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Def Leppard: Metal Chords and Poppy Hooks

As glam gave away to hard rock concerns, Phil Collen was touring with Girl, an ensemble founded in England during the late ’70s. By 1983, though, he was a member of one of the most successful rock acts in the world.

“I think having massive success does seem like ...”

Collen, Def Leppard’s guitarist, begins, then trails off, seemingly to assess the past 34 years of recording and international tours, occasional excess and a clear devotion to his instrument, whether voicing rock, metal or blues.

“It’s interesting; you want to grow as an artist and bring in different kinds of music,” he picks back up again. “As you travel around the world and get more experience, you get more open. Unfortunately, you can’t do exactly what you want, unless you’re someone like Prince.”

After success with 1983’s “Pyromania” and its follow-up, the 1987 “Hysteria,” it’s understandable that Collen and company didn’t want to sully the brand recognition that Def Leppard had built up in a relatively short amount of time. It’s perhaps how the ensemble’s still able to hit venues like John Paul Jones Arena so long after Def Leppard’s earliest days.

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