, he is very down-to-earth, the most impressive fan you will ever meet! Sometimes he seems like a kid.
leppardite If you could be remembered for only one song, which one would you pick?
Phil Collen I don't know -- probably "Pour Some Sugar on Me."
RockBrigade If the band were to make an album of cover songs, what would you want to record?
Phil Collen "Moonage Daydream" by David Bowie. And I would like to do a Prince song -- there are so many.
Big gun3 When you first joined the band, how far did you think you would go?
Phil Collen Well, the first album I played on was Pyromania, and I was really surprised that it did what it did. We went from playing for 800 people to 55,000 in a space of nine months.
KARMAAMRAK What is your favorite '80s rock/metal band?
Phil Collen Guns 'n Roses.
Lepfan Do you think your son Rory might follow in your footsteps?
Phil Collen No -- I think he may paint or draw, but the music thing he thinks is pretty noisy.
Phil Collen Thanks for getting in touch -- I hope you like the new album and seeing us live!