Phil Collen Describes Gross Hand Injury That Threatened Def Leppard Tour


Professional musicians who lift weights may not all realize who they put their careers on the line every time they go to the gym. 

If Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen didn't know that before suffering a gruesome hand injury in 2015, he certainly knows it now. 

"My knuckle tore off the bone a couple of years ago," Collen told Q104.3 New York's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke in an interview alongside G3 tour mates John Petrucci and Joe Satriani. "I do kickboxing training. I think it was just constant left hooks, it kind of started weakening it over the years, and just lifting too heavy. I got in a [boxing] ring once. I just put my hand down with a boxing glove and it just kind of squelched. I was like, 'Oh?' And then I (moved that finger), and the tendon was going (in the wrong direction). The finger was just clicking back."

The timing couldn't have been worse, Collen recalls, as Def Leppard was about to start a European tour. The guitarist says he lived with the injury until realizing during rehearsal that he couldn't play like he normally does.

"So I limped through the tour and we had all these great guitar players opening up," he said. "There was Whitesnake, so Reb Beach was playing. And the obviously John Noorum from Europe. So I was giving disclaimers — and Slash was there — I said, 'If you hear anything strange, it's this (showing his hand)!' So I had to have it stitched back on."

Collen and another guitar-playing weight-lifting enthusiast, Petrucci, say they traded safety tips while on tour together with Satriani. 

"One time in Vegas, I was in the same time as Phil, and you definitely do an intense workout," Petrucci said. "It's very cool. But we're always talking about how not to injure yourself as a guitar player, which happens. How you have to be careful.

You can watch the exchange in the video above.

Collen is back on tour with Def Leppard this summer. The guitarist rushed home to California after a few dates to be with his wife when she gave birth to their first child together. 

Drummer Rick Allen later reported that everything with the birth went well, and both mother and child are healthy. Collen returned to the road after about a week.  

"Now that Phil's back, everybody feels back in the saddle," Allen said. "Everything's fine. He's got a beautiful son, so everything went really well."

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Photo: Getty Images

Phil Collen Describes Gross Hand Injury That Threatened a Tour


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