Rick Allen Recalls The Most Important Thing His Def Leppard Bandmates Did After The Accident
Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen spoke to Forbes to share what he went through after the tragic accident in which he lost his left arm. In addition, the drummer expressed his thoughts and feelings about the incident and his bandmates’ behaviors toward him during that challenging process.
Unfortunately, on December 31, 1984, Rick Allen had a tragic car accident with his then-girlfriend Miriam Barendsen while they were traveling together. He couldn’t control his car due to high speed and had to enter a field after he had hit a stone wall. Even though Allen was immediately taken to the hospital, and they reattached his severed arm, it ultimately had to be amputated because of a severe infection.
It was such a tragic loss for Rick Allen that he wanted to quit his career as a professional drummer, but later he realized that he could relearn how to play the drums by using only his right arm and legs. Thus, the drummer collaborated with Simmons to design a custom electronic drum kit. Allen stated that Def Leppard members always supported him while recovering from PTSD and trying to get used to living with one arm.
Def Leppard didn’t want to continue without their drummer and went on a hiatus until Allen fully recovered. In his latest interview, Allen opened up about his suffering, saying that it was too hard to eliminate all his negative thoughts, and added that his friends and bandmates respected Allen’s decision. Several times, he thought how hard it was not to have anyone give him first-hand advice.
Rick Allen remembered these times saying:
“I don’t think people really understood what I was going through, the level of suffering. I tended to paint a rosy picture, act as if everything was okay. If I did that, everything would be okay. As a 21-year-old, it wasn’t on my radar to be in this situation. I was still full of dreams, tons and tons of energy. Having a car accident, especially one that took my arm, was not part of what I signed up for.
The most important thing the guys did was give me time to make a decision as to whether I wanted to continue to play or not. The time that they gave me to me, and to play, and play, and play, and play, was very valuable. Finally, it was my decision. I remember saying years ago that it’s not like I could consult with a book called, ‘One-Armed Drummers.’ Everything I did I had to figure out for myself.”
Fortunately, Rick Allen decided to go back to his career as a drummer, and his effort and passion for creating music were appreciated by his family, friends, and fans. The drummer is currently considered one of the most successful and talented musicians in the world.