Picture Disk Images
1984 Ibanez Interview with Phil Collen

Listen to the Ibanez Phil Collen interview from the picture disk advertised in the November 1985 issue of Music Life.

Collen is being interviewed by Def Leppard's (then) manager, Peter Mensch. Rich Lasner (manager of guitar design and R&D "for Ibanez Guitars") introduces the interview and states it was recorded on "December 8th".

The advertisement appeared in the November 1985 issue of Music Life so we're assuming the interview occurred in December 1984.

Note: there are about 6 seconds of silence at the beginning of each side. Requires an MP3 player.

Most of the discussions of Collen's Destroyers are on Side 1 of the interview. A brief mention in passing for the first time occurs around the 2:15 mark. There is a longer discussion of Collen's Destroyer for almost 2 minutes beginning around the 2:31 mark.

The interview goes into other topics for a bit and then returns with a discussion of Collen's Destroyer pick-ups around the 5:30 mark.

Another brief mention in passing of Collen's Destroyer occurs around the 7:34 mark, and a final 30 second discussion begins around the 9:20 mark.

There is one brief mention of Collen's Destroyer on Side 2 at the 5:38 mark.

Ibanez Picture Disc Advertisement  
Ibanez is the favorite guitar brand of Phil Collen and
Dave Murray (Iron Maiden). Many other top artists
also use Ibanez guitars on stage or at recording
studios over the world. You may find the Ibanez
brand credited in some of your favorite albums.
Special Thanks to Ibanez Guitars
You can win the special picture-disk 30cm LP, "Phil
Collen Interview." Of those who answered the
questionnaire, 20 people will get this disk.
Write down the answers to the questions below on a
post card and send it to Hoshino Gakki Co., Ltd.,
"Music life questionnaire," PO Box 36, 119 Higashi-
Naganecho, Seto-shi, Aichi (the postcard must be
postmarked by October 32, 1985).
Please write your address, name, age and
occupation. If you want a catalog, please also
contact us.

'85 Gakki Fair
October 18 (Fri), 19 (Sat) and 20 (Sun)
10:00-5:00, at Kitanomaru Park Science Museum
Admission: 400 Yen (advanced ticket), 500 Yen (at the venue)
Organizer: '85 Gakki Fair Committee
Exciting expo for musical instruments.
Phil Collen "Def Leppard" picture-disk giveaway
Q1. Do you own a guitar?
    A. YES    B. NO
Q2. If you purchase a guitar, you would.
    A. chose the model that your favorite guitarist
    B. decide on your own
    C. ask the shop clerk for advice
    D. choose by brand
    E. choose by price
    F. other
Q3. What reasons drive your guitar-purchasing
    A. Browsing a catalog
    B. Seeing a magazine advertisement
    C. Being at a store
    D. A friend's or shop clerk's recommendation
    E. Budget at the time
    F. Other reasons
Q4. List a musician or a group that you think will
become popular in the future.
(How to answer)
If your answer to Q1 is "B. No," go to Q2. If your answer
to Q1 is "A. YES," go to Q3. You can choose more than
one for Q2 (you can also change the order).
Example: Q2: B, Q2: BDCAE, Q4 XXX Band.

IBANEZ PICTURE DISK "Phil Collen Interview" Present!!
This is not a 100% accurate transcription of the Ibanez Phil Collen interview. It is, however, as accurate as I could make it in a good faith effort without dedicating my life to figuring out every last word uttered.

I have provided approximate time stamps about every minute or so throughout the transcript in case someone wishes to go to the MP3s and listen for themself.

