DEF LEPPARD's PHIL COLLEN: 'We're Having A Blast' Touring With MÖTLEY CRÜE

May 18, 2023

DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen spoke to QFM96's "Torg & Elliott" radio show about what it has been like touring with another veteran rock act, MÖTLEY CRÜE, on last year's "The Stadium Tour" and the recently launched "The World Tour". He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We're really good friends with MÖTLEY. I've known 'em since '83. And they're great. They're great to tour with. It's great that we're all grown up now. Me and Nikki Sixx, our birthdays are, like, four days apart and a year. We've both got five kids, we've both come out the other side, and we're all grown up. And it's amazing. And we're getting to play our music to the world. So it's really great teaming up with them, to be quite honest. We're having a blast."

Last month, Collen weighed in on MÖTLEY CRÜE's decision to hire John 5 to replace Mick Mars, the group's founding guitarist, who announced his retirement from touring with MÖTLEY CRÜE last October as a result of worsening health issues. Phil told Barbara Caserta of Linea Rock: "The thing with MÖTLEY CRÜE, Mick Mars was really in pain. We'd done the American tour with him, and he has physical issues. So it was great that John 5 had come out. John 5 is just a wonderful human being and plays great and everything, so he fits in. And he really helped the band out, because Mick couldn't really do that. Traveling is the problem; he was having trouble [with all the travel]. It just was painful. It worked out great."

This past February, DEF LEPPARD drummer Rick Allen spoke about Mars's retirement from touring during an appearance on the "Appetite For Distortion" podcast. He said: "It was Mick's decision to really move on and just get to the next part of his life. And we all know that Mick has suffered terribly, terribly with pain; you see it on his face all the time. And I think the only time I ever saw him truly in his element [was] when he was up on stage playing with the band. It was more his decision. That must have been a super hard decision. I mean, it would have been different if the guy was being thrown out of the band, but it wasn't like that at all. It was a personal choice that he made. And you can't say that that's wrong. It was right for him at the time.

"Over the months — well, actually years — that I've known him, I really started to talk to him," Rick continued. "So unassuming. Such a soft, gentle soul. And when I first met him years ago, I was actually quite afraid, you know. [Laughs] But he's the exact opposite of that — just a really sweet, generous person. So it must have been a very difficult decision for everybody to have to go through that."

When Mars announced his retirement from touring with MÖTLEY CRÜE, he maintained that he would remain a member of the band, with John 5 taking his place on the road. However, last month the 71-year-old musician filed a lawsuit against CRÜE in Los Angeles County's Superior Court claiming that, after his announcement, the rest of CRÜE tried to remove him as a significant stakeholder in the group's corporation and business holdings via a shareholders' meeting.

Mars suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS),a chronic and inflammatory form of arthritis that mainly affects the spine and pelvis. After years of performing through the pain, he informed the other members of MÖTLEY CRÜE last summer that he could no longer tour with them but would still be open to recording new music or performing at residencies that did not require much travel.

DEF LEPPARD and MÖTLEY CRÜE will team up with Alice Cooper for a U.S. mini-tour this summer. The trek will kick off on August 5 in Syracuse, New York and include stops in the Midwest before concluding in El Paso, Texas on August 18. Before that, LEPPARD and CRÜE will tour Europe, starting on May 22 in Sheffield, United Kingdom.

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