DEF LEPPARD - Helping Kill The Album, One Band At A Time!

September 5, 2011, 6 years ago

By Martin Popoff

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While discussing the new MANRAZE album with Phil Collen, the guitarist mused o’er plans for the next bunch of new music from DEF LEPPARD.

First asked to respond to rumours that the band was attempting to go in a heavier direction, Collen pretty much scoffed at the idea. “Well, we’ve been saying that for a while. It’s all fine and dandy until you go into the studio and go, ‘Well, perhaps we should change the key and slow down.’ And all of a sudden you’ve lost that momentum, and that kind of amazing first take stuff that we have on the Punkfunkrootsrock (Manraze) album… we did the album in two weeks. Most of the guitars are first take. Most of the solos are one or two takes, most of the lead vocals, definitely didn’t go more than four takes. Most of them are one, still. And that flow and that energy you get from responding and kind of reacting very quickly, is something that adds to the sound.”

“And I always think, oh, it would be great to do a whole Def Leppard album like that, but I’m not sure. One thing I noticed about Mirror Ball, we did these three new studio tracks, and it was so refreshing not to do 12 songs, where some of them are going to get watered down, or not get enough attention. What was great about the three songs, ‘Undefeated’, ‘It’s All About Believin’, and ‘Kings Of The World’, was a lot of energy, and that all went into those three. They were inspired, written, recorded, and they came out, and it’s very much like the whole STONES, BEATLES, DAVID BOWIE approach, where you get an inspiration, record it and it would be out, either as an EP, or they would attach it on another album. I love the idea of that! Especially the way things are now, you know, where hard copy albums are not so desired anymore. People want a song and they want it now. And I think that fits directly into that. And so hopefully with Def Leppard’s next project, it will be just a few tracks. We’ll get a lot more done and we can actually do some touring as well.”

A few tracks or an album’s worth, we’ll have to see, but Phil is (close to?) adamant that they not produce the hell out of whatever it is the band get up to…

“I think what tends to happen – and I’ve heard other people talk about this, like STEVE VAI or whoever – you start with something, an idea, and you go, ‘Wait a minute, now we’ve done this, it could be better,’ and you do this, and all of a sudden we’ve spent way too much time on it, and it’s lost its initial spark and innocence and charm and edge, and so you have to claw that back with production. And all of a sudden, it sounds different. You’re coming from different places. It’s not inspiration that is actually turning the song – it’s production. And that’s the trap that we often fall into. I’ve seen it happen many times. I’ve done it myself. It’s like, ‘Well, what if we had done this?’ And it usually happens early on, with rhythm-based things, changing a part or doing something new musically. But that should really have happened in a pre-production setup, except we’ve never had that luxury. We’ve never been pre-producing a song. We actually wait ‘til we get into the studio. And that’s really why records turn out the way they do. So I think for us to do a really raw record or a song or two, you have to approach it differently. You’d have to not play it so many times before you record it. I know that sounds kind of silly, but I think that would be the way to go.”

(Photo by Joe Kleon)

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