Phil Collen
Peter Mensch (Def Leppard management)
Rich Lasner (Ibanez guitars)

0:00   Start of Side One / silence
0:22 Lasner This is Rich Lasner for Ibanez guitars. This limited edition Phil Collen interview picture disk was recorded on December 8th at ??? Studios in Amsterdam, where Def Leppard is hard at work on their new album. On side one, Phil talks with Peter Mensch from Def Leppard management about his equipment, influences, and getting his personal sound. Let's join them as Phil tells Peter how he came to be a member of the group.
  Mensch How did you get into Def Leppard? I mean: let's be frank. Let's tell 'em the truth, exactly.
  Collen Alright...um...Pete Willis - the other guitar player - quit and, uh, I've known Joe and Steve for a while and Joe just phoned up and said, "do you wanna come down and help us out in the studio?" So, I did and everyone was impressed with what I did. We just carried on from there.
1:08 Mensch So, what would you advise for, you know, young players - you know, young American players - in terms of, you know, heavy metal and stuff like that or hard rock, or false metal, or true metal?
  Collen Just listen to everyone. Don't listen to just one person or you'll sound like everyone else does in LA, I say. There are some amazing guitar players but they all sound the same.
  Mensch How would you avoid sounding like everybody else?
  Collen Just, just have lots of different influences. I mean, I used to listen to a lot of jazz, as well, and...
  Mensch I mean, like what? Old, like, Joe Pass?
  Collen Yeah, Joe Pass, Al Di Meola and stuff like that.
  Mensch Is there anything else to tell young kids to do or something like that? I mean...
  Collen Well, now, see a lot of kids just listen to Eddie Van Halen, full stop. In fact, you're getting people now who listen to people who listen to...
  Mensch Eddie Van Halen sort of third removed.
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch I mean, is there any advantage if...in a guitar player if he sits there and knows, you know, much more about his guitar, to be able to rewire it himself and stuff like that? Have you ever found the need? I mean, I know that Eddie, for example, you know, does his own guitar work or something like that.
2:01 Collen Yeah.
  Mensch You know, I mean, maybe he's quite proud of it. I mean, do you have a particular interest in, you know, in rewiting your own guitar? Brian May does his own guitar work.
  Collen Yeah, not really. I know what needs to be done to it but I don't know how to do it.
  Mensch Right. I mean, but basically, the Destroyer comes pretty well equipped the way you like.
  Collen Yeah, very well.
  Mensch I mean, there's not a lot of work to be done to it.
  Collen No.
  Mensch And you don't recommend that new guitar players have to sit there and learn the guts of their guitars...
  Collen Well, if they, you know, if they want to. If they've got a burning passion to do it...
  Mensch But it's not a major thing in terms of...
  Collen I don't think so.
  Mensch You've got a couple other Destroyers. Are they equipped differently? With different pick-ups? And, if so, you know, what for?
  Collen Well, that...that one used to be...
  Mensch Better talk into the microphone.
  Collen *laughs* Excuse me, pointing at that 'cuz I know you really can't see what I'm doing but I've got one here that's all black and it used to be the other one's sister. It used to go...it used to be my spare guitar.
  Mensch Right, but you've changed the pick-ups on it.
  Collen Yeah, new Ibanez pick-ups. They're...really powerful and that so, hopefully, I'll be using that...
  Mensch Yeah, they're, uh, different from the other ones you've got on your original one.
3:01 Collen Yeah.
  Mensch What, what's the difference between the two?
  Collen Well, they're just...
  Mensch Louder?
  Collen Yeah, I think so, in general.
  Mensch But it's basically the neck and the fretboard are still basically the same.
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch How did you get involved? Did they just come to the gig one day? Were you headlining Budokan? What happened?
  Collen We were doing just a little gig. I forget what it was called. It was about 3000 seats. And they come up with some guitars, some of the guys: Nero and Ned and all that lot. And said, "would you like to try this?" And I was so impressed with the Destroyer that I had them build me one...to, like, me own specifications.
  Mensch What were you playing before you were playing a Destroyer?
  Collen A Les Paul or a Strat.
  Mensch But you saw the shape of the Destroyer...
  Collen Yeah, it looked cool.
  Mensch Cool.
  Collen It looked cool on me.
  Mensch So you played, picked up the guitar. Was it a factory model? Were they specially made? Was it a production line thing?
