The Lesson of Rick Allen

I’ve been going back through the musical archives lately, and if you’re in – or close to – my particular age bracket (or maybe younger, and I’ll explain why in a moment) the name of Rick Allen might just ping a memory. It might also be immediately recognizable. If you know, you know.

You see, Rick is the Drummer for Def Leppard. The band was pretty hard to evade back in the 80’s and early 90’s. It was arguably the time of the peak of their popularity and they got a lot of radio play.

Is the name ringing a bell yet?

Back on the cusp of 1985, Rick was in a car accident that severed his left arm. You’d think that would be the end of a drummer’s career, especially a rock and roll drummer.

But Rick wasn’t willing to hang up the drumsticks just yet…

So he worked with a drum company and, over the next two years, (The album Hysteria – which debuted the new drum setup came out in 1987) Rick learned to play most of the drums with his feet and custom pedals.

(Sidebar: Before the new drum setup, Rick tried playing the drums with the nub of his severed arm – which is one of the most Metal things I’ve heard about this year)

In the weeks leading up to the release, Hysteria generated a lot of buzz. Myself, I was really looking forward to seeing what it would be like.

Hysteria was a big album for the band. And it showed not only extraordinary resilience among the band, but also Rick’s determination to rise above his injury.

Def Leppard are still touring to this day and Rick Allen is still Def Leppard’s drummer, and the god of Thunder has lost none of his potency. Because they are still touring, there are younger fans discovering them and their back catalogue and there may be folk out there who are much younger than I am who have looked into Rick’s past to discover for themselves about Def Leppard’s one-armed drummer.

Here’s hoping that they take from Rick’s lesson what I did.

Support from your circles is crucial. Take a different angle at tackling an obstacle.

Never give up.

Thanks for reading. Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Thursday.


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Crimson Whisper: A Wainwright and Holliday Adventure

Weird Wild West


Grease Monkeys

Predators in Petticoats