For nearly three decades, guitarist Phil Collen has been one of the guiding creative forces behind “light alloy” rockers Def Leppard. The one time NWOBHM band took a decidedly more mainstream path to success with producer Mutt Lange on board, and Collen joining the ranks. Some 10 albums or so later, it is now Collen’s guitar work that is a large part of the Leppard signature.
While Collen completely embraces his marriage to Def Leppard, he began to seek some outside release for some of his more organic and primitive sonic leanings. Five years ago Collen began writing music with former Girl bandmate, bassist Simon Laffy. Famed Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook took the duo to a trio and Man Raze was born. A Surreal combination and an apt title for their 2008 debut album.
This summer, the trio have released their follow up, PunkFunkRootsRock, which finds the band solidifying their sonic signature, while playing with a more diverse range of sounds than before.
While Phil and the rest of the Sheffield lads are roaming the U.S. on their current MirrorBall Tour, the unsung guitar icon took time to bring Metaholic up-to-date on all things Collen. We talked about the new Man Raze album, and the liberation he gets from fronting the trio. We also talked about his physical culturist lifestyle of Veganism and committed exercise. Collen also talked about his “Lullabies” album with fellow Leppard guitarist, Vivian Campbell, watching Tom Cruise sing “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, and his own place among the guitar greats of his era.