Collen Talks New Manraze Single, Album

By Jeff Owens

June 1, 2011

Cover of new Manraze single "Over My Dead Body."

“Over My Dead Body,” the decidedly glam-metal-ish new single from forthcoming Manraze album Punkfunkroostrock, debuted on iTunes on Tuesday, May 31. If the guitar sound rings a bell for Jackson fans, that’s because the London trio is the brainchild of Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen.

Seeking a stripped-down trio that harkened back to raw-but-glittery ’70s-era glam rock, Collen formed Manraze in 2004 with bassist Simon Laffy, an old friend from pre-Lep band Girl, and Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook. The trio released debut album Surreal in 2008; second album Punkfunkroostrock is scheduled for an August 2011 release.

And if Collen appears to be channeling the ghost of Mick Ronson in his work with Manraze, that’s entirely deliberate—as a devoted fan of early-’70s Bowie, it always shows up in his playing.

“I absolutely love that era,” Collen told metal website Noisecreep. “Along with bands like Mott the Hoople, the New York Dolls—there was such powerful music that shaped my playing (that) it’s impossible to keep it out of the room. But then we add our own style to it and a Manraze sound emerges. We are so proud of this new record.”

All three Manraze musicians attribute much of the 12-song album’s raw excitement and energy to its amazingly quick genesis. It took a mere two weeks to record—quite an unusual feat in a modern metal world where even pre-production often drags on for months.

“Twelve tracks in 11 days—that was a real roller-coaster ride,” Laffy told Noisecreep. “Very exciting, demanding, inspiring for all of us. We had to think on our feet and hit our marks as soon as the record button was pressed.”

In conjunction with the release of Punkfunkroostrock, Manraze will play several summer live dates during breaks in the Def Leppard tour. That makes Collen a very busy musician, but he couldn’t be more delighted.

“We feel like kids just cranking out the music we love,” he said. “There’s a message in this for young bands: Play what’s in your heart. Don’t over-think it all. Just play with passion and have fun. It’s amazing what happens when you do that.”