Brooks Guitar Wolrd

Phil Collen Answers Your Questions

Phone Question on 5/1/04

Several people asked me what Rockman Phil used back during Hysteria, that is mentioned several times in various articles. Welp, here ya go:
PC: It was the original Rockman. The one with chorus and echo. I got it in 83. The hysteria stuff was the walkman type.

Phone Q&A With Phil Collen 3/7/04

BGW: Hey Phil, it’s Brooks
PC: Hello, you good to go?
BGW: Yea, I appreciate you doing this.
PC: Yea no problem.
BGW: With Fender in the mix now, you still plan on using the Jackson PC1’s? (Brooks)
PC: Oh yea! Absolutely.
BGW: Considering you could own any guitar you wanted, what things about Jackson’s do you find the most attractive and has kept you a devoted user for over 17 years? (Erik)
PC: Well, Im not really bothered by the whole fashion thing. I actually like what they are and what they always were really – a hybrid strat. I really like Fenders, but then again I rally love Les Pauls. With the PC1 especially, you have the best of both worlds. I don’t think its a compromise, its not like you are losing out. You can still get really good versions of that. You can get the meat in it, the mahogany with the maple top, its chunky. I’ve tried different other guitars, it just kinda works for me. Again, they are all so different, you can have exactly same guitar, same wood and everything, and it sounds completely different. So im really happy, plus I have a lot of Jacksons. They are really cool, they do exactly what I want them to, really I got so used to it. When really it comes down to it, I am at ease, at home, with the Jacksons. The main guitar I used on this album we just done, was pretty much the natural Jackson, Mahogany body, you know.
BGW: There’s quite a few fans that still enjoy the old archtop, they were wondering why and if you would ever consider using those again, or if basically if those where just a collectors guitar at this point?
PC: They are, but although having said that, they again have a different sound completely. Like the solo on Action, that was one of them, an archtop. It sounds different, Ive gotten so into to the PC1’s, its actually become part of my playing. Not just the sustainer, just how it feels – how easy it is to get up on the neck. And the another thing, I really think the bolt on necks, for whatever reason it is, you can get them tweaked and in tune. The intonation is a lot better, using my guitars are better intonated then most peoples. I know its partly when its set up, but they hang in there – they really ring true. It’s one of the other reasons I actually use them live, you don’t have to go thru all the BS – they work.
BGW: On the X tour, how are you able to produce all of the awesome harmonics you do? It is your delay setting? (Jim)
PC: Its the sustainer on the PC1, hitting on it, pinching the strings.
BGW: When you write do you write the music first or the lyrics? (Kim)
PC: All different, always different. Could even be a drum path, or a bass path, i’ve done that before – Like Turn To Dust. Iv’e heard people say once you create a mood with the music, the lyrics will come and reflect that and vise versa. That’s the fun pat when you let the music take you, so it could really start with anything.
BGW: Are any plans for a live DVD from the last tour (X)? (Rob)
PC: Yea, I would like to think so because there is some stuff floating around. You know we record everything we ever do. It keeps popping up, this live thing, I don’t know – maybe.
BGW: Fans would really like to see footage that you normally don’t see on a DVD, like the backstage, or maybe a soundcheck, the stuff that most people cant see that they would love – that would be great for the fans.
PC: Yea, that would be great.
BGW: Any thoughts on a Solo album? (Suff)
PC: No no. It would be a song album, it wouldn’t be a guitar thing. I hate guitar solo albums, its to much.
BGW: Phil, how do you suggest the best way to replicate your sound using standard effects pedals rather than the rack mounted gear you use….is it possible for an amateur player to do this? (Paul)
PC: YEA, I don’t use much, especially live. I use a bit of delay, maybe a little bit of chorus, just on certain little bits of the songs. But most part its really straight forward. I do think you can get something similar out there like effect pedals, you know, but the chorus I was using a very mild chorus. One that doesn’t cover the sound, you know really simple. Check it out. Some pedals and some rack mounts can mess the sound up, they just put a creamy layer over the top of it – I think its better without effects. Going back to the amp thing, you know a lot of the stuff has built ins, like the Cybertwin has all these effects built into it. And the Marshalls I use live, the JMP, they have this thing called a JFX Marshall, that was great that was such a great unit with that JMP-1 and that’s the one I used at home. A lot of stuff on Euphoria was that. I actually used that live because it was so much simpler, but they actually stopped making them. I used it on the Cybernauts thing – it works in conjunction, and doesn’t cover the sound. I think if you get a hold of one of them. One time my rack went out, and Stan was like oh no, all the effects where messed up. So I had to go direct cause I couldn’t use any effects, and I was like this is the best sound its been on the whole tour. I didn’t have any effects, it didn’t matter it just boosted it for the solos. What we ended up doing was we went and used the TC 2290, just used that for a bit of delay. And that was really cut back on the actual amount of effects to the end of that tour. Its kinda fun playing with the chorus and all that stuff, but to be quit honest when you are sitting out front you don’t really hear all that.
