Is this record intended to serve as a bookend
to a certain era, so you can begin
another chapter for the band?
Not necessarily. I know we’re going
to tour next year, so I don’t think we’re going
to take time off to do a record. It takes a
year to do that. We may do a few songs. I
like the idea of doing three songs, because
it goes back to the days of the Beatles, the
Stones, Zeppelin, and Bowie. They would
record one or two songs at a time. You can
put more energy and effort into it.
So you feel like you can get better
results and focus all your energy on
three songs rather than, say, 12?
Absolutely. [With more], you
end up watering some songs down and
the main songs don’t get as much attention.
That’s why those old songs sounded
great—they got a lot of time. They just
thought about that and didn’t have to
spread themselves out and go crazy thinking
about 12 songs.
How did you collaborate on the new
songs, and how did you decide which
ones would make it on Mirror Ball?
On these three songs, we didn’t
collaborate at all [during the writing
phase]. But everybody played and sang
on each other’s songs. It was really easy
and a great way of doing it. We had fully
produced demos and they got the Def
I wrote a song for the record,
but the fourth song didn’t make it. Mine
was the fourth song. It was decided that
three was enough. Mine was the last to
arrive and I was late to the party. “Kings
of the World” was a Rick Savage song,
which was something he had been working
on for a long time. It just happened
to have come to fruition when we needed
it. That’s the thing about Def Leppard—
we’ve never been precious about our individual
songs. We have a tendency to be
very critical of each other’s work, but not
all the time. Sometimes somebody writes
a song and we say, “Okay, that’s great.
Let’s record it.” There’ve been other times
when you bring a song to Def Leppard
and you think it’s, like, a masterpiece—but
then it totally gets torn apart and something
like five percent of it remains! [Both
.] We have a healthy respect for each
of our abilities, and we don’t take it personally.
[Turns to Collen
] You wrote the new
studio track “It’s All About Believin’.” Did
you have that song around for a while?
Only [since] last year. Me and my
buddy C.J. Vanston, who I write with all the
time, have written tons of songs together.
We came up with this song, and it sounded
so obviously like a Def Leppard song, so we
played it to the guys and they loved it.
When we were in New York last
November doing the Celebrity Apprentice
thing, Joe first played me his idea for the
song “Undefeated,” which is the third song.
That’s a great song, and we’re going to be
playing it live this summer. It’s a very Def
Leppard song, as well.
Collen’s Jackson PC1 features a mahogany body with a highly figured maple
top, a quartersawn hard rock
maple neck, a DiMarzio Super 3 bridge humbucker,
and a Jackson Sustainer/Driver in the neck position.