Rick Allen (drummer)

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Rick Allen
Allen in 2018
Allen in 2018
Background information
Birth nameRichard John Cyril Allen
Also known asThe Thunder God
Born (1963-11-01) 1 November 1963 (age 59)
Dronfield, Derbyshire, England
Years active1978–present

Richard John Cyril Allen (born 1 November 1963) is an English drummer who has played for the hard rock band Def Leppard since 1978. He overcame the amputation of his left arm in January 1985 and continued to play with the band, which went on to its most commercially successful phase. He is known as "The Thunder God" by fans.[1][2] He is ranked No. 7 on the UK website Gigwise in The Greatest Drummers of All Time list.[3]

Early life[edit]

Rick Allen was born on 1 November 1963 in Dronfield, Derbyshire to Geoffrey Allen and Kathleen Moore, and started playing drums at the age of nine. He performed in the bands Grad, Smokey Blue, Rampant, and the Johnny Kalendar Band.[4] When Allen was 14, his mother replied on his behalf to an advertisement placed by a band called Def Leppard looking for a drummer to replace Tony Kenning ("Leppard loses skins" was the advertisement's headline). He later joined the band on 1 November 1978, which was his 15th birthday.[5] In 1979, he dropped out of school to concentrate on a career in music. Allen celebrated his 16th birthday with a performance at the Hammersmith Odeon, when Def Leppard opened for AC/DC.[6]

Car crash and recovery[edit]

"What I've experienced through losing my arm, I wouldn't change. The human spirit is so strong."

Rick Allen[7]

On the afternoon of 31 December 1984, Allen was involved in a car crash, with his then-girlfriend Miriam Barendsen, on the A57 road in the countryside a few miles west of Sheffield.[8][9] While trying to pass another car at a high speed, he lost control of his Corvette C4, which hit a dry stone wall and entered a field; his left arm was severed. Doctors initially reattached the arm, but the arm was later amputated due to an infection.[10][11] Despite losing his arm, Allen decided to continue playing drums with Def Leppard, and adopted a specially designed electronic drum kit.[12] The band took a hiatus from onstage performances until 16 August 1986, when Allen was able to return to live drumming at the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington.[13] He has since re-adopted partially acoustic drum kits depending on the setting.[14]


Allen has used custom-manufactured cable routing by Whirlwind. He uses four electronic pedals for his left foot to play the pieces he used to play with his left arm, which from left to right trigger sounds of a closing hi-hat, bass drum, snare drum, and a tom drum.[15]

In 2009, Yamaha announced the addition of Rick Allen to their artist roster. Allen plays Yamaha Oak Custom drums with a matching subkick.[14] Allen also uses Remo drumheads (usually he has coated Ambassadors on his drums and a clear Powerstroke 3 on his bass drum), Zildjian cymbals (mostly K customs, Z Customs and A customs), Ahead drumsticks and an LP rock cowbell.[16] He previously used Paiste 2002, RUDE and Sound Creation cymbals.[17]

Charitable works[edit]

Allen and his wife Lauren Monroe are the co-founders of the Raven Drum Foundation, a charity.[18] Allen also formed the One Hand Drum Company to provide funding for the Raven Drum Foundation. The company primarily sells merchandise featuring "Stick Rick", an illustrated character representing Allen.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Allen was married to Stacy Lauren Gilbert from 1991 to 2000. In 1995, Allen was arrested for spousal abuse and was sentenced to a work crew and ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.[20] He is married to Lauren Cuggino Monroe; Monroe is also a musician and Allen has contributed to some of her albums.[21] Allen is a vegan.[22]


  1. ^ Gold, Adam (7 August 2009). "Def Leppard's Rick Allen: The Cream Interview [Updated]". Nashville Scene. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  2. ^ Rager, Eleanor (7 August 2017). "The Thunder God". Medium. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  3. ^ "The Greatest Drummers Of All Time!". gigwise.com. Gigwise. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Artist Biography". Zildjian. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  5. ^ Kielty, Martin. "40 Years Ago: Rick Allen Joins Def Leppard". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Def Leppard Drummer Rick Allen Is Helping Wounded Veterans Through Healing Art". WCBS-FM 101.1. 11 January 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  7. ^ Jeffrey, Laura (2010). Def Leppard: Arena Rock Band. Enslow. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-766-03234-7.
  8. ^ "Rick Allen | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  9. ^ Wilkening, Matthew. "The Day Def Leppard Drummer Rick Allen Lost His Arm in Car Crash". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  10. ^ Fricke, D., and M. Selinger. "To Hell & Back. (Cover Story)." Rolling Stone 629 (1992): 38. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  11. ^ Stevens, Christine. "Reclaiming the Rhythm: An Interview with Rick Allen." Percussive Notes 08 2002: 54, 56. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  12. ^ Rick Allen (19 August 2016). "Def Leppard: the story behind Rick Allen's triumphant comeback". Classic Rock Magazine. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Def Leppard's Rick Allen: Perseverance". Modern Drummer Magazine. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  14. ^ a b Yamaha Welcomes Legendary Rick Allen to its Drum Roster | Yamaha Artists. Yamaha.com (16 October 2009). Retrieved on 15 September 2011.
  15. ^ Whirlwind / Def Leppard Archived 19 November 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Def Leppard Drummer Rick Allen Welcomes PMC's "Roadie for a Day" Grand Prize Winner". PlayDrums.com. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  17. ^ "Def Leppard's Rick Allen". Modern Drummer Magazine. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Raven Drum Foundation: Celebrity Supporters". Look to the Stars. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  19. ^ O'Connor, Mike (14 January 2020). "Rick Allen – The One-Armed Drummer from Def Leppard (His Modified Drum Set, The Accident)". Electronic Drum Advisor. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  20. ^ "Def Leppard drummer charged in attack". UPI. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  21. ^ "Def Leppard News - Rick Allen Produces Wife Lauren Monroe's New Single Give". Def Leppard Tour History. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  22. ^ "Def Leppard's Rick Allen Announces New Vegan Bag Collection". lntvglobal.com. Retrieved 22 January 2023.

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