Def Leppard's Phil Collen fuels Tesla's creativity

Phil Collen
Phil Collen

Tesla’s Frank Hannon says Def Leppard axeman Phil Collen brings “passion, creativity, energy and open-mindedness” to the band’s songwriting sessions for their next record.

The guitarist says Collen – who is producing their follow-up to 2014’s Simplicity – inspires the band while they write and record on the road, backstage at shows and in hotel rooms on their US trek.

Hannon tells My Global Mind: “I can tell you it’s been really great to have Phil on board as a musician and not a business person. He has such a passion for Tesla and fan of the band.

“We’ve had a great relationship with him as we have been friends for 30 years since the Hysteria Tour. When Tesla got back together in 2000 after eight years apart, we did a comeback CD called Into the Now.

“I wanted Phil to come in at that point as I had done some dates with Def Leppard in my solo band. It’s really great to me that we are all working together. It’s like you have a great team but if you don’t have the right person motivating the team, the team doesn’t do well. Phil is that right coach.”

He adds: “He brings creative ideas, energy, and his sense of melody. He also brings openness, trying not to limit us. For example, some of the guys in the band would never consider playing blues, but Phil suggested that we try a blues jam and it came out great.

“It’s that type of open mindedness that he brings as a musician. When you have a guy like that working as your producer it helps foster more creativity.”

Tesla are currently touring the US with Def Leppard and REO Speedwagon.

Welcome Back: Tesla

Def Leppard, Tesla and REO Speedwagon tour dates 2016

May 17: Allentown PPL Center, PA
May 18: Huntington Big Sandy Superstore Arena, WV
May 20: Orlando Amway Center, FL(no REO Speedwagon)
Jun 22: Boston Xfinity Center, MA
Jun 24: Bangor Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, ME
Jun 25: Quebec City Centre Videotron, QC
Jun 27: Syracuse Lakeview Amphtheatre, NY
Jun 29: Hershey Hershey Park Stadium, PA
Jul 01: Indianapolis Klipsch Music Center, IN
Jul 02: Chicago Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, IL
Jul 05: Cincinnati Riverbend Music Center, OH
Jul 06: Milwaukee Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI
Jul 08: Pittsburgh First Niagara Pavilion, PA
Jul 09: Grand Rapids Van Andel Arena, MI
Jul 11: Wantagh Nikon at Jones Beach, NY
Jul 13: Holmdel PNC Bank Arts Center, NJ
Jul 15: Detroit DTE Energy Music Theatre, MI
Jul 16: Toronto Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, ON
Aug 06: MadisonAlliant Energy Center, WI
Aug 08: Evansille Ford Center, IN
Aug 10: Bristow Jiffy Lube Live, VA
Aug 12: Atlanta Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, GA
Aug 13: Raleigh Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, NC
Aug 17: Birmingham Oak Mountain Amphitheater, AL
Aug 19: Austin 360 Amphitheatre, TX
Aug 22: Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, TX
Aug 24: Dallas Gexa Energy Pavilion, TX
Aug 26: Kansas City Sprint Center, MO
Aug 27: ST Louis Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, MO
Aug 29: Cleveland Blossom Music Center, OH
Aug 31: Darien Center PAC, NY
Sep 14: Billings Metrapark Arena, MT
Sep 16: Salk Lake City USANA Ampitheater, UT:
Sep 17: Denver Pepsi Center, CO
Sep 19: Albuquerque Isleta Amphitheatre, NM
Sep 20: Phoenix Ak-Chin Pavilion, AZ
Sep 22: Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, CA
Sep 24: Sacramento Toyota Amphitheatre, CA (no Tesla)
Sep 25: Mountain View Shoreline Amphitheatre, CA
Sep 28: Boise Taco Bell Arena, ID
Sep 30: Eugene Matthew Knight Arena, OR
Oct 01: Tacoma Tacoma Dome, WA
Oct 04: Omaha CenturyLink, NE
Oct 05: Minneapolis Xcel Center, MN
Oct 07: La Crosse La Crosse Center Arena, WI
Oct 08: Toledo Huntington Center, OH
Oct 10: Cedar Rapids US Cellular Center, IA

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.