30 Years Ago: Def Leppard Guitarist Steve Clark Dies

In addition to relishing their drinking adventures, the two guitarists bonded on a deeper level.“We quickly became best friends,” Collen wrote. While Clark was in rehab, Def Leppard continued working on new songs. So Collen threw himself back into writing and playing, focusing intently on the band so he didn’t have to think about Clark’s death. Grit, Guts and Glory.See Def Leppard in the Top 30 Hair Metal Albums
Source: 30 Years Ago: Def Leppard Guitarist Steve Clark Dies
Filed Under: Def LeppardCategories: Longform, News Their intentions may have been good and their relationship was strong. The coroner’s report, I believe, read that it was due to a swelling of the brain.”Clark joined Def Leppard in 1978, a year after their formation, and was a key songwriter on the band’s biggest albums — 1983’s Pyromania and 1987’s Hysteria. Every morning he woke up shaking and had to go to a bar and drink until he stopped trembling. Janie began using again and Clark’s drinking escalated.From that point until the time Clark died, Collen said in his book that it was “almost impossible” to find out where Clark was and try to keep him out of trouble. 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. At the time of the Minneapolis incident, Clark’s blood alcohol level was 0.59, considerably higher than the 0.41 level that John Bonham registered when he died.Clark checked into a rehab center in Tucson, Arizona. In treatment Clark met another patient, Janie Dean, who was trying to kick heroin. For years he had been a functioning alcoholic, but he had developed a serious problem and his behavior had become erratic and unpredictable. Meanwhile, Clark's slot was filled in 1992 by former Dio guitarist Vivian Campbell, who remains in the band to this day.“In a way Steve didn’t have much choice in the matter,” wrote Collen. Like his bandmates, Clark celebrated the band’s success and the perks that came with it, especially free alcohol. Considering his unwillingness to get sober and the ease with which he could get drugs and alcohol, perhaps Clark’s death was inevitable, as tragic as it was. He was given a leave of absence from Def Leppard for six months, and was promised that his slot in the group would be waiting for him when he was healthy. We could get into deep conversations that would last for hours.”When Collen quit drinking in the late ‘80s he realized Clark was spinning out of control. Then, in the winter of 1989, several members of the band were in a studio when their co-manager Peter Mensch called to tell them that Clark was found unconscious at a bar in Minneapolis and had been rushed to a nearby hospital, Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center.The band flew to Minneapolis and a doctor at the hospital urged them to admit Clark to rehab. “He had been drinking and he cracked a rib earlier on,” Collen wrote in his biography Adrenalized. We also found that we loved each other’s company. During the time Pyromania was blowing up, Clark and Collen became known as “the terror twins,” because of their drunken antics and the pranks they pulled on other musicians. Grieved and angered, Collen quit the band, but vocalist Joe Elliott convinced him that Clark, who was ashamed about his severe alcoholism, wouldn’t have wanted Def Leppard to break up because of him. When they both got finished the program the two agreed to hang out and help one another with their addictions. “It wasn’t just the guitar playing or extreme boozing. “He was surrounded by drink most of his life. 8, 1991, Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen received a phone call from his manager Cliff Burnstein, bearing news he had been dreading for close to five years. He was 30 years old.An autopsy revealed the Clark died from an unintentional overdose of alcohol, Valium and Codeine. They quickly fell in love and got engaged. “The doctor told him not to drink while taking his pain medication. Steve’s dad was a taxi driver and I think Steve was always trying to prove he was worthy of his rock star status … Steve had to prove his manhood to his dad all the time, that he had the values of a Sheffield steelworker underneath his golden splendor.”Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn is the author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends, co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, as well as the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax, and Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen and the Agnostic Front book My Riot! They had already overcome the tragic car accident, in which drummer Rick Allen lost an arm, and now Clark was no longer with them. At one point, he went on a bender in Paris and wound up in a hospital with alcohol poisoning. He drank anyway. Shortly after he died, Clark was buried at Wisewood Cemetery in Loxley, Sheffield, near his family’s estate.Losing Clark was devastating for Def Leppard. But just as quickly, they started enabling each other. Jon WiederhornUpdated: January 8, 2021Peter Still, Redferns / Getty ImagesShare on FacebookShare on TwitterOn the morning of Jan. His best friend, co-guitarist Steve Clark, had died while sleeping on a couch.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *