Def Leppard’s Phil Collen Reveals Child Birth Incident Led to May 2018 Tour Exit
Back in May, shortly after Def Leppard had kicked off their North American co-headlining tour with Journey, guitarist Phil Collen abruptly left the trek citing a family emergency. The band turned to Trixter guitarist Steve Brown to fill in -- he had filled in for the band in the past -- but the events that led to Collen's absence had not been revealed until the guitarist recently spoke about it on the Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon podcast.
During his chat, Collen revealed a rather scary ordeal that his family went through as his wife Helen was giving birth to the couple's son, Jackson. "She actually died and they brought her back to life," Collen told 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]."
Collen reached out to Brown, who had filled-in for fellow guitarist Vivian Campbell while the musician had been treated for Hodgkins Lymphoma in recent years. The guitarist stepped in two days later at the band's May 25 stop in Hershey, Pa., meaning that the tour did not have to stop.
"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," says Collen. "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."
Brown handled the guitar duties for three dates before Collen returned. Both Collen's wife and son are doing well.
Hear Phil Collen on Westwood One's Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon
See Def Leppard in the 20 Highest Selling Hard Rock + Metal Albums in the U.S.
Where Do Def Leppard Rank Among the 10 Greatest Hair Bands?