Phil Collen on Def Leppard & Whitesnake tour

(Image credit: Daniel DeSlover/ZUMA Press/Corbis)

Lightning never strikes in the same place twice, or so they say. Well, no-one told Def Leppard. This winter, the band is set to team back up with Whitesnake for a re-run of their co-headlining Let's Get Rocked In The Still Of The Night UK arena tour, this time with Black Star Riders also in tow.

"We have a deep connection with Whitesnake," Phil Collen tells us. "Deep Purple were the first band I ever saw live. It's special to come [back] to England and do this tour with Whitesnake."

TG speaks with the Def Leppard guitarist while the band are on the road in the US with Tesla and Styx. The previous night saw Vivian Campbell make his return to the stage after his latest bout of cancer treatment.

"We've got to play Pour Some Sugar On Me, Photograph and Let's Get Rocked... I'd be bummed if my favourite band did all new stuff!"

Trixter guitarist Steve Brown had proven an able deputy for the opening nights of the tour, but Campbell is not a man to be kept down.

"Vivian came back last night and he did great," Phil says. "It was fantastic. One thing with Viv is I can always tell his voice; we're such a vocal band, it's like The Beach Boys on steroids. That's the first thing I can tell when something is wrong, the vocals don't sound right. It was back in at full steam last night."

It's not just the bill of the forthcoming UK jaunt that has a familiar look to it. Collen will be bringing some tried-and-trusted old favourites back to Blighty with him, with his signature Jackson sure to be in heavy rotation.

"It's the same stuff that I've always used," he says. "The Jackson PC1s, or I may play a Supreme and I've got a Stratocaster with DiMarzios and a FU-Tone Titanium block on it at the moment. But most of the time, it's the Jackson PC1s.

"I'm always changing little bits with the PC1s, pulling the Titaniums out of them, getting fatter necks or whatever. Maybe I'll use the Cracklejack Jackson, the ones that are in the videos for Pour Some Sugar On Me and all that."

Collen also adds that he has been using a Fractal Audio Systems Axe-Fx of late, but says this is mainly for delay and feeding front-of- house, noting that he found the Fractal a "bit 'session musician' and less rock" for it to ever trouble his Marshall JMP1/Randall Power amps as his go-to rig.

He also reveals that a new 14-track self- titled Leppard record is finished and will be released before the band hits the UK in December, and that the situation raises a few setlist headaches.

"By the time we're in England, we'll be integrating the new material into the set," he says. "It's tough, though. Look at The Stones: when they do a new song, or if Keith sings one, everyone goes to the beer tent or goes to get a t-shirt.

"You've got to be aware of that. We've got to play Pour Some Sugar On Me, Photograph and Let's Get Rocked, you have to do that. I'd be bummed if my favourite band did all new stuff!"

Whitesnake and Def Leppard's Let's Get Rocked In The Still Of The Night tour starts on 6 December 2015

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