Adrenalized: Life, Def Leppard, and Beyond Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
A revelatory and redemptive memoir from the lead guitarist of the legendary band Def Leppard - the first book ever written by one of its members - chronicling the band's extraordinary rise to superstardom and how they've maintained it for three decades.
Meet Phil Collen. You may know him as the lead guitarist in Def Leppard, whose signature song "Pour Some Sugar on Me" is still as widely enjoyed as when it debuted in 1988. Maybe you've heard of him as the rock star who gave up alcohol and meat more than 25 years ago. Most likely you've seen him shirtless - in photos or in real life - flaunting his impeccably toned body to appreciative female fans.
But it wasn't always like this. Collen worked his way up from nothing, teaching himself guitar from scratch as a teenager by imitating his heroes. He slogged it out in London-based pub bands for years, long before Def Leppard formed and transformed from unknowns to icons (all thanks to a little album called Pyromania), from playing openers in near-empty arenas to headlining in those same stadiums and selling them out every night. But as Collen discovered, true overnight success is a myth. Like the other band members, he had to struggle and fight his way to the top; in the end, he says, "Our work ethic saved us." Just as it still does.
This is Collen's story, starting with his first real taste of success and wild rock and roll excess as a member of the seminal glam rock outfit Girl. But once he joins Def Leppard, it's also an amazing underdog tale featuring a bunch of ordinary working-class lads who rose to megastardom, overcoming incredible obstacles - such as drummer Rick Allen losing an arm in a car crash and the tragic death of guitarist Steve Clark, Phil's musical soul mate, who lost his fight with alcoholism. Adrenalized is a fascinating account of the failures, triumphs, challenges, and rock-hard dedication it takes to make dreams come true.
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|Listening Length||6 hours and 46 minutes|
|Author||Phil Collen, Chris Epting - contributor|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 27, 2015|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #132,518 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#786 in Music (Audible Books & Originals)
#2,059 in Rock Band Biographies
#2,515 in Rock Music (Books)
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Top reviews from the United States
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“Adrenalized” doesn’t begin as interestingly as it ends. Collen’s retelling of his childhood felt like a book report, an obligatory section to get out of the way before the more glamorous rock ‘n’ roll parts. In my view, he could have added an exciting adolescent story or two to spice things up. But the tale heats up quickly when the guitarist hooks up with Girl, his first notable band. Collen was wild in his early years, taking drugs and drinking with abandon. Unlike many rock stars, however, he doesn’t revel in this aspect of his life today, saying plainly in the book that he never intended to write about such debauchery when he was practicing it. Collen tells a few wild stories and offers more than enough background info to give readers the general idea: “Rock and roll is no safety net,” as Def Leppard themselves once conveyed on the great “High ‘n’ Dry” album.
Reading about Collen’s relationship with the deceased Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark, who was his best friend, is one of the coolest parts of “Adrenalized.” These guys were hardcore partiers, but they also had deep conversations and looked at life and music way beyond the constricted boundaries of a studio. For instance, at the start of Chapter 3, Collen talks about how he and Clark were awakened inside by the beauty and art of Paris, where they lived. One recurring theme from Collen in “Adrenalized” is on the dumbing down of society that is so prevalent, thanks to so many pointless distractions everywhere. Back in the 1980s, Clark and Collen observed this phenomenon for the first time in their lives and made efforts to enter into a “third dimension” of life to try to sidestep all its inanities. This may sound like a pretentious attitude, but I actually admire these guys for having such a mature outlook so young, when they were unattached rock stars who could have been completely self-indulgent.
Of course, Collen has spent a great part of his life in the entertainment industry contributing to what some might say is the watering down of society. He knows this, which I think is partly why he spends the other half of his life living and thinking the way he does. My view is that Collen is way more authentic than most multimillionaire celebrities, but thankfully he’s not preachy or condescending about his cleaned-up lifestyle.
