Def Leppard’s Rick Allen on Losing His Arm, “After my accident, it was really difficult to be around people…” – 2022

full in bloom: In a recent conversation with Appetite for Distortion, Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen talked about how he dealt with losing his arm after a car accident in 1984.


At first, I really didn’t want to do this. I wanted to disappear. After my accident, it was really difficult to be around people. I felt very self-conscious. I think my parents, and then family, just people, letters from all over the world, really carried me. And I think the best thing that the guys did in the band was give me time to really decide if I wanted to continue doing this. And once I discovered the power of the human spirit, I think that just kind of catapulted me into a different realm. It was like, “Oh, I can do this.” And then it was really a conscious decision to want to continue in my physical state and expose myself to judgment and ridicule. Like, the guy up on stage that’s different. But I think once you can get over that, then you’re really on the path. I think one of the things that was important for me was, I stopped comparing myself to how I used to be. And I stopped comparing myself to others and tried to really embrace how unique it was to play like this. And then it gave me a whole new sort of outlook on how people would receive this. And really, just any of the noise or anybody that wanted to be negative, it was like, you know… Just noise. And I didn’t pay attention to that.