Def Leppard’s Rick Allen Says Nobody Forced Him To Comeback After The Accident

Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen sat down with The Greg Hill Show, where he recalled the accident that led to losing one of his arms. During the discussion, he acknowledged that life presented him with an opportunity. Despite the challenges, he expressed gratitude to his bandmates for their support during the difficult times since none of them forced him to come back to the band after his accident. The drummer explained:

“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 [of playing]. 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.”

Allen Thought It Was The End Of His Career

Ultimately, Allen recovered and was able to play drums again within three months of the accident, and he has continued as the drummer for Def Leppard to this day.

Following the life-changing accident, Allen had to undergo the process of learning to play drums again, and drum manufacturer Simmons collaborated with him to create a new drum kit. Throughout this challenging period, the rocker received support from his bandmates, and despite the severity of the accident, he managed to overcome it.

Despite the support, he thought it would be the end of his career. During the same interview, he explained:

“I honestly thought that was it. When I finally realized that I’d actually lost my arm when I came around in hospital, I really didn’t wanna be here and I didn’t want to see anybody. I think the only person I wanted to see was my brother and my parents, but I just wanted to disappear. I felt so self-conscious. And then a friend of mine, [Robert John] ‘Mutt’ Lange, our producer, he came in to see me, and he just lifted me up, and he turned my attention to what I could do, whereas I was sort of obsessing on everything that I couldn’t do, and he really helped me really dig in and find the power of the human spirit and that’s what kind of lifted me out of it.”

How Allen Lost His Arm

On January 4, 1985, Allen was driving with his girlfriend in Sheffield, England when he attempted to overtake another car and ended up in an accident. During a sharp left turn, Allen lost control of his left-hand drive Corvette Stingray. The car flipped over and collided with a wall, causing his seatbelt to come undone and his left arm to be severed as he was thrown through the sunroof.

Several local helpers, a nurse, and a police officer stopped to assist. Although surgeons initially reattached the drummer’s arm, it had to be amputated due to an infection. The drummer was discharged from the hospital on January 29 and rejoined the band at Wisseloord Studios in Holland on February 22.

You can watch the interview below.