Like many of these types of books, Collen’s life becomes a jet setting whirlwind after Def Leppard’s popularity hits its apex, a series of relationships, travels, kids, heartbreak, and joys. The writing is a bit scattered at times, moving from one topic to the next at breakneck speed. Collen mentions that the Leppard album “Slang” could have been enhanced with a bit more focus on the songs. I disagree because I think that album is perfect, but I would apply the same principle to his book: Collen could have put more work into his life story to make it really stand out. One huge disappointment is that he talks little about the personalities of his bandmates. What is his relationship like with Rick Savage, for instance? Who in the band does he hang out with most and why? Perhaps he was being a gentleman to avoid friction, but Def Leppard fans want to know this stuff.
Ultimately, I’m a “microscopic pinpoint of existence in this universe,” as Collen describes himself in the last line of “Adrenalized.” Who am I to judge what he includes in his life story? Collen wrote a book, and it’s a darned interesting one that’s a bit different for a rock star. Maybe the next Def Leppard bio will dish on the entertainment side more to satisfy the masses, leaving the loftier stuff to Collen.
I was somewhat dreading the whole Steve Clark tragedy being discussed in here. But it was approached with just enough information and sensitivity without getting too deep and depressing. It does tend to jump back and forth through the time line, now and then. But even so I found it hard to put it down once I started reading. All in all, I found this an excellent book for anyone wanting to know more about this awesome guitar player.
I did enjoy the stories and behind the scenes stories, however, and read the book in one sitting.
Bottom line, if you are a true Def Lep fan, it's worth the read. If, however, you are looking for a gritty, booze-soaked, sex- and drug-filled rock star memoir, this isn't it. There are bits here and there, but nothing that will make your panties fly off.
The fact is this is painfully mediocre. No reflection on Phil, or Def Leppard. But as a rock and roll biography, it's mostly a waste of time. If you've read "Animal Instinct" by David Fricke, you won't need to read this. As other reviewers have noted it's short -- about 200 pages -- and pretty ho-hum in it's storytelling. Phil is not a writer, nor are his editors, apparently, as I lost track of how many times he punctuated a sentence with "all of a sudden" and "really" (as in "I really like that.")
I loved hearing him admit that "Adrenalize" sounded dated the moment it was released, and other off-hand quotes. But there's nothing really revelatory in this book that couldn't be gleaned by online surfing. I was expecting more about his lifestyle -- his diet, his exercise regime, some intimate stuff like that. Honestly, just a chapter about his personal workout would have made sense in his book, as he has become almost as well known for his incredibly healthy lifestyle. But that's relegated to some pithy "why kill animals" mantra of veganism. (No disrespect intended, but he didn't sound very convincing about his lifestyle change.)
The book came alive at the last chapter when he started asking the bigger questions and then, suddenly, just stopped. I finished the book wondering what I learned. I learned that he has had sex with a lot of women while being in relationships with other women. I learned that everyone agrees that he should write a book because he has an interesting life. I didn't learn a whole lot more.
At the end of the day it's hard not to notice this book came out at the same time as Def Leppard's most recent album. It's hard not to be cynical and suppose he felt rushed to put out this product to coincide with the album. Bummer. I think it would have been a much better book had he spent more time on it.
Top reviews from other countries
I think he comes across well, oddly enough the postscript section where he is talking more about his views on politics and human nature is one of the most interesting bits and a lot different to your usual music bio - perhaps more of this would have been interesting but I can also see how that would totally have put off someone just looking for background on Def Leppard.
So it's worth a look, I'm not a Leppard fan personally - if you are you could probably add another star to the review - but I think there's better examples of the type. To me the best music bios I've read are The Dirt, the David Lee Roth bio and Aerosmith's Walk This Way, this doesn't compete with them but it's still good.
Didn't like that it was a library book with appropriate evidence of same, which was not mentioned in the original seller description.
Doesn't delve deep enough.
I am a fan of his music so i suppose i wanted more than he was prepared to share which is fine.