DEF LEPPARD's Phil Collen, whose band is still scheduled to hit the road with MÖTLEY CRÜE next year, has weighed in on Vince Neil's disastrous comeback performance at an Iowa festival last weekend.
On May 29, Neil struggled to complete his solo concert at the Boone Iowa River Valley Festival in Boone. Based on fan-filmed video footage of the gig posted on YouTube, the 60-year-old rocker, who hadn't performed in more than a year and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic, began losing his voice several songs into his set, which consisted exclusively of CRÜE classics and cover songs previously recorded by the band.
14 songs into the performance, Vince attempted to sing CRÜE's smash hit "Girls, Girls, Girls" but gave up mid-song, explaining to the crowd: "Hey, guys… I'm sorry, you guys. It's been a long time playin'. My fuckin' voice is gone… Eh… We love you, and we'll hopefully see you next time, man. Take care."
After Neil walked off the stage, his backing band — which still consists of bassist Dana Strum and guitarist Jeff "Blando" Bland from SLAUGHTER, along with drummer Zoltan Chaney — continued to play the song, singing along to what appeared to be pre-recorded backing vocals.
Collen discussed Neil's return to the stage during a brand new interview with "The Jeremy White Podcast". Asked if he has seen any of the footage of Vince's gig, Phil said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I heard about it. Hey, look, he's got a year [to get ready for 'The Stadium Tour']. There's a lot at stake when you got out [on tour], and you wanna be your best. Hopefully we'll be working out together and all that stuff. That's the other thing — we do have a camaraderie, especially with MÖTLEY CRÜE. With Nikki [Sixx, CRÜE bassist], we were talking just before the tour [was announced], like, 'We're gonna work out together. We're gonna do all this stuff.'
"One of the things I learned from touring with KISS is that they really go a hundred percent about the show and every aspect of the show, [including when] different bands are touring together," he continued. "Our crews would be working together on the KISS tour so the show would look great. And I do feel a thing with that. If the show is even better [for the other band], then it's even better for all of us; you want that to happen.
"With Vince, he's got a year to go," Phil added. "Hopefully everything is cool by then. I hope so. Fingers crossed."
DEF LEPPARD's "The Stadium Tour" with MÖTLEY CRÜE, POISON and JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS was originally scheduled to take place last summer but ended up being pushed back to 2021, and then to 2022, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Asked if he is "disappointed" that the tour was once again postponed, Collen said: "Not in the context of… I wouldn't wanna go out there and play to a quarter of a stadium. If we went out now, that's what that would actually mean, 'cause it's not ready yet; it's not fully back. And some places are not even allowing it a hundred percent yet, even with sports stuff. So what you wanna do is you wanna knock it out of the ballpark — excuse the pun. But when it comes up, you wanna do it properly. So, in that respect, [I am not disappointed that it got pushed back again]."
In December 2019, CRÜE manager Allen Kovac told Fox Business that "some of" the bandmembers had enlisted outside help to get in shape for the trek. Kovac was referring to criticism of Neil for his supposed diminished singing ability and weight gain, as well as the health status of guitarist Mick Mars, who has been dealing with a chronic form of arthritis that led him to undergo a hip replacement.
Kovac explained: "Some of them are working with a trainer, some of them are working with a nutritionist to make themselves the best they can be. The greatest insecurity for an artist is: Is anyone going to care about my music? Is anyone going to buy a ticket? We were in November  when the discussions were happening, and these guys were already into regimens of how they get ready for a tour."
Speaking specifically about Neil, Kovac added: "Let's see what Vince sings like and looks like when the tour goes out."
Sixx also said that Vince was "killing it" while working with "trainers" and "nutritionists" in preparation for "The Stadium Tour".