Fan Letters Motivated Def Leppard’s Rick Allen To Continue Playing Drums
via Modern Drummer Official/YouTube
He Says He “Got Encouragement From Everywhere”
Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen turned a tragic accident into an awe-inspiring story of resilience. It was on December 31, 1984 when he was driving his Corvette C4 with then-girlfriend Miriam Barendsen. He lost control and hit a dry stone wall. Because his safety belt wasn’t properly fastened, he got thrown from his car and was left with a severed arm.
Even though he lost his arm, he didn’t stop playing for Def Leppard. Instead, he used a custom-made electronic drum kit but of course, he had to re-learn how to play drums again.
In a new interview with Modern Drummer, Allen shared that one of the things that kept him going were the fan letters he received.
He recalls the life-changing experience, “I remember coming around in the hospital and then realizing what had happened to me after the accident, and honestly, I wanted to disappear. I didn’t wanna do this anymore. And then I started getting these letters from all over the world… I got encouragement from everywhere — from my family, from the guys [in the band], from people all over the world. And I don’t know what happened, but I discovered the power of the human spirit and just said, ‘You know what? I can do this.’ It was really a collective thing. It was all this encouragement I was getting from other people, and then it just manifested in wanting to succeed. And that’s exactly where it came from.”
And Allen also shared how his bandmates never left him during that rough period. They stuck by him, supported him all the way, and waited for him to recover and be ready to rock it out behind the kit again.
He says, “They left the decision to me, whether I wanted to go on or not, and they gave me time to grow and develop, really, a whole new style. And that’s all I needed — I just needed the time. I needed the time to build my confidence and realize that I could do it. Nobody ever said, ‘Well, you have to make a decision now.’ I think that was the most important thing — just that time that they gave me just to find myself.”
Check out the rest of the interview below.