Def Leppard lead guitarist Phil Collen is not a guy who spends a lot of time idle. As was already discussed in our print Q&A, he can barely stomach performing a slow ballad.
On Wednesday, Def Leppard and Heart begin a joint U.S. tour here in South Florida at Cruzan Amphitheatre. That would seem to be plenty to prepare for, but the band found time for some reality TV time on Celebrity Apprentice, and Collen has been hard at work on a new disc with his alt-rock side project, Man-Raze, which also features Simon Laffy and ex-Sex Pistol Paul Cook. Both topics figure into the bonus cuts from our interview.
What did you think of the Celebrity Apprentice experience?
Phil Collen: It was great! Obviously it was great exposure and everything. It's like watching other reality TV shows -- trainwreck, carwreck kind of viewing, really. You're compelled to watch people disintegrate in front of your eyes. That's where we are in our society, we want that. It's universal. It's the same in Germany, Japan. Though in Japan there was a reality show years ago and it started with a stadium full of people and they would have to do like really crazy, embarrassing things like wear diapers and not pee themselves, while they're drinking beer. I mean stupid things. That wasn't quite the first reality TV show I've ever seen, but some things were really funny. Other things were more mean-spirited and you never know really what you're going to get.
Did you even realize that there was that timing mix-up when John Rich introduced you?
I had no idea, actually.
I suppose it's all Def Leppard right now with this tour coming up, but what else do you have in store with Man-Raze in the future?
We just finished our album. We just finished the last mix today actually and the album's getting mastered. We have a single that just came out, actually. It's called "Over My Dead Body." It'll be out on iTunes. The album coming out is called Punkfunkrootsrock. That comes out on Rocket Science in August. We're actually gonna be playing a show in L.A. probably that week, August 2nd. We're not really quite sure of the venue yet, but we're really psyched. I just got back from doing a photo shoot and shooting some video as well for the first and the second single. That's really super exciting as well.
How did the recording process go?
We've did it in London three months ago. We did the whole album in two weeks. It was pretty astonishing. They just had a real vibe about it and it had a great atmosphere. We're just getting it finished up right now.
Aside from doing an L.A. date, do you guys have thoughts about doing dates around the U.S. as well?
We would love to. We haven't got anything booked yet. I think we're just gonna do this thing for the release of the album. We're gonna be in L.A. so if they need anything based around that, but we'd love to do a tour. It could be clubs and stuff. That would be a blast.
How does it feel to explore the prospect of getting back to doing shows in clubs and more intimate venues?
With Def Leppard it's great playing amphitheatres and stadiums. For Man Raze it's fun doing the smaller places.
Def Leppard With Heart. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, at Cruzan
Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $59 to