BGW: You and Viv seem to play everything live, tuned down now, why is this? (Paul)
PC: Easier to do backing vocals, or just vocals in general, we tune them down like that – because we use so many vocals. Back in the days on the Hysteria and even Adrenalize tour, we were just dying. We would come off there and our throats would be hurting and burning. Joe even said why didn’t we do this before. Infact, all the stuff we just recorded, about 95% of it we recorded tuned down, we just got into that thing. Again its a natural thing, it feels natural.
BGW: Are your guitars any different from the store bought models? I read an article once saying that his necks were a little fatter. (Jason)
PC: Yea, as you know I have the big chunky fat necks, and a lot of people don’t like them like that. So the regular ones that come out, is the standard one. Yea I try and get as fat of a neck as I can get really. I really enjoy playing them. Fender is looking for a really heavy duty fat tele neck to swap out for this tele I got. Yea I like the big fat ones, you know like the Les Pauls, they are like baseball bats. I just really like playing them.
BGW: Now as far as a Jackson tele, I believe there’s one used in the video “NOW”?
PC: Yea the one in the video is a Jackson, with a fat neck.
BGW: Hi Phil, which music artists do you currently like listening to? (Diane)
PC: Um, I haven’t been listening to much lately actually. What have I been listening to? I like the Erika Badu album. There’s not a lot out there actually. Ya know if anything is good and its got a vibe to it you know…
BGW: What is your favorite solo either that you have played on the record or live? (Jim)
PC: White Lightning and Paper Sun, them kinda songs. There is a bonus track on the “X” album, Kiss Of Day that I think is pretty cool. But defiantly White Lightning. You know the old standard stuff, Photograph, Foolin, Stagefright. Stuff like that, there’s not a really big solo album. Photograph, Rock Of Ages, Foolin, same with Promises, they were all double track solos just to get that sound – it sounds more like me.
BGW: Besides Brooks’ guitar, have you ever used another fans guitar live? (Brooks)
PC: I used the one in Oklahoma, but no not really. Actually, I’ve have tried some out in soundcheck, maybe a song or 1/2 a song, I don’t really remember.
BGW: Considering I have that guitar you used in Tulsa Oklahoma, then I guess I’m doing pretty good then…
PC: I know really, yea, Jesus really. And your guitar is GREAT you know, the Lace. That’s why I got the chunky one, the reverse, because of that. So when I gave that one back to you, it was like SH**, I really miss it.
BGW: Do you use any techniques that you learned from Steve today, and if not, is there anything that sticks out in your mid that you did learn from him? (Amy)
PC: Oh, I’ve really learned a lot actually, because we played so completely different. All of his song writing things, really, just the way he done the versions of chords and stuff, it was not typical of all the other rock guitarists – it was defiantly unique to see. It was different things, it was very different. I have played with a lot of different guitar players, go and jam, there’s a certain amount of thing they all kinda blend in. But Steve had something that was different, and that was really cool. That you can really hear in the songs, especially, more then anything, Pyromania and Hysteria. I remember when I joined the band, I was like, they said go have a listen to this and learn this stuff. I was like WOW, I never heard anything like that. At that time, it was a cross between a lot of different things. you know, it was rock. It was more of a modern hard rock thing. It was defiantly great. A lot of it I missed earlier on, that I actually really started to appreciate later on. You know, that’s what happened. As much as we played together and figured all this stuff out, there are still bits you miss – you don’t pick up on it.
BGW: Thanks Phil, I’ll let you go, I appreciate all your time. And if I could come up with some more questions, I would like to do this with you again.
PC: Yea, absolutely!
BGW: I’ll talk to you soon.
PC: I’ll see you later
My question from the AOL chat – Joe Elliott and Phil Collen 8/23/99
Question: Phil, why don’t you use your old guitars for the old songs. Like the Ibanez Destroyer for the Pyro songs, and the Collen archtop for the Hysteria era. Maybe even the Hysteria graphic Jackson 🙂 I have 7 Collen archtops and love them all!!
Phil Collen: I was going to bring the Bela Lugosi guitar out maybe in December and I have all my old guitars I’ve never gotten rid of them.
My question from the AOL chat – Rick Allen and Phil Collen 7/12/00
Question: Brooks from NJ here. Phil, will we possibly see any of your earlier Jackson models on this leg of the tour or any new PC1’s? Maybe the taxi yellow doubleneck?
Phil Collen: You know, all of my stuff has gone out already, but theres a new one – its a natural ash body PC1 and it rocks !!
Fender employee question asked @ NAMM 2003
Question: Any possibility of a solo project?
Phil Collen: NO, no Def Leppard is what it all is really.
My question asked @ NAMM 2003
Question: How do you determine what guitars you use for what songs?
Phil Collen: You have your favorite guitars for certain songs, they all have a different sound.
My question asked @ NAMM 2003
Question: Do you practice a lot?
Phil Collen: I play a lot, I really don’t practice. A lot of the Def Leppard songs involve singing, so its signing as much as guitar playing.