Fan Letters Inspired Def Leppard’s Rick Allen to Keep Drumming

Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen opened up about the 1984 car accident that took his left arm, noting in a new interview that fan letters motivated him to keep playing.

“I remember coming around in the hospital and then realizing what had happened to me after the accident, and honestly, I wanted to disappear. I didn’t wanna do this anymore,” he told Modern Drummer in a new video chat (via Blabbermouth). “And then I started getting these letters from all over the world.”

Watch Allen’s interview below.

The drummer’s infamous vehicle crash occurred on Dec. 31, 1984 near Sheffield, England. Def Leppard were still soaring on the success of their commercial breakout, 1983’s Pyromania — and with the support of his bandmates, Allen remained in the lineup, learning to play on a custom-built kit that triggered sounds with his left foot.

The drummer made his official stage return in August 1986, around a year before Def Leppard issued their blockbuster fourth LP, Hysteria. He’s remained with the band ever since.

In the Modern Drummer interview, Allen noted that he “got encouragement from everywhere,” including his family and bandmates. It was their enthusiasm that helped changed his mindset.

“I don’t know what happened, but I discovered the power of the human spirit and just said, ‘You know what? I can do this,'” he said. “It was really a collective thing. It was all this encouragement I was getting from other people, and then it just manifested in wanting to succeed. And that’s exactly where it came from.”

Allen recently took part in a tribute show to late Rush drummer Neil Peart, joining Carmine Appice, Foo FightersTaylor Hawkins and Red Hot Chili PeppersChad Smith, among others.

Powered by ProGo Productions

Def Leppard’s Phil Collen Shares His Most Cherished Prince Memory

Def Leppard‘s Phil Collen said he used to be hesitant about meeting his musical heroes, but a “cherished” introduction with Prince helped change his outlook.

The encounter took place during Prince’s Parade tour in 1986, when Collen and his bandmate Steve Clark were having dinner in Paris. Suddenly, Collen got a phone call from a friend, who happened to work the lights for Prince.

“He called me and said, ‘We’re doing a little club gig. You wanna come out to this tiny little jazz club?'” Collen told Ultimate Prince. “And I’m like, ‘Oh, fuck yeah!'” But Collen noticed that, as opposed to his arena shows, Prince wasn’t playing guitar at the club. So, Collen brought it up when they met between sets.

“He was so lovely and genuine and gentle and everything,” Collen recalled. “I shook his hand, you know, huge fan and all that. I asked him, ‘Why aren’t you playing guitar?’ He said, ‘It’s just on this tour. I’m gonna do it on the next one,’ stuff like that. And then he went and got a Fender Stratocaster and got onstage and played ‘Red House‘ by Jimi Hendrix – I thought that was just wonderful. It seemed like a little gift from him, so I cherished that moment.”

Even though Collen has achieved levels of multi-platinum success, the thought of getting to know Prince was a bit intimidating. “Whenever you get a chance to meet your idols, I’ve always been a little hesitant,” he said. “Because Jesus, supposing he’s a dickhead to me, gets out of the wrong side of the bed and he’s a real asshole.

“The three of my biggest idols: [Deep Purple‘s] Ritchie Blackmore is why I play guitar; Prince, love him, adore him, one of my favorites; and Sting, from the Police,” Collen noted. “I [initially] turned down a chance to meet Sting. I thought, ‘Okay, this is gonna be a bit weird.’ But then I had such positive interactions with all three of those people, that actually made it even more inspiring.”

Powered by ProGo Productions