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Worldwide sales for legendary rockers Def Leppard exceed 100 million copies, and the band’s longtime lead guitarist, Phil Collen, has put up some impressive numbers in the gym, too. Once guitar-neck skinny, Collen bench-pressed nearly 400 pounds in his prime and is now a lean and ripped 60-year-old, thanks to vegetarianism and rib-busting Muay Thai kicks. We caught up with Collen during the band’s recently launched 58-city tour with Journey.
More than 30 years later, Def Leppard’s Pyromania and Hysteria albums still hold up. Does that make you feel proud or old?
It’s awesome. I distinctly remember someone asking me when we were making Hysteria, “Why are you spending all this time and putting so much effort into this record?” And I said, “So you’ll be talking about it in 20 years’ time.” We wanted to make sure the songs were great and had lasting power.
Why are ’80s metal bands still popular?
Def Leppard never split up. We’ve had only one year off since I joined in ’82. There’s an integrity that goes with that.
What has your physical evolution been like from the ’80s to today?
I was stingy during the Pyromania days—I had zero muscle tone. I haven’t had meat in 35 years, and I haven’t had a drink in 31. That has had a huge impact. Now, at age 60, I could head-kick a guy who is 6’6″ without even warming up, because I constantly do all this stuff. There’s something to be said for consistency. You don’t have to go so hardcore, but you do have to do something. Otherwise, it’s like anything else. It’ll atrophy.
COLLEN’S HOTEL WORKOUT
No gym in sight? Be like Collen and perform five rounds of the following moves.
Pick up Def Leppard’s new box set, The Collection: Volume 1.