Collen told SiriusXM that he was asked to visit Leppard’s recording studio to record some solos when he first joined the group. “Pete Willis wasn’t doing great. And um, Joe says to me, ‘Do you wanna come down, play some solo, some lead guitar on the new album?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ I knew the guys, so I was just helping a buddy out.” Collen became Leppard’s new guitarist after contributing solos to songs like “Photograph” and going on tour with them.
Pyromania would go on to become one of Leppard’s most well-known albums, giving birth to hits like “Rock of Ages” and “Foolin” while being held back from Michael Jackson‘s Thriller taking the top place on the American charts. Collen recalled that the opening performances of the tour were fantastic.
“It was definitely a pinch-yourself moment. We still had that mindset. We’re playing, you know, arenas selling them out. And we actually never stopped from that moment on. I wasn’t asked to join the band. We were just out and on tour”.
The band ultimately invited Collen to join the group 10 years ago, having already produced iconic albums like 1987’s Hysteria, according to vocalist Joe Elliott later in the interview.
Collen has benefited from it because the band is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Following their “Stadium Tour” of the United States last year, they are presently on the road with Motley Crue for “The World Tour.”