Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pre-Show Interview: Def Leppard

Posted By on Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 11:00 AM


When Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen had his arm amputated after a 1984 car accident, plenty of people told him he’d never drum again. He still bristles as he recalls one particular doctor who wasn’t very encouraging about the prospect of continuing to play with one of the world’s most popular arena rock acts. “It was horrible, he says. "Initially, my mind tricked me into thinking there was nothing wrong, and then it broke me in gently. It was like, ‘NASA, we have a problem.’

"Then you go through the grieving process and that spreads to the whole family and beyond. That’s awful. I remember this one junior doctor coming in and telling me I would never wave again. The first time I saw him when I was in outpatient, I waved to him. Sometimes, when someone tells you can’t do something, you do the opposite. Another night, he came in and told me I would never drum again. I was like, ‘Dude, you’re killing me. Give me a break.’ Obviously, it worked out. Maybe in some strange way, he had something to do with my recovery.”

With the assistance of a specially designed drum kit, Allen didn’t miss a beat (pun intended) and has carried on with Def Leppard. When he comes to Blossom this Thursday with his band, it won’t just be to blow the roof off the pavilion. It’s also an opportunity for him to promote the Raven Drum Foundation, a charity organization that reaches out to others who have suffered similar injuries.

He and his wife Lauren Monroe started the Foundation in 2001 and have used it as a way to help everyone from veterans dealing with similar injuries to anyone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Allen will meet donors during a meet-and-greet held backstage before the show (find more info about that here).

“It’s a fantastic way for me to share my experience,” says Allen. “Lauren helped me find the language for what it was that I went through. The drum is a fantastic vehicle. It’s such an ancient form. If we go back to the not-too-distant past, we realize there was a drum circle that enabled some form of communication. It was there for us to support one another, whether that be bringing in life or mourning the loss. This [injury] has become a fantastic two-way street. I can share my experience, but what I get back in return is ten-fold.” —Jeff Niesel

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

More by Michael Gallucci

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation