Rick Allen bringing art and Def Leppard to AC this weekend
Before Rick Allen takes the stage with Def Leppard at the Hard Rock in Atlantic City this Saturday night with Motley Crue, he will be showing his art on Feb. 11, this Saturday, at the Wentworth Gallery from 1-3 p.m.
I spoke to the Def Leppard drummer about both his art, and their music on my New Jersey 101.5 show:
I've introduced a couple of new things. I'm putting some of the pieces on aluminum; which is actually really cool. My family was in the small steel business when I was growing up, so it's interesting to get back, you know, sort of full circle, and start working with metal again. Then all the usual suspects that were there, you know, all the flags and print and 'the legends'. The last one I did was Charlie Watts. I've been kind of busy this year. Sometimes my day job gets in the way right. But yeah, there's tons of stuff. There's something for everyone.
How did you get started in art?
As a kid, I used to love painting. And this was really before I discovered playing music. So that was something that I, even as a kid, found just really, really therapeutic. Do you know what I mean? I guess I was kind of different. As a kid, you know, I didn't really- I didn't always fit in. So painting and photography were things that I could do that kind of kept me at the moment. And then, of course, I discovered playing drums. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Despite losing your arm in 1984, you never lost your passion for art. What are the challenges you have when creating?
The good news is, the information is inside. It's in my head. It's just sort of figuring out new ways to get that information out to express myself in different ways. Just the unique way that I play the drums; I sort of apply that to all other parts of my life. You know, painting is one of them. It's become a bit of a blessing in many ways, and I certainly get to meet people in a different way. When I'm in a gallery, I've developed some really nice relationships with people, you know, over the years. Actually, a couple that are in New Jersey, and they had this beautiful Jimi Hendrix piece that I did. Problem was, you know, it's not hanging on my wall. So I told the gallery owner, I said, 'is there any way we can go visit the piece?' So he called call this couple up. We went over for breakfast. It was brilliant.
What are some of your favorite works?
Steve Clark, that was really the first 'legends' piece that I did. And I figured that was low-hanging fruit because I knew him really well, ya know, he was in Def Leppard. And I may have told you this story before but I sent a photograph of the peace to my mother, and she happens to be friends with Steve Clark's mom. She said, you know, 'Rick really caught his likeness.' And that, to me, was probably the biggest compliment anybody could pay.
I love the Lennon piece, I love the Hendrix piece, The Kurt Cobain I really love. That took me a while to figure out because I did it all in black and white; and then I looked at the picture that I was studying, and he had the most striking blue eyes. So I just did one of his eyes blue, and that just finished it off. It just created a focal point that was really cool. So that's, that's kind of become one of my favorites.
From art to music, what can we expect to see at the Def Lepard show?
We're going to be throwing some new songs in there, and some songs that we haven't played in a while. Normally, when we play in a smaller venue like that, you tend to find that there are a lot, a lot of super fans. You can dig into the catalog a little deeper than you normally would, say, on some of these big shows.
What's the difference between playing now than when you guys were coming up at the height of your popularity?
I just see it as this huge gift, I mean, to be this far into my career. I mean, all of us really, this far into our careers, and to be playing at this kind of level is just incredible. When it first started, I couldn't see past the end of today. But now, I look back since I joined the band on my 15th birthday in 1978, and I'm still doing this. So I'm just, I'm just really thankful, very grateful. And we really do have the most incredible fans. I think I just, I enjoy it more simply because the crowd that we attract is so broad, that demographic is so broad. A lot of people bring their kids and the first thing I say to the kids is, 'I hope your parents didn't drive you nuts with our music.' And they're like, 'No! We love your music!' So we're attracting diehards. We're attracting newer fans, so it's, it's very special.
What's your favorite, Rick Allen, what's your favorite Def Leppard song? The one that you most enjoy playing, the one that means the most to you?
I think it's got to be Hysteria, believe it or not. It's just such a part of the set where I can just really, really go inwards and just really count my blessings, you know? And lyrically it lends itself to, you know, to just being thankful for what I've got, and what we have achieved.
See Rick Allen showing his art from 1-3pm at the Wentworth Gallery in Atlantic City.
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