Def Leppard

Def Leppard Teases Bold New Experience for Upcoming Summer Tour

Def Leppard is set to start their Summer Stadium Tour with Journey this week, bringing their latest single, “Just Like ’73.” Guitarist Phil Collen has hinted at big changes, including a completely revamped set and stage show.

“We changed the whole set,” Collen told Ultimate Classic Rock (UCR). “The stage show is drastically different.” In a conversation with UCR host Matt Wardlaw, Collen discussed the new song, his admiration for David Bowie, and memories of past encounters with Journey.

“Just Like ’73” came about during the making of their album “Diamond Star Halos,” but wasn’t completed in time for the album’s release. Collen explained, “I had the idea to make this drum loop with a really aggressive chanting thing, like Slade. I had the chorus and was writing with my friend Dave Bassett, who I wrote ‘Kick’ with. We thought Joe Elliott would be perfect for writing the lyrics for the verse, so I called him up, and that same day, the lyrics came in. We went back and forth but just didn’t get it finished in time.”

The song was finalized after the release of “Diamond Star Halos” and their subsequent tour. The track features a guitar solo from Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, a collaboration that excited Collen. “I love Rage [Against the Machine]. It was rap, it was metal. It had a really funky groove. I was thrilled when I found out [he was doing the solo],” Collen said.

Def Leppard has been rehearsing in St. Louis this week in preparation for the tour’s official start on Saturday night (July 6). Collen emphasized the physical demands of the performances: “It’s going to take a lot of energy. There’s going to be a lot of running around. So I’m working out, trying to get the stamina up. Vocally, too. I’m having to sing every single day.”

The band aims to avoid becoming a nostalgia act by continually producing new music. “We absolutely do. We’re deathly afraid of – not that we’d ever do this – becoming a nostalgia act. That’s what drives us. We still have new ideas and new music all the time,” Collen stated.

In press materials about “Just Like ’73,” Collen reminisced about seeing David Bowie on TV in 1972 and 1973. “I’d just been to my first concert, which was Deep Purple in 1972 on the Machine Head tour. So, ‘Smoke on the Water,’ ‘Highway Star,’ all of that. Literally, the next year, I saw Bowie on TV. It was just mind-blowing,” Collen recalled.

Growing up in London, Collen was exposed to a diverse range of music, including American soul and Jamaican reggae. Bowie’s unique style and powerful guitar-driven songs left a lasting impact. “By the time I saw Bowie, he was doing something very different. It wasn’t just the look of it, it was the songs. Wonderful songs. They were big guitar songs. Mick Ronson was amazing. All of it was just at the right time as I was getting into music,” Collen explained.

As Def Leppard prepares to hit the road, fans can look forward to a refreshed show, complete with new music and a revamped stage performance. The Summer Stadium Tour promises to be a memorable experience for rock fans.