  Collen Yeah, the first one was just a production line one that, you know, that...a red one, just a standard Destroyer.
  Mensch And you liked the shape of it?
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch And you had them make you one over in what color? What changes did you have them make on it?
4:02 Collen I had them put a tremolo arm on it, three pick-ups, and black and me name on it. And some square inlays.
  Mensch It was just the shape of the guitar you liked about it, mostly?
  Collen No, it just felt good, it plays well, and they're all pretty consistent. Umm, all the Destroyers, they all feel good to play whereas a lot of Gibsons and whatever are just totally different.
  Mensch On your solos on Pyromania, didn't you use a Destroyer?
  Collen Yeah, on all the solos.
  Mensch When you're on stage, what do you...what kind of amplifiers, what kind of amplification do you use on stage?
  Collen Marshalls. 50s
  Mensch How many? One? Three?
  Collen Two.
  Mensch Seven? A wall of Marshalls?
  Collen No...no...
  Mensch What about the cabinets?
  Collen Just Marshall cabs as well. Two amps..and three cabs.
  Mensch What about in the studio? That's a whole different situation.
  Collen That's a different ballgame. We just go for whatever sounds good. Maybe that Marshall over there.
  Mensch Alright. What's, what's that Marshall called?
  Collen It's Valerie
5:18 Mensch What about, umm, you know, the pick-ups? You use...what? Two Ibanez pick-ups and what else?
  Collen Yeah, I've got three pick-ups on the Destroyer and the two...the middle and the bass pick-up are both Ibanez ones and just the treble pick-up's a DiMarzio Super Distortion.
  Mensch Any reason why you changed over to the DiMarzio Super Distortion?
  Collen Not really. Just always used them on Les Pauls and whatever guitars I've had. I'm more comfortable with them.
  Mensch Why do you use a metal pick-up? A metal, uh, pick. Sorry.
  Collen Because plastic ones break. Because I play fairly hard.
  Mensch Do you?!
  Collen Oh, yeah. It gives a different sound.
  Mensch Have you always used a metal pick?
  Collen Yeah, pretty much.
  Mensch I've always liked a metal pick.
  Collen Yeah, they look good and all.
  Mensch You have a guitar roadie.
  Collen Yeah.
6:00 Mensch Right. That's Mike Rogers. How does that usually work on stage? Mike sets up the guitars for you and you know...
  Collen Mike does everything. I don't have to do a thing. He just hands me the guitars. He plays all the stuff. I just mime there.
  Mensch *laughs*
  Collen And look cool.
  Mensch No, but basically, Mike just...Mike tunes everything up for you. Do you tune the guitar again before you go on stage or just leave it to Mike?
  Collen Mike does it. He's got special techniques to tune it as well as *unintelligible*. He certainly knows more about it than I do.
  Mensch Exactly. But basically, he hands you the guitar and you're away.
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch And...and that's basically the way it works.
6:49 Mensch In terms of using an aerial versus a cord, a cord...I mean, a cord is much better sounding.
  Collen Definitely. It's a much purer signal. I think so.
  Mensch I think, I think most people would agree. But we...we use an aerial because you like to move around a lot. It gives you flexibility.
  Collen Yeah. It's still not perfect but...Steve seems to quite like it anyway, I think. With the sound. Me, personally, I...I don't like the extra top end and whatever that comes with the aerial.
  Mensch Really?
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch So it's mostly top end, extra top on the aerial?
  Collen Yeah. I mean, every once in a while you'll lose bottom end or something before I started using an aerial but it's the really high top I couldn't get...I couldn't get rid of it.
  Mensch Is top really important to your sound, basically? In terms of distortion?
  Collen Well, usually, I just plug into a Marshall and it sounds pretty good anyway, just with it cold...
  Mensch Right.
  Collen ...with the Destroyer but, umm...aerials don't really...
  Mensch How would you, how would you describe the difference...why is it, you know, a lot of bands...in fact, this band in particular, can just set up your basic two Marshall 50s and three, and three cabs, is that what you said? And in, you know, but in the studio, you go through a lot more, you know, painstaking process. Why is it that you don't use the live sound in the studio?
7:54 Collen With the live sound, you've got a lot of other things going off. You've got the drum kit in the background, everything's loud, and everything's it's exciting, and you're playing an arena and you've got...
  Mensch Arena acoustics.
