“Steve was just such a different kind of player.”

Read an excerpt from Phil Collen’s book Adrenalized: Life, Def Leppard and Beyond where the guitarist talks fondly of his late friend Steve Clark:

Steve Clark and I liked each other, but we played guitar very differently. We had drastic styles. Listening to Pyromania it was obvious that a guitar orchestra was on hand. To be quite honest, you’d need at least four guitar players to get most of this stuff done. So it was important that we work together. Rehearsals were the beginning of our deep friendship and concepts for a new style of guitar playing.

Steve’s favourite guitar player was Jimmy Page. I always felt that the genius of Jimmy Page wasn’t his lead playing per se but total depth in arrangements and production. People often get confused about Jimmy Page’s role. Steve didn’t, so he would come up with these wonderful guitar lines that I hadn’t heard before. They weren’t standard, but totally unique.

Even though Steve and I had known each other for a few years, when we lived together on tour we quickly became best friends. It wasn’t just the guitar playing or extreme boozing – we both found that we were soaking up all that we could and learning more on the road than we had ever learned at school, with a healthy appetite for new and exciting cultural discoveries. We also found that we loved each other’s company. We could get into deep conversations that would last for hours.

It was also on this tour that Phil Wilkie, our stage monitor engineer, came up with the term ‘the Terror Twins’ for Steve and me.

As I vaguely remember it, we had invited Phil out with us for an evening of drinking on one of our nights off on the tour, but he said to us, ‘I ain’t going out with you two – the Terror Twins.’ And so the legend was born. Needless to say Steve and I got into countless episodes of skulduggery and mayhem Unfortunately, I was drinking at the time, so my memory serves no purpose here. You’ll probably be better off Googling our antics and telling me about them. If we’ve offended anyone, I sincerely apologize.

Both our lives were changing in massive ways, and we were going through it together, like brothers. We cracked up watching Spinal Tap together after Spandau Ballet made us watch it. We talked about our childhoods. We explored places like Paris and Munich, soaking up as much culture as we could. And we tried to make sense of the fact that the lives we’d known were now fading as we sailed toward something much bigger and unknown. We also explored where we could go with our music.

One day Steve said to me, ‘Phil, I’ve always felt this thing. Jimmy Page kind of does it, and Brian May kind of does it, but instead of doing harmony guitars like Thin Lizzy or The Allman Brothers, what if we did a more orchestral approach together, meshing our guitars in a whole new way? Almost like keyboards might interact.’ And that would eventually become the Def Leppard sound an album [Hysteria] later.

Like I said, Steve was just such a different kind of player. Honestly he was. Totally unique and unencumbered by rules or anything. He was a lot like Jimmy Page, in my opinion. Page would have these ideas that were very orchestral it really defined his sound. He used very complicated themes, and exotic textures and melodies.

The Terror Twins