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Def Leppard's Phil Collen talks 30th anniversary of 'Hysteria' Special

Phil Collen, lead guitarist of the rock group Def Leppard, chatted with me about the 30th anniversary of "Hysteria." They released a mini documentary entitled "Step Inside: Hysteria at 30."

This past April, Def Leppard performed at the newly-renovated Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. "It was great. We haven't played there for over 20 years. They fixed it all up, and they painted the venue. It was nice," he said.
"The 30-year anniversary of Hysteria, is going crazy. The response on that has been incredible. It was really cool to document everything, especially looking back on it," he said. "I got to play 'Hysteria' last week with Joe Satriani, and it was really cool. That show was a lot of fun," he added.
On his plans for the future, Collen said, "We are going to be busy. We have new Def Leppard material that we are starting to write, which is really exciting. We've got new Delta Deep material as well, and a live Delta Deep album coming out soon."
Equally fun for Collen was performing at the YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts in Bay Shore, New York, with his blues side project, Delta Deep. "That was awesome. The venue was amazing," he said. "There are still so many places to play."
Collen talks digital transformation of the rock music scene
On the impact of technology in the music scene, the Def Leppard lead guitarist said, "I didn't think that vinyl would become more popular in downloads again. It's more popular than CDs, and that's a weird thing. Vinyl is becoming a billion dollar industry. It's a bit strange. I did not expect that. People want something tangible, that they can hold in their hands."
Collen continued, "Technology is wonderful for recording. I can record at home, which is amazing, it is almost like black magic, and it makes a big difference. We used to do our recordings on tape recorders, and we used to do that manually. Now, you can do all of those things on your laptop. Technology makes it a lot easier, in regards to the communication aspect of it."
When asked how he uses technology in his daily routine, he said, "I love the idea that I can record demos on my iPhone. I used to have two tape recorders, where I would record my ideas on to them. Now I do it straight on my phone, and before you know it, the phone demo goes to my laptop and a lot of the time, it becomes the master. You keep the inspiration part, which is really exciting. I am really excited about all of that."
Rock star Phil Collen
Rock star Phil Collen
Helen L. Collen, courtesy of Mad Ink PR
He fondly remembers the late rockers Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) and Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), who passed away tragically. "What a tragedy," Collen said. "That's terrible. I was shocked since Chris Cornell played a festival the same weekend we did, and the next week, he died, so I was a bit shocked, since everything was going great for him. It was more than being depressed. There was more to it than that. Cornell's death came as a surprise to me. I met Chester a few times, actually. That was a shock as well."
On the key to longevity in the music business, he said, "I can't do anything else. I still find music exciting and fun. It's great. I couldn't live without music. For aspiring musicians, you need to play all the time. Sing other people's songs, and sing your own songs. Play electric, play acoustic, play with other people and jam. You need to constantly be doing it. You get better all the time. That's the key to success."
Speaking of success, he defined the word success as "being able to leave his day job and actually work as a musician, even for $50 a week at the time. "That was a massive success for me, since I was able to do what I love, and actually put more time and effort in music," he said.
Phil Collen playing with Delta Deep
Phil Collen playing with Delta Deep
Gary Hahn
Fans and listeners of Def Leppard can check out the documentary on all digital retailers by clicking here.
To learn more about the rock group Def Leppard, check out their official homepage.