The Reason Phil Collen Wanted To Leave Def Leppard

As we all know, being at the right place at the right time always matters throughout our lives. The music world is not independent of this situation. Thus, it is not surprising for music fans to hear about a shocking departure. There may be various reasons musicians want to leave their bands and go their own way. It may either be due to the creative differences, problems in their personal lives, or ego clashes.

What happens in artists’ lives at that particular time naturally makes them question the place where they are and their motives in this world. Of course, these confusions in their minds don’t always result in departures but can easily make them think about this possibility. Def Leppard’s Phil Collen also almost came to the point of leaving the band due to some tragic events and personal difficulties that he faced but before learning about that, let’s take a closer look at his career in Def Leppard.

Phil Collen’s Long-Lasting Music Career With Def Leppard

After getting his first guitar at 16, Phil Collen enthusiastically started to practice by himself. Later on, he played with multiple bands like Tush, Lucy, and Dumb Blondes. Early success in his career came during his tenure within his other band, Girl. They made two relatively successful studio albums, which allowed Collen to make himself heard more.

The guitarist had already caught Def Leppard members’ attention, but they already had Pete Willis as one of the guitarists. Later on, when Willis was fired from the group due to his alcohol problems, they immediately called Collen for an audition. He impressed the other band members with his solos and eventually joined the band in 1982. He has played on the band’s nine studio albums since then.

He was a perfect match with the band’s late lead guitarist, Steve Clark, from the first moment they played together. They also became close friends in a short period and significantly contributed to the band’s distinctive sound. Of course, things didn’t always run smoothly during his tenure within the band, and he has naturally had some ups and downs. Some of them even pushed him to the thought of parting ways with the band.

Why Did Phil Collen Want To Leave Def Leppard?

During the 1980s, Phil Collen’s alcohol addiction reached a dangerous level as he was losing control from time to time. Fortunately, he realized the seriousness of the situation and quit drinking alcohol. He embraced a healthy lifestyle and pulled himself together. However, his bandmate, Steve Clark, with whom he had a close relationship, unfortunately, didn’t follow him. The guitarist passed away on January 8, 1991, due to an unintentional overdose of alcohol.

It was pretty tough for Collen to deal with his bandmate’s death. Besides the emotional challenge, he also faced a professional one that doubled the difficult time he experienced at the time. After Clark’s passing, the band started to work on their fifth studio album, ‘Adrenalize,’ however, they didn’t replace him with another guitarist. Hence, they began recording the album as a four-piece.

In the absence of Clark, it was all left to Phil Collen to create their signature two-guitar sound. They had already written the music for the album, but it was pretty challenging for Collen to play Clark’s parts as the two of them had completely different playing styles. This situation doubled Collen’s workload and also put extra pressure on him. Dealing with his bandmate’s death and the issues with the album’s recording seriously led Collen to think about leaving the band at the time. Fortunately, he could get through all these challenges and has continued his career with the band.