DEF LEPPARD's PHIL COLLEN: Why THE POLICE Is 'My Favorite All-Time Band'
March 6, 2021
During an appearance on the "No Sleep 'Til Sudbury" podcast, DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen revealed that his "favorite all-time band" is THE POLICE, the English rock group formed in London in 1977 by primary songwriter Sting (lead vocals, bass guitar) and Stewart Copeland (drums). He said (hear audio below): "I think Sting was, and sometimes is, my favorite songwriter. He can walk the line of, actually, great songwriting and pop silliness. He can get a little blasé — he can do anything he wants from a songwriting point of view… 'Every Breath You Take' is one of the classic songs of all time. 'Walking On The Moon' had actually done something to me as well; it was a goosebump thing. As much as I wish I wrote 'Every Breath You Take', it's 'Walking On The Moon' that sends shivers down my spine. And I think it was the sound of the band — the vibe of the whole thing. Everything about it. They were a true hybrid — they took the reggae thing and the rock thing and it came out in the punk era. It just had a bit more venom in it as well; it had a lot more fire than guys who normally… These guys were jazz guys — they all played in jazz bands before — but there was an absolute fire in the playing. Stewart Copeland is one of my favorite drummers of all time. When you put those three in together, magical things [happen]. Whenever I hear the band, it's — again — goosebump time. I know I keep saying that, but THE POLICE do that every time I hear them play. I got to see them when they reformed, and, again, I thought it was magical. It's my favorite band, so I would say that. But I do think Sting's the most amazing songwriter. He can write a classic or he can write a silly pop song — or both."
Back in 2012, Collen released a demo version of his cover of THE POLICE's "Roxanne", originally recorded during sessions for DEF LEPPARD's covers album "Yeah!" The demo was recorded in early 2004 and was one of 24 songs DEF LEPPARD laid down for "Yeah!" The original version by THE POLICE (written by Sting) was released as a single in April 1978 and included on the band's debut album, "Outlandos D'Amour".
In a 2015 interview with Music Radar, Collen named 1981's "Ghost In The Machine" as his favorite THE POLICE album, describing is as "a bit quirky, a bit weird and a bit reggae. It was a perfect moment in time. Like Prince, they were true artists — a hybrid of different styles, not stuck to just one thing… really open-minded.
"I find the more music you let in, the more you have to let out. THE POLICE were like that, and Sting's definitely one of my favourite songwriters. Okay, he can get a bit ponce-y, especially these days. But he wrote these classic rock songs that were melodically superior.
"The rest of the band were great, too; they had this amazing chemistry. 'Synchronicity', their last one, was great, too, but I think 'Ghost In The Machine' is perfect… I loved the hybrid element, introducing reggae into it was killer."
DEF LEPPARD's "The Stadium Tour" with MÖTLEY CRÜE, POISON and JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS was originally scheduled to take place last summer but has been pushed back to this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"The Stadium Tour" is now scheduled to kick off on June 19, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee and conclude on September 12, 2021 in San Diego, California.
The last DEF LEPPARD studio album, a self-titled affair, came out in 2015.