  Collen Yeah. And stuff like that. In here it's very clinical.
  Mensch So, you can actually end up playing through one Marshall and one cabinet.
  Collen Definitely. That's what we're doing at the moment.
  Mensch Doing at the moment.
  Collen Most of the time, yeah.
  Mensch You know, is there any logic in playing through more than one in the studio?
  Collen It depends, I mean...
  Mensch What you want.
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch Will Def Leppard ever do that at all?
  Collen Yeah. When we get on to the solos. When we start linking up amps and things.
  Mensch Will you ever use the, uh, the cordless in the studio?
  Collen No, you see, I don't like them, full stop.
  Mensch Stop.
  Collen It's a...it's just a personal thing. I don't...I don't like them.
  Mensch Ever think about going back to a cord?
  Collen I can't now, cuz I trip over them.
  Mensch Right.
  Collen I've gotten so used to it on the stage.
  Mensch OK. Let's talk a little bit more about, um, about your, you know, your guitar roadie. I mean, in terms of, we've already mentioned he does all the tuning and, you know, the restringing. Do you have...do you give him suggestions about how, in terms of what kind of strings you want? Gauges and stuff like that? And the...the pick-ups you want to use? Or, I mean, does he sit there and suggest things to you in terms of ...
9:00 Collen Mike, uh, suggests a lot of things to me. I mean, I basically tell him about, you know, what pick-ups and whatever, um, plectrums and that...but...he's got lots of little tips and things to add, too.
  Mensch Is it good having a guitar roadie who's a guitar player himself?
  Collen I think so, yeah.
  Mensch Does it help, you know, in terms of, um, giving you advice and stuff like that?
  Collen Yeah, I think so.
  Mensch But you don't have that many problems with the Destroyer on stage, do you, it doesn't go out of tune at all.
  Collen Nah, it's great.
  Mensch And you almost never break a string, I think.
  Collen I think...I never broke a string all last year on this Destroyer. I've done it once on a Les Paul, I think.
  Mensch So, it's not that reason is it because, is it...you've done a lot of things to the Destroyer, like bend the neck and stuff like that.
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch You do a lot of that. Is the Destroyer well built for things like that?
  Collen Yeah. It seems to hold up. It's the same one.
  Mensch Right. Exactly. You've been using for seven or eight years.
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch *unintelligible*
  Collen *unintelligible*...fair old time.
  Mensch *unintelligible*...seven years
10:16   silence
10:24   End of Side One
0:00   Start of Side Two / silence
0:06 Lasner Hi, and welcome back. On side two, Peter speaks with Phil about his favorite solos and practicing techniques. Phil begins by talking about soloing.
0:18 Mensch Did you do much practicing, you know, what kind of schedule did you follow? Did you play just chords, or scales, or all those things that guitar players do periodically?
  Collen Yeah, and I still do them...actually, when I'm waiting between takes. So, I mean, when I first started, I used to practice, like, eight hours a day sometimes.
  Mensch Did you, did you practice other people's solos and things like that?
  Collen No, always me own solos, but...I'd nip licks off of other people.
  Mensch But you never learned someone's solos by heart.
  Collen Not really, no.
  Mensch Do you recommend that as a technique for people or do you think they should just try to be as inventive as possible?
  Collen Just do what feels natural, really. I've never felt that comfortable ripping off a solo I didn't record.
  Mensch Why did you decide you have to use a tremolo vis-a-vis, for example, other guitar players don't even have one on their guitar.
  Collen Because Eddie used one, man. *laughs*
1:00 Mensch But you know, I mean, you didn't follow anybody in terms of technique on tremolo, did you?
  Collen Actually, yeah. Ritchie Blackmore. He'd done it years ago and it just developed to such a stage where you can actually use them really a lot and not go out of tune.
2:40 Mensch So, basically, until the advent of the tremolo arm that kept the strings in tune...
  Collen We struggled.
  Mensch We struggled and now we don't struggle anymore.
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch That's fair enough. How do you come up with your solos for an album? Is it just any particular inspiration for a solo or do you just figure out what, you know, it's fast, slow...you know...what
  Collen Yeah. You just...figure the mood of the song, you know, that's what type of solo you do. You don't just go in there and blast away regardless like a lot of people though I won't give any names but I could...uh....certainly think of a list...
