Colleen

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Early years

Phillip Kenneth Collen was born in Hackney, London, England. Collen got his first guitar on his 16th birthday, a red Gibson SG, and taught himself how to play. He then joined a line-up of early bands including Lucy, Tush, Dumb Blondes.

He left school to work in a factory as a motorcycle dispatch rider until his band Girl got their first record contract. During his tenure with Girl, Collen’s career began rising, spurred by the relative success of the albums Sheer Greed and Wasted Youth, which allowed Collen the opportunity to play at more significant venues.

A young Phil Collen can also be seen on the back cover of Deep Purple’s live album Made in Japan as the live photo was actually taken at the Rainbow theatre in London, a concert Collen attended, and not in Japan.

In a recent interview, Collen revealed that he was approached by Steve Harris to join Iron Maiden replacing guitarist Dennis Stratton.

Side projects

Collen performing in 2018.

Collen has been involved in several side projects over his career, most notably the band Man Raze, formed as a joint collaboration with former Girl bandmate Simon Laffy as bassist and drummer Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols.

In 1990, Collen co-produced the On the Edge album of the Australian band BB Steal.

In 1991, Collen offered a song he had written, «Miss You In A Heartbeat» to the band The Law, which was featured on the band’s self-titled album. This album was the band’s only release. «Miss You In A Heartbeat» was later recorded and released by Def Leppard.

In 1993, Collen executive produced the album Sublime To The Ridiculous for the band, Sheer Greed, composed of former members of Girl, an act Collen was also associated earlier in his career.

Collen has also worked in side projects with Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott. One of these recent projects was a tribute to David Bowie and Mick Ronson. He and Elliott also joined with Trevor Bolder and Mick »Woody» Woodmansey from Spiders from Mars and keyboardist Dick Decent to form the band Cybernauts. In 2001 they released a live album of Bowie songs.

In 1996, Collen performed as a featured guitarist on the Jeffology: A Guitar Chronicle album — a tribute album to Jeff Beck. Collen performed on the single, «‘Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers» from the album.

In 2010, Collen recorded the song «Hard Times Celebrate» with rapper Bazaar Royale, featured on the album «The Ride.»

Phil Collen formed a blues project by the name of Delta Deep with vocalist Debbi Blackwell Cook of the 80’s group The Jammers, which released an eponymous debut in 2015.

In 2017, Collen was featured on three tracks of the reunited The Professionals album «What In The World.»

Collen joined Joe Satriani and John Petrucci on the 2018 edition of the G3 Tour in the United States.

Def Leppard

Before Collen’s entrance into Def Leppard on 12 July 1982 during the recording of Pyromania, he had previously been asked to consider joining the band during the 1981 tour for High ’n’ Dry by Joe Elliott and Steve Clark, whom he knew at the time. Despite this invitation, there was no need to replace Pete Willis yet and as a result, Collen stayed as a member of Girl for the time being.

Recruitment and friendship with Steve Clark

After Willis was fired due to alcohol problems, Joe Elliott called and asked Collen to audition. He was asked to perform solos on the songs «Stagefright» and «Photograph» during the recording sessions of Pyromania.Mutt Lange, the band’s producer, said to Phil “just have fun on it, play some solos on it.” Photograph, Rock of Ages, Foolin, Stagefright, Rock till you Drop were all songs that he played solos on. His solo on Stagefright was the first take of anything on the album He and fellow guitarist Clark quickly bonded, becoming close friends and leading to the trademark dual-guitar sound of Def Leppard. Collen and Clark became known as the «Terror Twins,» in recognition of their talents. By this time, Collen had also become noted for his trademark bare-chested stage appearances.

Changes in lifestyle, death of Clark and Adrenalize sessions

During the 1980s, Collen quit drinking alcohol, which he had developed into a serious addiction, stopped eating meat, and adopted a generally healthy lifestyle. According to Collen, he began suffering from blackouts due to alcohol and quit when he realized that he was losing control of his addiction, which was starting to dominate his life. In contrast, Clark did not follow such standards and died due to alcohol abuse in early 1991.

After Clark died, Collen was faced with the challenge of not only dealing with the loss of a friend and bandmate, but also with the burden and responsibility of the «Adrenalize» recordings. The music had already been written, but Clark’s playing style differed so much from Collen’s that recording Clark’s parts proved very difficult. While Clark’s playing style was rhythmic, melodic, and sometimes even characterized as «sloppy,» Collen’s style was technical and precise, leading to difficulties in mimicking the sound of Clark’s playing style. Due to the aftermath of Clark’s death, as well as the issues with the recording of «Adrenalize», Collen seriously considered leaving Def Leppard. According to Joe Elliott, Collen didn’t want to continue in the band anymore with Steve not being there. He said, «I’d rather be a plumber.»

Clark would ultimately be replaced as the band’s co-lead guitarist by Vivian Campbell, formerly of Dio and Whitesnake, shortly before the Adrenalize tour. This relieved Collen of some of the pressures of the «overkill» production style of Def Leppard, as well as the challenge of reproducing Clark’s guitar parts for live shows.

Personal life

Collen has lived in the US for 25 years, and currently resides in Orange County, Southern California. He commented, «I’m almost a California native now.» He has five children; Rory (born 1990), Samantha (born 2004), Savannah (born 2009), Charlotte (born 2014), Jaxson (born 2018). He was married to Jacqueline Collen-Tarolly (1989) and Anita Thomas-Collen (1999). He married actress costume designer Helen L. Simmons in 2010.

Collen is a vegan and has been a vegetarian for 35 years. Collen is also colorblind.

Collen has been training extensively in martial arts for over twenty years. He began his martial arts training in Kempo Karate, earning a black belt. He also has studied kickboxing with Benny Urquidez, and Muay Thai with Jean Carillo. He currently works out off and on tour with Eric the Trainer.

Саундтреки

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