May 2023 will see Rock and Classical royalty unite on a brand-new euphoric album titled “Drastic Symphonies” - Def Leppard’s greatest produced tracks dramatically reimagined and sounding larger and more exhilarating than ever before, teamed with London’s iconic The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Album Pre-Order link: https://DefLeppard.lnk.to/ds-physicalpr
Legendary guitarist Phil Collen, comments on Def Leppard's recent releases as well as their future plans and on the secret of their longlivety as well.
Read below our friendly conversation.
RockOverdose: Hi Phil and welcome to RockOverdose! How are you?
Phil Collen (Deff Lepard): I’m really good! We’re having a little break before we start our european tour, so now we’re promoting our new album and there’s a lot to be done.
RockOverdose: First of all, congratulations for once again trying to look forward with your new release. We would like to know hot long it took you in total to complete it and your feelings after completing the procedure.
Phil Collen (Def Leppard): Well, the whole thing took about a year. We’ve been doing it of course while doing other things e.g we were promoting Diamond Star Halos, our previous album, so this idea came up and yeah we recorded it about a year ago and then get the artwork and all that stuff together, while we were in the States with Motley Crew last summer.
RockOverdose: A cooperation with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is not something that happens every day and very few have this privilege. Why was now the ideal moment for this to happen in your opinion?
Phil Collen (Def Leppard): Someone from the record label asked for this, and we thought about it and decided that it would be great to get involved in it and make it work with the songs. That was really exciting and that was the way it came up, we were asked and it turned out amazing!
RockOverdose: When any new single is going to be released?
Phil Collen (Def Leppard): I’m not sure but as far as I know “Animal” will be out first, for sure.
RockOverdose: That’s great! So… If you ask any band out there, they will tell you they could only think or dream what you have achieved so far. As far as Def Leppard are concerned, what gives you the motive to go on all these years? Which is the secret of your longevity?
Phil Collen (Def Leppard): We work hard! We are not scared of working hard. I mean… lot’s of artists, athletes … it can be anything, you got to work harder than you expect but and then there’s no guarantee that we still have this thing. It’s like a working class attitude that we got from our parents when we were growing up. There are all these amazing things happening like you said, that most bands could have never imagined i.e. Roayl Philharmonic Orchestra … so that’s really inspired us to keep going. I see bands like Rolling Stones i.e. I still can’t believe Mick Jagger is 80 yo and gets out running on stage … That’s something to get inspired to.
RockOverdose: That’s true and I really wish you to continue for many years….How easy or difficult was for you to choose the songs that appear on “Drastic Symphonies”
Phil Collen (Def Leppard): It was really obvious! I mean some songs really didn’t work. Eric Gorfain who did the arrangements first on keyboards to see the sound. “Photograph” didn’t work, “Rock Of Ages”, “ Come and Get Your Love”, “Pour Some Sugar On Me” didn’t work as well… so that’s why we decided to a different version of it. It wasn’t hard and it turned out great.
RockOverdose: Which track do you think is the best of this album?
Phil Collen (Def Leppard): My favorite is “Paper Sun”, because it really worked with the orchestra when I played it live in the studio. It was mind blowing! It’s an epic song with different parts to be incorporated with classic music.
RockOverdose: After the completion of this release, would you say that Def Leppard have completed all their possible dreams, or do you still have other things in mind that could surprise people and even you as individuals?
Phil Collen (Def Leppard): I think that things keep inventing. There are more boxes to tick! It would be great to tour “Drastic Symphonies” around the world with different orchestras, that would be great! That’s a question for someone else to ask if he wanted to do that… There are so many interesting things that keep coming up. Like the stadium tour we did together with Motley Crew, it was great, we know them for many years, it was like being back in school with your friends. New things coming up, new ideas and things we can be involved in!
RockOverdose: Well, what about your thoughts on your latest album “Diamond Star Halos”. I personally believe it is the best product you made in years, and many agree with this opinion. How do you see it personally and how has it grown on you so far?
Phil Collen (Def Leppard): Thank you! I agree with that, I think also is the best album we’ve done after Hysteria which is my favorite. There’s power to it that hadn’t existed for a while… So, it’s just inspiring and I agree with that, just moving forward and if we can do that after so many years that says a lot.
RockOverdose: Of course! So, touring for “Diamond Star Halos” brought you to vast audiences alongside Motley Crew as you already mentioned. How was it to reunite with your old friends, and how do you see the need of people to still follow bands they grew up with?
Phil Collen (Def Leppard): Well, it was great being back with Motley Crew! We had this giant airplane when we played to South America, it was just so much fun! I think we do this ‘cause no more rock bands come up, well ok we have Ghost and other really cool bands out there, but I think it’s up to us to keep it alive! Us and Motley Crew played this kind of music that we really keep it alive, because there’s not really any new band I can mention that are really doing that. So, we feel privileged that we can actually represent something and still do it. That’s why people love it.
RockOverdose: You keep rock’n’roll still alive for so many years!
Phil Collen (Def Leppard): Yes! Definitely!
RockOverdose: Do you believe that today there is any band that in the future will have the same power/impact like you?
Phil Collen (Def Leppard): I hope so! The only one that is doing that is the Foo Fighters! They are a massive rock band! There’re not many more… It’s an interesting thing that seems to be dying. Also in pop, hip hop and maybe some country music acts probably there are like this, but there aren’t many rock bands that can get to the next level. Like I said, it’s up to us to keep that alive.
RockOverdose: Would you like to tell us maybe some confirmed plans for the future?
Phil Collen (Def Leppard): I Well, this year we are still going to tour the Diamonds Star album until the end of the year, that we end up in Japan and Australia. Then we got new music “Drastic Symphonies”, so that would be great to tour as an orchestral tour. Fingers crossed that’s going to keep us busy!
We also have a book coming out, a game and a graphic novel called “Hysteria” as well! There’s a lot things happening for us and we move forward and keep busy for sure.
RockOverdose: So what about your memories from Greece?
Phil Collen (Def Leppard): I love your country! We’ve been there only once, which has been long time ago, and nowdays the journalists usually tell me that it would be great to play somewhere close the Acropolis with an orchestra! That would be amazing!
RockOverdose: Would you like to send a message to the greek audience?
Phil Collen (Def Leppard): Thanks for being patient waiting for us to come and play again. We had a great time playing there last time, so we’re looking forward to it, keep the faith.
RockOverdose: Thank you very much for your time Phil! We really hope we’ll see you in Greece again one day soon!
Phil Collen (Def Leppard): Me too! Thank you! Cheers!
Interview Questions: Angelos Katsouras
Main photo credits Universal Music Group