3:05 Mensch You could name a lot of names.
  Collen You have to...it's got to be like a vocal thing almost. Like a melody line. Otherwise there's not much point in putting it in.
  Mensch But you don't want to advise someone...it's like the famous "let's see how many notes I can play in thirty seconds for every solo I do".
  Collen No, I used to do that...and I still do on stage but...let me see that *unintelligible* more important.
  Mensch More important.
3:49; Mensch You and Steve Clark and Rick Savage have written most of the music on the album...
  Collen Mmmm
  Mensch ...the forthcoming album. How do you and Steve...how do you three come up with ideas? You play them to each other? For example, on...ummm...Animal, one of the tracks you'll be hearing the next several months when the Def Leppard album comes out
4:06 Collen You're not supposed to tell them the titles.
  Mensch Why not? I've told them some titles already in the fan club.
  Collen Oh, really?
  Mensch Yeah. How did that song come about? Did you write it with Steve? Or, you know, Sav? Did Sav contribute, you know...you know, uhh, the choruses, the verses? Just how does that...
  Collen On that particular one, I had...a riff floating around for a while and...while we were on tour, as well, just...I had a few ideas about it. Ummm, we basically spent six months in Dublin just for writing purposes and, umm...I can't really remember exactly how it...how it came about but I remember I got the verse and the...bridge section and Steve said, "Oh, yeah, this sounds good" and just...
  Mensch Is that the way it basically always comes out?
  Collen Yeah, more or less.
  Mensch With any basic song, is that someone might have a verse or a bridge section and someone else will add a chorus or something like that?
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch Is that, I mean, so...
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch Would you say that most songs on the Def Leppard album are joint efforts in terms of...
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch I mean, you know, with the exception of any instrumentals most of them are written with a combination of...
  Collen Definitely.
  Mensch ...two or three.
5:00 Collen Two heads are better than one.
  Mensch Didn't you find that it's easier to write with other people than, sort of, have to sit there and do it all by yourself?
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch Get stronger material that way...
  Collen Yeah, definitely.
  Mensch We want to know if you've got any, umm, favorite solos in any of the songs we do and, if so, umm, you know, how the solo came about if you could, you know, if you could try and explain that.
  Collen Yeah, I like the Stage Fright solo on Pyromania, that's...
  Mensch I mean, I mean, how did that come about? Now, the track was almost completed when you came in, basically, not before...
  Collen Umm, yeah and Mutt said, "take this tape and just have a listen and come up with a solo" and I did. I just came in the next day and just...laid it down.
  Mensch That was it. And you used that, you used your basic Destroyer for that. Was that through Marshalls again?
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch The same basic set up we have...
  Collen Actually, that was through the live set up.
  Mensch Was it?
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch Really?
  Collen Yeah. The cold...
  Mensch Twos and...and...and the three cabinets...
  Collen Yeah, and that thing there. That cabinet there, I think
  Mensch That cabinet there?
  Collen The horrible blue thing. I don't know what it is but it's got...a simple Marshall cabinet.
  Mensch Yeah, a modified Marshall cabinet. What about, uh, any other solos?
  Collen Foolin's a cool solo, I think, as well. In fact, they're all really cool solos *laughs* I don't want to bore anyone. Rock of Ages is not bad, either *laughs*
6:03 Mensch Don't you play a solo on Photograph, too?
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch Yeah. What about Stage Fright? You sort of *unintelligible* it out yourself.
  Collen Yeah. That one, umm, *unintelligible*
6:37 Mensch How important is...is image, for example, do you think is to a player? I mean, what do you think? Is there a good balance between the two of them?
  Collen Depends if you want to be in a successful rock band, really *laughs*
  Mensch What do you...what do you...what do you think? What, you know, visual? Over, you know, more poses and notes? More notes and poses? Is there a happy medium?
  Collen Uh, yeah, I think so. You've got to be able to play...fairly well so...and if you're really into guitar playing like I always were...always were...always was *laughs*
