Thirty years after releasing one of the most popular rock albums of all time, Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen sits down with Jude Gold in the December 2017 issue of Guitar Player magazine to reminisce about how the 25-times-platinum album Hysteria came to be.
“With Hysteria, we always said we wanted to create Star Wars for the ears,” explains Collen. “When we set out to do the album, Mutt (Producer John Lange) said, ‘Let’s make a record we’re still talking about in 20 years.’”
In the feature, Collen sheds light on how they were able to get the shimmering clean chords found in the album’s title track.
“Mutt didn’t want the chords to sound strummed,” he explains. “He wanted all the notes to hit at once, like a keyboard-but not a keyboard, because that would have been lame. So, there are as many as five or six tracks for that simple guitar part. And then we doubled it. Mutt’s whole thing was creating ear candy, but never gratuitously.”
Collen also touches on one of his “lovely” Jackson PC1 signature models, similar to the Cracklejack finish Soloist he used during the recording of Hysteria.
“They’ve been in production now for about 20 years,” he says. “It’s a hybrid super-Strat, really, with DiMarzio pickups in thence and middle positions and a Jackson Sustainer/Driver in the neck position. My Floyd Rose tremolos are modded with titanium and brass hardware from FU-Tone, including titanium string blocks and saddles – all of which really make a difference in the sound.”
If you want to hear the audio from this interview, including in-depth breakdowns from Collen himself on how exactly the album’s guitar parts were created and tracked, check out Episode 56 of Jude Gold’s No Guitar Is Safe podcast here.
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