Def Leppard Guitarist Hits Out at ‘Derivative’ Modern Rock Bands, Says Foo Fighters Are ‘Offshoot of Nirvana’

The discussions about rock music being supposedly dead are heard all the time. Whether you agree with it or not, if you’re a rock fan, you’ll hear someone touching upon it. Although not technically dead, some famous musicians of the genre will occasionally say something on the matter. Recently, Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen discussed the issue, saying that there aren’t any new rock bands worth his attention.

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While visiting the Listen Next! podcast, Collen was asked about the bands that Deff Leppard would symbolically “pass the baton to” after retiring. He then answaered (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“I don’t know. I’m still waiting, actually. You hear a lot of stuff out there, but it’s few and far between. There’s a problem, I think, and I think it’s the TikTok and YouTube crowd.”

He elaborated:

“When bands or artists would write before, it would be because they wanted to an artist and wanted to express themselves and write songs and share them and go, ‘Wow. Check this out’, as opposed to, ‘Wow. Look at me. Please love me.'”

“I don’t wanna sound like an old dude, but that’s what I noticed. And I’m still waiting for someone like Prince or [Led] Zeppelin or something that has a bit more something to it. There’s very little stuff.”

“Metallica’s great; when you see ’em, there’s a big difference. Guns N’ roses are awesome. I don’t see that anymore; I don’t see that star power. I don’t see that kind of thing. So that’s what I’m waiting for. There hasn’t been any of that. Nirvana was… Obviously, Foo Fighters is an offshoot of Nirvana. And I love the Foo Fighters; I think they’re great. But when Nirvana came out, I was, like, ‘Woah, this is amazing.’ The Sex Pistols — amazing. But I’m just waiting — still waiting.”

After the interviewer reflected on the current status of festival headliners, explaining that there aren’t that many rock acts that could be headliners, Collen said:

“That question comes up quite a bit. People go, ‘What about this?’ And I don’t hear anything. I hear derivative stuff and stuff that’s not inspired. You wanna get inspired. So, yeah, I’m still waiting. It’s like in every genre of music. In hip-hop, it’s the same deal. You’re waiting to hear… Or R&B. You listen to the old R&B — you listen to Stevie Wonder, you listen to Marvin Gaye and stuff like that — nothing is like that anymore and that kind of soul and vibe and everything. I think we’ve kind of comfortably got into something else that doesn’t really demand that kind of excellence. It’s rare that that kind of talent comes along.”

Photo: Kevin Nixon (Phil Collen in Australia), Raphael Pour-Hashemi (FoosDublin210819-2 (48620472807) (cropped))

David Slavkovic

David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.

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