Rick Allen Credits Mutt Lange For Helping Him Recover And Get Back To Drumming


During a recent appearance on The Jeremy White Show, Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen reacted to the rare interview of their record producer Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange following his tragic accident. Apparently, Mutt was the first person who encouraged him to keep playing drums with the technique he has been using for the past few decades.

For those of you who may not recall, Rick Allen had an unfortunate accident when he was involved in a car crash with his then-girlfriend Miriam Barendsen on 31 December 1984. The horrible accident happened while he was trying to overtake another car at high speed and lost control of his Corvette C4. The vehicle hit a dry stone wall and entered a field.

His left arm was severed, and his doctors initially reattached the arm, hoping to save his music career. Unfortunately, the drummer’s arm was later amputated because of a severe infection which looked like the end of his music career at first glimpse. However, Allen was a strong person who got his bandmates’ full support for the recovery.

The rocker soon decided to continue playing drums with Def Leppard despite losing his arm thanks to a specially designed electronic drum kit. During a recent interview, it was revealed that the first person who supported Rick Allen not to let go of his bright future as a drummer was Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange, who worked with Def Leppard numerous times as their record producer.

Apparently, Mutt gave a special interview about Allen, which is unusual for him. The producer said that he visited the drummer in the hospital, where he realized that Allen was in a hopeless state and was trying to hide it. Since he believed that Allen could play the drums with a special technique, Mutt encouraged his friend to consider this option.

That conversation marked the moment Rick Allen realized that the accident wasn’t the end of his music career. According to him, Mutt took care of his mental state in the hospital by bringing him the food he needed as well as giving him the idea of having a special drum kit.

Lange’s statement about Rick follows:

“I could see that he was really down. He was trying to keep a pretty brave face but he was processed at that point, not knowing which limbs were going to work. Then I just mentioned to him that he could conceivably, if he could get his right hand to work again, he could actually play the drums by repeating the sounds on the top and the bottom.

As he lay there, he started doing just that thing with his limbs, and I could actually see almost a light shine in his eyes. He thought, ‘Yeah, that’s actually the one way out of it.’ Literary from that day on, in my perception, a few times I saw him, he had a call.

Then, I actually mentioned it to the band. I said to Peter Mensch, ‘Rick really could play. It’s just going to take time.’ We were going to record the album so he had a lot of recuperative time. Of course, nobody was discounting that but in the back of everyone’s minds, they weren’t quite ready to believe it.”

After seeing the footage, Rick said:

“That’s so cool because I just discovered that interview two days ago, and Mutt never gives interviews. So the fact that he was talking about it that way that he was, and I remember the meeting we had. He came to see me in the hospital. The hospital’s idea of vegetarian food was just kind of, ‘take the meat off.’

He came in and said, ‘You know Rick, we need to get you some real food.’ He actually got this Harry Krishna couple to come up from Watford. They came to the hospital and started cooking for me. It was fantastic because the entire hospital ward smelled like an Indian restaurant.

That was a huge step in the right direction toward my recovery. Mutt was very instrumental in making that happen. I’m eternally grateful to Mutt for doing that. And yes, I remember that conversation and that ‘aha!’ moment where the light bulb went on. I realized that ‘Yes, I can do this.’ That’s the power of the human spirit.”

You can watch the whole interview down below.