By MIKE CHAIKEN
Fans of Def Leppard can rejoice.
New music is on the way from the band that gave the world such faves as “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “Love Bites,” according to the band’s guitarist Phil Collen.
Collen and the rest of Def Leppard (singer Joe Elliott, bassist Rick Savage, drummer Rick Allen, and guitarist Vivian Campbell) will be in Connecticut on July 5 when they take the stage of the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Calling from sunny southern California after a foray into a gloomy and chillyEurope, Collen said the new album—the band’s first since 2008’s “Songs from the Sparkle Lounge”—will be released in October. The recording is complete except for the addition of some backing vocals.
“It’s really diverse,” said Collen of the band’s latest offering. “We’re thoroughly excited… We approached it differently.”
The guitars are louder, said Collen. The melodies are catchier, he said. And there are plenty of backing vocals. “There’s more rock and more pure pop.”
“There’s no real theme to it,” said Collen. “We treated each song as a different project.”
Collen said the band was proud of the record because it wasn’t recorded to meet some sort of record company demand for new product. Instead, it was recorded, said Collen, because “we wanted to create music.”
Although the album is nearly ready for release, Collen said fans shouldn’t expect Def Leppard to trot the new songs out live for this stop in Connecticut. He said the band won’t begin performing the songs in concert till after the album is released in October. That means Japan will hear the songs first, he said. That also means, he added, America will probably have to wait till next year for the band to play the new songs in a live setting.
Although it’s been several years since Def Leppard has had new music before fans, Collen hasn’t exactly been sitting on his hands in terms of new music. He’s had several side projects that have brought new songs to his fans.
One of those projects is Delta Deep with vocalist Debbi Blackwell-Cook, Stone Temple Pilots guitarist Robert DeLeo, and drummer Forrest Robinson.
Blackwell-Cook is the godmother of Collen’s wife. And Collen said Blackwell-Cook is “the most amazing singer,” having sung with the likes of Luther Vandross and Michael Buble. Collen and her began to perform blues songs and other material together just for fun. They then began to write songs together. Soon, Delta Deep was launched. The project started off in the blues vein, said Collen, but it later veered into something like “Aretha Franklin singing over Led Zeppelin.”
“It’s all original stuff,” said Collen. “It’ s really high energy and electric.”
Collen also has been working with another side group of his— Man-Raze, which already has released two albums.
While fans wait for the new record from Collen’s full-time gig, they still have a chance to catch the band from Sheffield, England perform the hits lives. Def Leppard has been one of those stalwarts of the live circuit year after year.
“I think it’s the reason you get into the band in the first place,” said Collen of the opportunity to play live for fans. “You don’t want to get stuck in the studio all the time.”
“It’s still very fulfilling,” sid Collen. “It’s very much what we really want to do it.”
“It’s wonderful to see people (at a live show) singing your songs,” said Collen.
When fans come out to the Mohegan Sun, Collen said the band will be doing the songs people want. He said he’s not a fan of bands playing only new material at a live show. “You’ve got to play the hits,” said Collen.
The band, however, will be reaching deeper into its huge catalogue this time around and will perform songs that fans don’t typically hear in concert. For instance, he said the band will be performing “Paper Sun” from 1999’s “Europhia. “It’s such an epic song.”
Def Leppard is on the road this summer with Styx and Tesla. The tour stops into Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville on Sunday, July 5 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $79 and $59. For more information, go to MoheganSun.com or defleppard.com
By MIKE CHAIKEN