Basic Background Info
Richard John Cyril Allen talked his parents into buying him his first drum set--a blue sparkle Del-Ray kit--at the age of ten. It was a step above his mother's kitchen utensils and a tambourine that he had been abusing since the age of five. Rick Allen convinced his parents to purchase the kit, promising to take lessons and pay for half the cost of it. After just six months of lessons, Rick Allen began playing with his first band, Smokey Blue. Later, Rick Allen played with the bands Rampant and the Johnny Kalendar Band.
When Rick Allen was just fifteen, his mother replied to an ad placed by Def Leppard to replace ex-drummer Frank Noon. Rick Allen didn't answer the ad himself, and he was just about ready to give up on drumming. On November 26, 1978, Rick Allen joined Def Leppard. In 1979, Rick Allen dropped out of school to concentrate on his music career. In September of that year, Def Leppard opened for Sammy Hagar. They also performed as a supporting act for AC/DC in October and November of the same year. On March 14, 1980, the band released their first album, 'On Through the Night.' They followed up the next year with 'High n' Dry.' In 1983, Def Leppard released 'Pyromania,' which launched the group into superstardom.
On New Years Eve 1984, while driving under the influence near Sheffield UK, Allen's Corvette lifted off the road, passed over a stone wall, and landed in a field. Allen was ejected from the car and his left arm was severed. Doctors did their best to reattach the limb, but it was later removed due to infection.
With the help of electronic drum manufacturer Simmons, Rick Allen developed an electronic drum kit that could be played with only one arm. His kit includes drum pads placed to his front and to his right, as well as multiple pedals arranged for use with his left foot. Both the pads and pedals trigger samples from acoustic drum kits. Allen's first show after the accident was a well received set at the Monsters of Rock Festival at Castle Donington in 1986.
In August 1987, Def Leppard released their fourth album, Hysteria. Despite a slow start in the United States, the album eventually sold over 15,000,000 copies. Rick Allen and Def Leppard have since released six more albums, the latest being the cover album 'Yeah!' in 2006.
Rick Allen's current drum kit includes DW acoustic drums, Zildjian acoustic cymbals, Hart Dynamics Acupad electronic pads, Akai samplers, and custom-manufactured cable routing by Whirlwind.
In 2001, Rick Allen, along with Lauren Monroe, established the Raven Drum foundation. It is a non-profit organization that encourages the use of drumming and rhythm to ease stress and heal sickness.
Instruments of Choice
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