  Mensch Right.
  Collen ...then, um, that definitely helps. They've got a school, now, in England...
7:08 Mensch Do they?
  Collen ...to learn how to be a rock star.
  Mensch Really?
  Collen Yeah. I just heard about it.
  Mensch That sounds...
  Collen That sounds a bit dumb, actually, and a bit contrived, I think. Uh. The reason , I think, a lot of people like us is because it's fairly natural. I mean, we don't choreograph any stuff and it just happens.
  Mensch And the clothes you wear are sort of...
  Collen More or less as it happens, as well.
  Mensch As it happens, also. Before we go on tour, you have to do a certain amount of training to get in shape?
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch Do you think it's important to be on shape because it's a long tour and you've got to basically last.
  Collen Definitely. It catches up with you after a while. I mean, it sort of did last year but we managed to scrape through but being a year older...
  Mensch You think to play, like, an eleven month tour, you basically have to have your act together...
  Collen I think so, yeah.
  Mensch ...physically because you've got to put out every night.
  Collen Yeah.
  Mensch And it's, you know...
  Collen I'm running around, like I said before, you know, we're a bit more visual than most heavy metal bands so we, um, yeah, you've got to be in shape otherwise you'd be throwing up on the side of the stage every time. *unintelligible*
8:25 Mensch Can you give us any hints about what you and Steve are planning next year on stage? After all, you are known as the "Terror Twins of Rock".
  Collen Well...
  Mensch We come to rock every night *laughs*
  Collen Never go to the movies with Steve Clark because you will end up in a wall.
  Mensch *laughs* Yes, I gather there's going to be some film of that during, you know, your solo break next year. The, um, Phil Collen Porsche incident in the wall.
  Collen *laughs*
  Mensch But is there anything on stage you guys planning? Have you got any new ideas? You know...
  Collen Yeah, we've got this new stage design I haven't seen yet. *unintelligible* told me it was good.
9:02 Mensch Well, that's, uh...will you be a playing guitar solo on stage mext year, by the way?
  Collen On me own?
  Mensch Yeah.
  Collen Well, they're getting a bit boring. I mean, is the reason we don't do a drum solo because they're terribly cliched and monotonous...and guitar solos are a bit like that. So, we...me and Steve...are actually thinking about saying, "perhaps we can do it together". Actually, I shouldn't be telling you this because someone else is going to rip us off now *laughs* until we get on the tour.
  Mensch But, I mean, in general, the solos you'll do will be incorporated into the songs. They won't be sort of your five minute, you know, ending of one song beginning of another song vibe.
  Collen No, not really.
  Mensch You don't think so.
  Collen I don't think so, no. Maybe just slip a few bits in here and there.
  Mensch Yeah.
  Collen No twenty minute extravaganzas.
  Mensch Any other fingering or picking techniques or anything like that you can, you can talk about?
  Collen Yeah, umm, it...well, it depends how you learned. Well, I mean, I always learned like a...sort of like a jazz guitar player: alternative picking, up and down strokes and all that. But you mustn't get too carried away in...in the jazz feel otherwise it sounds...
10:03 Mensch Jazzy.
  Collen Yeah, and it doesn't fit in with rock and roll, you know.
  Mensch Right. How loud is it, speaking of on stage sound, I mean, you know, you're an expert on the, you know, on the...sort of, live wars and stuff like that. I mean, is it important to be loud on stage? Soft on stage? You know, in terms of...
  Collen Not really.
  Mensch ...getting a good, live sound out front because, after all, that's what people came to hear.
  Collen Yeah. Uh, depends on...how loud it takes to get your own sound. I mean, I...you know, I don't need, like, millions and millions of amps. And we're fairly quiet compared to a lot of rock bands...
  Mensch Right.
  Collen Other bands like Iron Maiden and that are really quite loud...
  Mensch So, then, you think...
  Collen ...as well.
  Mensch You think it's helpful getting a good set up out front to keep a sound at a certain level on stage or it's just relative to how...what you want from your sound, basically.
  Collen Yeah, it's relative to the sound.
  Mensch So, I mean, are you louder, for example, than say Steve is because of the kind of sound you want compared to Steve?
  Collen No, we've got exactly the same set up.
10:53 Lasner Be there and feel the power as Phill Collen and Ibanez rock the world in Def Leppard's upcoming tour and new album.
11:16   silence
11:23   End of Side Two