Collen’s Delta Deep began in tea shop

Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen has revealed his Delta Deep blues project took form when he heard a Wilson Pickett track in a tea shop.

The side-project features vocalist Debbi Blackwell-Cook, drummer Forrest Robinson and Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo, with guest spots from David Coverdale and Joe Elliott, plus lyrics co-written by Collen’s wife Helen.

He tells Glide: “Me, Helen and Debbi were in New Zealand having a break. We were in a tea store, a Wilson Pickett song came on the radio, and it just inspired something – just the vibe of it.

“We went back and wrote Miss Me, and that was the first song we actually got together on. All of a sudden we’ve got this sound, and we started writing more.”

The band recently performed their first live show. “It was almost a spiritual experience,” Collen reports.

“It sounded like the record, but it sounded like the first Van Halen album. It had that kind of feel. It reminded me of Led Zeppelin II a lot as well.

“But then, Debbi’s vocals sound somewhere between Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner. So you’ve got all this stuff coming together. We’d slip off into James Brown grooves and it was like, ‘Shit, where’s this coming from?’ It was just amazing.”

While Def Leppard remains Collen’s day job, he has much more musical exploring in his sights. “I’m only just getting started,” he insists. “I love Indian classical music, African rhythms, soul music, pop music. I think making a hybrid is a wonderful thing to do.”

Delta Deep’s self-titled debut is on sale now. (opens in new tab)

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (opens in new tab), a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories (opens in new tab) about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.