Def Leppard's Phil Collen: Tom Cruise Calls 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' a Classic
"It's going to be a huge year for us. I definitely have a lot to talk about today," laughs Def Leppard's Phil Collen. Noisecreep is hanging with the melodic rock guitar hero discussing the band's upcoming 2012 schedule when talk about a certain movie star comes up.
"We've got the 'Rock of Ages' movie coming out which stars Tom Cruise. He's singing 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' in the film. We actually got to see him film the scene. Def Leppard was on tour in Florida and someone involved with the movie called and invited us to come down to the shoot. It was awesome to see that process.
In 'Rock of Ages' (out June 12), Cruise plays Stacee Jaxx, the lead singer of a band called Arsenal. The star goes full-on '80s for the film, sporting a wig and stage clothes that wouldn't look out of place in a vintage Warrant or Ratt video. Cruise also handles his own vocal parts in the movie, a task that impressed Collen and his Def Leppard bandmates.
"I can't wait till people hear him. The guy did a great job. He's doing my vocal part, Joe's part – all of them! This is someone who has never sung before. He was doing that thing that a lot of method actors do when they take on a role. They get into character completely. He told us he was taking five hours a day, five days a week, for four to five months, just to get the vocal aspect of the role down. That was fantastic to hear," says Collen, who also is the frontman and guitarist in Manraze, a killer power trio that features Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols on drums.
Collen was humbled when the Hollywood icon praised their late '80s party anthem. "I was really pleased with how down-to-earth Tom was. He was very humble and actually told us how he thought 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' was an absolute classic. He said it deserved all of the respect and attention he can give it. So we were definitely honored."
'Rock of Ages' is a love story that takes place on the Sunset Strip during its '80s hair metal glory days. Oh yeah, it's also a musical. "I had the chance to catch the Broadway version of the musical and it was a lot of fun. It's campy and kitschy, and it captures that time period so well. It's not like a Spinal Tap kind of thing where they're making fun of it, but they do have some fun with it. It has a 'Glee' and 'High School Musical' feel, but set on the Sunset Strip. I guess you can say it's like 'West Side Story' done with songs from the '80s."
The original 'Rock of Ages' musical debuted in Los Angeles in 2006, and went on to become a huge Broadway hit. "The musical was named after one of our songs, so it's great for us. I think they also have the song 'Bringin' on the Heartbreak' in there as well. We're actually going to be back on tour around when the movie is out, and it would be a lot of fun to get some of the other bands featured in 'Rock of Ages' out with us.
"Nothing has been finalized yet, but apparently Poison will be joining us – at least according to Bret Michaels, who has been telling everyone that they'll be touring with us this year [laughter]. We went out with Poison in 2009, and we all had so much fun. If it does end up happening like that, I would love for the third band to be someone like Twisted Sister, since they're also in the new movie. I think that would make for a great lineup!"