Def Leppard’s Phil Collen previously had to take a break from the band’s tour with Journey due to a family emergency, and now he has officially confirmed what happened. During an appearance on Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon he revealed his wife actually almost died while giving birth to their son.
Collen said the following:
“Helen, my wife [of eight years], was giving birth to our son, but there was real bad complications — she actually died and they brought her back to life, and internal bleeding and just craziness,” Collen revealed (hear audio below). “This isn’t common knowledge, but it is now. So I was actually on tour, and when this happened, I obviously had to go to California. So I flew out there. [Trixter’s] Steve [Brown] actually was coming to the show anyway. And I said, ‘Steve, I know you know Viv’s parts.’ He sings great; he can do all of this stuff. So he learned my parts, and my vocal parts, which is more serious than the guitar parts, I think. In our band, we have backing vocals — it’s an instrument.
“When Steve [Clark, late DEF LEPPARD guitarist] passed away, we actually said, ‘We want somebody who’s gonna fit in with us and someone who can sing,’ and a lot of guitar players can’t actually sing,” he explained. “With Steve [Brown], he can sing like a champ — he knows all Joe’s [Elliott, DEF LEPPARD singer] parts even; he sings amazing and he’s a great guitar player. So it was a no-brainer. And I said, ‘Can you step in for me?’ Everyone was cool; they said, ‘Go.’ I went, and everything was fine. Everything is great now. Little Jackson was born. He’s doing great, and Helen is doing great, and I’m back out on tour. Yeah, thanks to Steve; he really kind of saved the day there. That was wonderful.”