Phil Collen Wanted to Quit Def Leppard After Steve Clark’s Death
Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen admits he seriously questioned whether he wanted to continue with the band following the death of bandmate Steve Clark in 1991.
Though the group collectively chose to push forward with work on their Adrenalize album, Collen felt uneasy.
“It was a really weird time,” the guitarist tells UCR. “Steve had just died. We’d actually written some of the songs with Steve. So it was kind of a bit weird. You know, I actually remember that at the time, I didn’t really want to carry on doing it.”
Ultimately, it was Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott who convinced Collen to continue with the group.
“Joe actually talked me into it,” Collen explains. “He said, ‘Yeah, but we wrote all of these songs with Steve. It actually means something. It’s going to be an album that’s kind of a tribute to Steve.’ That was it.”
Collen further admits he had “a lot of weird feelings” about the album, even as it became a success upon its release in 1992.
“When it came out, it went straight to number one in the States, but it was during the L.A. riots. So again, it was a fairly dark period. There were a lot of weird things going on. I remember all of that.”
Though Collen describes Adenalize as “the third part of a trilogy” (following Pyromania and Hysteria), he believes the band may have been better served releasing the more experimental Slang in ‘92 instead.
“We really should have done the Slang album directly after Hysteria, in hindsight. Because you can’t really top that,” the guitarist explains. “I think that another album in the style of [that], looking back at it, I don’t want to say that it was a mistake, but if it was now, we would have done something radically different. Slang would have been a great follow-up to Hysteria. And maybe we do Adrenalize after that. But you know, everything had changed then. Nirvana and everything else.”