Phil Collen Explains Absence From Def Leppard Tour Dates
Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen has revealed that his absence from early dates on his band’s co-headlining tour with Journey was due to complications his wife Helen endured while giving birth to the couple’s son, Jackson.
Collen left the tour after the band’s May 23 show in Albany, N.Y.
“She actually died and they brought her back to life," Collen told radio personality Mitch Lafon. “[There was] internal bleeding and just craziness. ... So I was actually on tour and when this happened. I obviously had to go to California [to be with her].”
Rather than shut down the tour, Def Leppard tapped Trixter guitarist Steve Brown to stand in for Collen, beginning with the May 25 stop in Hershey, Penn. The circumstance was one with which all parties felt comfortable, since Brown had filled in for the band’s other guitarist, Vivian Campbell, when Campbell received treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma in 2014 and 2015.
According to Collen, Brown was well prepared for the gig, even on short notice.
“I said, 'Steve, I know you know Viv's parts,'” Collen recalled, noting that Brown “sings great; he can do all of this stuff. So he learned my parts, and my vocal parts, which is more serious than the guitar parts, I think. In our band, we have backing vocals — it's an instrument.... So it was a no-brainer. And I said, 'Can you step in for me?' Everyone was cool; they said, 'Go.' I went, and everything was fine.”
“When your friends or you family need help, you do what you need to do to make it happen,” Brown told Lafon. “When I got the call, [I said] give me an hour to pack my bags, and I was up in Albany, N.Y., within four hours."
Brown filled in for three shows, and Collen returned to the tour on May 30. "Everything's fine," drummer Rick Allen told iHeartRadio. "He's got a beautiful son, so everything went really well."