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Def Leppard’s Phil Collen Discusses Brush With Alcoholism

William Thomas Cain, Getty Images
William Thomas Cain, Getty Images

These days Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen is one of the fittest guys in rock and roll, but it wasn’t always that case thanks to his old drinking habits.

The guitarist tells Noisecreep that he’s been sober for 25 years and is glad he stopped when he did. He recalls, “The real tragedy is Steve Clark, the other guitar player in Def Leppard, was my best friend. I stopped drinking and he didn’t and it killed him. So I’m really glad I stopped when I did. I managed to see all this stuff and actually take it in and remember it all as well.”

Collen says that while there was some fun that came with all the partying they did back in the day, there was also some drawbacks. He says, “I just didn’t like the fact that I stopped remembering things. I can remember borrowing Joe Elliott‘s car and leaving it parked sideways in the street and not remembering anything. Just crazy stuff. For me, it was definitely time to stop.”

The guitarist says one of the things that’s led him to reflect on those times is the association the band has with the new film, ‘Rock of Ages.’ The movie, which arrives this week, is a musical that chronicles the hard rock and metal scene of the Sunset Strip during the late ’80s. Collen says, “It’s very tongue-in-cheek and makes fun in all the right places. They just happened to choose the Sunset Strip. They nailed it.”

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