Phil Collen Recalls Def Leppard’s Plan To Make Rick Allen’s Return Easier

Following the release of their book, ‘Definitely: The Official Story of Def Leppard,’ Phil Collen recently chatted with Ultimate Classic Rock to look back at the band’s career and share what they had planned to ensure that Rick Allen felt at ease after his accident.

When the interviewer reminded the guitarist of the time they played with two drummers before the 1987 album ‘Hysteria’ album arrived, he said:

“It was all about making Rick [Allen] feel comfortable [after his accident]. Jeff Rich [from Status Quo], who Rick chose, it was just in case the electronic stuff broke down. Because we didn’t know back then.”

Collen further reflected on how it felt to perform with two drummers:

“Jeff missed one of the shows – he missed a flight and got there late, and Rick just carried on, and it was totally fine. The [shows with both drummers] were cool. It was a little bit weird. It was cool playing with two drummers, but it was even better when it was just Rick, obviously. It was like, ‘Ah, the gang’s back together!'”

In several interviews before, Rick Allen opened up about his bandmates, Collen and Joe Elliott’s support to him after his accident. They let the drummer take some time to decide whether he really wanted to continue playing. Allen eventually returned to performing with Def Leppard and recalled his first performance after his comeback in a video message last year:

“August 16th is the anniversary, not of the first Donington show we played. That was in 1980. But in 1986, which is 36 years ago, that was when I came back and played for tons of people. Joe and I said before the show, ‘Let’s not say anything; let’s just play it like a normal show.’ But there was a wave of anticipation that Joe would say something to the audience about me being there.

I remember him just stopping and saying, ‘Okay.’ [I felt it from] the audience, I felt it from my family, everybody that was there to support me. I just felt support; I felt overwhelming support from everybody there. It was pretty awesome, one of the best days of my life.”

So, when the band members realized that Allen could continue drumming by himself, they parted ways with Jeff Rich. Rick played his first major concert with the band after the car accident at the Monsters Of Rock Festival in 1986.