Rick Allen Recalls The Time He Suffered From PTSD

Def Leppard’s inspiring drummer Rick Allen gave an interview to Joe Black during which he remembered the times he had PTSD.

Rick Allen joined Def Leppard at the age of 15 on November 1, 1978. Six years after joining the band, Allen had a horrible car crash and hit a stone wall. His left arm was severed, and although doctors tried to reattach Allen’s arm, it got infected, and they had to remove it again.

Despite losing one of his arms, Allen wanted to continue playing drums with Def Leppard. However, it was not that easy as playing drums requires using both hands. To help him play drums again, Def Leppard made a special drum kit for Allen. With this drum kit, Rick managed to use his left leg in place of his missing arm.

Since that day, Rick Allen has continued to play drums for Def Leppard, thanks to his bandmates’ efforts and dedication. However, the tragic incident affected the drummer’s mental health as well. Due to that, he has been struggling with PTSD for a long time. As a mental health advocate, Allen also supports other people who have PTSD.

In the interview, Joe Black talked with Rick Allen about his upcoming art exhibit on November 20 and 21 and asked him the spiritual reflections seen on his artwork. As a response, Allen said that he suffers from PTSD due to the car crash, and sometimes it can be pretty challenging for him. He then said he gets anxious when triggered, and art helps him since it is very therapeutic. Following that, the drummer talked about the symbology in his art and said they reflect his spiritual practice.

In the interview by Joe Black, Rick Allen said:

“I don’t know whether too many people know this, but through my accident, I suffer from PTSD, which can be very challenging sometimes. If I’m triggered, I can get anxious, and what I’ve found is that the artwork is actually really therapeutic.

There’s some of the symbology that you see that’s just part of my still spiritual practice. You know, you’ll see that come up throughout the art collection where there’s sort of little touchstones, me growing up in England, the telephone boxes, and the buses, and that kind of things. And then in 1980, I came over to America and experienced America firsthand as opposed to through TV shows. Then a lot of the symbology from America started to come up.”

You can watch the rest of the interview below.