Thursday, May 28, 2015

News on Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen

Atria Books has acquired North American and audio rights to a memoir by Phil Collen, lead guitarist for rock band Def Leppard for more than 30 years.

Adrenalized: Life, Def Leppard, and Beyond, written with veteran journalist and author Chris Epting and scheduled for publication on October 27, is the first book written by a member of the group that holds claim to being one of only five rock bands with two original studio albums selling over 10 million copies in the U.S.

Featuring personal, never-before-seen photos of Collen and his band mates on stage and off, Adrenalized is a fascinating account of the failures, triumphs, challenges, and rock-hard dedication it takes to make dreams come true.

"It's fascinating for even me to look back at my life from working in a factory at 16 years old to eventually traveling the world selling over one hundred million records and all the experiences that come with that journey,” Collen says.

“I realize that there is a constant evolution of 'me' that is still a work in progress even as I continue to be vital and dynamic in my same occupation for the past 35 years well into my late fifties."

In related news, Collen has a new blues based music project, Delta Deep, due this summer. He recorded the mix of original and hand-picked cover tracks with fellow bandmates Debbi Blackwell-Cook (back-up vocalist for such artists as Michael Buble & Luther Vandross), Forrest Robinson (drummer for India.Arie, Joe Sample & The Crusaders, TLC), and Robert DeLeo (bassist for Stone Temple Pilots).

Their self-titled debut album will be released on June 23 via Mailboat Records and also features special guest appearances by Def Leppard vocalists Joe Elliott, Whitesnake’s David Coverdale, Sex Pistols/Manraze drummer Paul Cook, and Girl/Manraze bassist Simon Laffy.

Collen initially started the project in 2012 after jamming at home over the course of a year with friend and relative, Debbi Blackwell-Cook (Blackwell-Cook is the Godmother of Collen’s wife, Helen).

What started as a casual pairing singing Motown and classic blues staples while Debbi frequently visited Collen’s home quickly turned into much more. Collen, Helen, and Debbi began writing original music which Collen and Debbi recorded in Collen’s home studio.

Later that year, a chance meeting re-acquainted Collen with Memphis native and enigmatic heavy metal, jazz, & r-n-b drummer Forrest Robinson. A friend suggested giving STP bassist Robert DeLeo a call. Sharing a loving affinity for soul, funk and the blues, DeLeo was the perfect fit.

According to Collen, “We really wanted Robert in this band. He had the added firepower of being the premiere pioneer and most ‘badassed bass player’ to come out of the alternative rock explosion.”

Original song and lead off single “Bang The Lid introduces the musical synchronicity of Collen, Blackwell-Cook, DeLeo, & Robinson. Blackwell-Cook also duets with Collen on the album tracks as well as with featured vocalists Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott ("Mistreated") and Whitesnake’s David Coverdale ("Private Number").

Legendary Sex Pistol’s punk drummer Cook and Collen’s former bandmate from Girl, Laffy, guest on "Black Coffee."

When asked what made him decide to do a blues project, Collen responded, "Blues was created out of something completely different from what we hear today. I grew up listening to rock music but then I found out it was all based on blues. Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Jimi Hendrix, all of those guys….they got it from the blues. When I hear Debbi sing, I can hear the pain. She’s an incredibly beautiful 62 year old black woman who has been through things and she can sing through her pain. Not everyone can do that and not everyone sounds like Debbi.”

Meanwhile, Def Leppard will be touring this summer with Styx and Tesla. The 48-date outing will kick off in Tampa, Fla., on June 23 and will wrap in Jacksonville., on Oct. 17.

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