Phil Collen

Nom Phil Collen
Date de naissance 08 Décembre 1957
Pays Royaume-Uni
Ville Londres

Collen was born in Hackney, East London, England.. At the age of 16, Phil got his first guitar (a red Gibson SG), taught himself how to play, and left school to pursue a career in music. He then joined a line-up of early bands including Lucy, Tush, Dumb Blondes, and Girl. Lucy's lineup of Phil (black Les Paul), Paul Mewse (vocals), Peter Ferris (bass) and Len Foster (drums) supported Supercharge at the Marquee Club in Wardour St in 1976. The second incarnation of Lucy featured Phil and Paul and followed the incoming punk boom with a single being released (see YouTube).

Def Leppard

Collen had already known Joe Elliott and Steve Clark since 1981 from the London music scene and had been asked to consider joining then. However, there was no need to replace Pete Willis at the time.

But when Willis was dismissed from Def Leppard, Collen wasn't formally asked to join the band. Elliott evaluated Collen's ability to play the guitar after he handed out a demo recording of "Photograph" during the band's Pyromania sessions, in hopes of performing a solo that fit in with the bands' style of music. Soon after, Collen officially joined, and his ability on the guitar impressed producer Mutt Lange and the rest of the band. He quickly bonded with fellow guitarist Steve Clark, with whom he created Def Leppard's trademark dual-guitar sound. He and Steve were even known as "The Terror Twins". Over the years, Collen quit drinking, stopped eating meat, and adopted a healthy lifestyle (He became a vegetarian); Clark however did not follow such a healthy way of life and, like so many rock heroes, ended up losing his life to alcohol and prescription drugs in early 1991.

After Clark's death in 1991, Collen faced the challenge of not only dealing with the loss of a friend he had bonded with for so many years, but also with the burden and responsibility of the Adrenalize recordings. The music had been written by this time, but Clark's playing style differed so much from Collen's that actually recording all of his parts proved very difficult. (Clark's playing style was rhythmic, melodic, and sometimes even characterized as "sloppy," whereas Collen's style was technical and precise.) During this time, it is rumored that Phil actually considered leaving Def Leppard. However, Vivian Campbell joined the band to replace the spot of second guitarist shortly before the Adrenalize tour, relieving Collen of the pressure of Def Leppard's "overkill" production style as well as the challenge of reproducing Clark's guitar parts for live shows.


In 1989, Collen teamed up with Grover Jackson of Jackson Guitars to develop an ergonomically correct electric guitar called the PC Archtop. Phil had been using various custom Jackson Soloists over the previous 3 years. He has since designed three more Jackson electric guitar models (PC 1, 2 & 3). The PC1 is currently produced and sold through Jackson. Phil was also endorsing Ibanez Destroyer guitars since the early 1980s, which he still uses.

Phil uses steel guitar picks made by Dunlop. He plays GHS 13-52 strings tuned to E'flat.

In November 1992 he was quoted in Guitar School as using the following equipment:

Guitars: Jackson/Charvel custom

Pickups: DiMarzio Super 3 (bridge), HS-3 (middle), Sustainiac (neck)

Amplification: Randall RRM2-200

Cabinets: Randall custom 4 X 12s/Celestion Vintage 30s

Effects: Digitech GSP 21s, Rockman XPR, TC Electronic 1128 EQ, Scholz stereo choruses, BBE 442 Sonic Maximizers, Rane MPE 28, Palmer Speaker Simulator

More recently his live rig with Def Leppard is generally various Jackson PC1 models fitted with a Jackson sustainer/driver in the neck position and several Fender acoustic guitars via wireless through Marshall JMP 1 preamps, TC Electronic 2290, 1210 and G-Force effect processors. The signal is then sent through some old Hysteria-era Randall Power Amps. Finally the signal is fed into the PA and 4x12 cabs for Phil's own stage monitoring.

With Man-Raze Phil has used Line 6 Variax guitars for a couple of their gigs and several Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters for their showcase gig featured on YouTube.

Side Projects

Phil Collen live in 2007

In 1990, Phil co-produced the "On the Edge" album of the Australian band BB Steal This same year, Collen performed by invitation on Donny Osmond's "Eyes Don't Lie" album and single (subsequently released with Osmond's "Best Of..." album in 1994.) Def Leppard management determined that it was not in the best interest of the band for Collen's name to be associated with "a Donny Osmond release,' and Collen's contribution was credited under the name Rory James Collen - Phil Collen's son's name. (In a later statement, Osmond commented that he understood the band managements' decision, and held no ill will toward them or Collen.)

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. Collen also made a guest appearance with the band on the song "Everybody Wants". This album was released only in Japan.

Collen has worked in numerous side projects, some of them together with Joe Elliott. One of his recent side projects was a tribute to David Bowie and Mick Ronson. He and Elliott also got together with the Trevor Bolder and Mick "Woody" Woodmansey from Spiders from Mars and keyboardist Dick Decent to form Cybernauts. In 2001 they released a great live album of classic Bowie hits. In addition, Collen has also appeared on a number of other music projects.

In 1996, Collen performed as a featured guitarist on the "Jeffology: A Guitar Chronicle" album - a tribute album to guitarist Jeff Beck. Collen performed on the single, "'Cause We've Ended As Lovers" from the album.

Personal life

Collen currently resides in Southern California. He has one son with his first wife, Jacqueline. The couple divorced in 1995. He married his second wife, Anita Thomas, on December 15, 1999.

Albums produits