Adrenalized: Life, Def Leppard, and Beyond

Adrenalized: Life, Def Leppard, and Beyond

Phil Collen, Chris Epting

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 147675165X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A revelatory and redemptive memoir from the lead guitarist of the legendary band Def Leppard—the first book ever written by one of its members—chronicling the band’s extraordinary rise to superstardom and how they’ve maintained it for three decades.

Meet Phil Collen. You may know him as the lead guitarist in Def Leppard, whose signature song “Pour Some Sugar on Me” is still as widely enjoyed as when it debuted in 1988. Maybe you’ve heard of him as the rock star who gave up alcohol and meat more than twenty-five years ago. Most likely you’ve seen him shirtless—in photos or in real life—flaunting his impeccably toned body to appreciative female fans.

But it wasn’t always like this. Collen worked his way up from nothing, teaching himself guitar from scratch as a teenager by imitating his heroes. He slogged it out in London-based pub bands for years, long before Def Leppard formed and transformed from unknowns to icons (all thanks to a little album called Pyromania), from playing openers in near-empty arenas to headlining in those same stadiums and selling them out every night. But as Collen discovered, true overnight success is a myth. Like the other band members, he had to struggle and fight his way to the top; in the end, he says, “our work ethic saved us.” Just as it still does.

This is Collen’s story, starting with his first real taste of success and wild rock and roll excess as a member of the seminal glam rock outfit Girl. But once he joins Def Leppard, it’s also an amazing underdog tale featuring a bunch of ordinary working-class lads who rose to mega-stardom, overcoming incredible obstacles—such as drummer Rick Allen losing an arm in a car crash and the tragic death of guitarist Steve Clark, Phil’s musical soul mate, who lost his fight with alcoholism. 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.

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playing our best. We never took anything for granted. And for all the drinking we did on the road, we remained amazingly disciplined when it came to playing. We actually had a rule that no matter what went on offstage, no one went onstage drunk. It simply would not happen. We were always very serious about the music part of it. We felt we owed too much to ourselves and to our fans who had forked out considerable money to see their favorite band. After all, this was a dream come true. Why would

tax rate was about 60 percent. However, many top earners took advantage of a tax loophole: they became tax exiles. They moved out of the country. The law stated that if you spent fewer than sixty-two days in England you weren’t liable to pay those taxes. In the ’70s, Rod Stewart famously released an album called Atlantic Crossing, and that’s exactly what he did to escape this taxation. The Rolling Stones all moved out in the early 1970s for the same reason after playing a famous “farewell” tour

Led Zeppelin fan. I kept thinking back to when I saw Zeppelin as a kid back in the mid-1970s and couldn’t believe that Robert Plant actually wanted to come see our show. But it got better. When he heard about the way we got wheeled out there every night, he got all excited and asked if he could be a part of the clandestine operation that took place before the show. It’s amazing how primitive the whole “getting to the stage” thing was. But that is theater for you. Smoke and mirrors has always been

that we always were. Something else happened on this tour that forced us to reconsider the scale of our production: we had a midair scare that made us realize that, in addition to being really expensive, a private plane could also be scary as hell. Two storm fronts hit in St. Louis one night while we were flying through the area in our ten-seat prop plane. We got hit by both of them and dropped two thousand feet in just seconds. It was pretty scary. Drinks and guitar cases just seemed to float

sounded lovely, so I asked if she’d do it on the record. Hollie is actually a reggae artist, so she fit right in with our vibe. Manraze had a great experience doing this album. We recorded everything in eleven days. Helen came up with the album design and took the photos. She also made a video documenting the entire recording process. I remember we shot the pictures for the record with her in a piss-filled alley in Shepherd’s Bush, but it still came out looking like a million dollars. We called

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