17 October 2013

Gunter glieben glauchen globen...

(Paula Erickson, my most loyal guest blogger, comes back with another strong one today.  I love this one because, unbeknownst to Paula, I LOVE Def Leppard. I don't believe in guilty pleasures- you should be able to love whatever kind of music you want with no reservations- but if I did, Def Leppard would be at the top of the list.-Melinda)

“All right, I got something to say.
It's better to burn out, than fade away.
All right, gonna start a fire.
Rise up! gather round,
Rock this place to the ground.”

You know you know it, and you pretty much undoubtedly sing along when you hear it, whether you admit it or not. Classic lyrics from Def Leppard’s “Rock of Ages.” Def Leppard was one of, if not THE biggest band of the hair-metal ‘80s, and one of the very few that survived and still thrive today. 

Rick Allen is the drummer. He joined the band when he was 15 -- he’s been a rock star pretty much his entire life -- and if you give it a little bit of thought, he probably is (or should be) one of the most inspirational people on the planet. Rick was 21 when, on New Year’s Eve of 1984, more than a year after the release of the breakthrough, 10-million selling Pyromania album, he lost his left arm in a car accident. Imagine that…losing your arm. Then think about losing your arm if you’re the drummer of the biggest rock band in the world. Most people would have given up – at the very least on playing drums, but quite probably on everything. How easy to just burn out or fade away. 

Not Rick. He so was thrown into the ultimate deep end and he swam. He said from the outset that he would play again. He met with engineers and figured out a design for a custom, specially adapted semi-electronic drum kit that utilized his right arm and his feet. He worked on his physicality, and on his kit, and on his technique. And he worked, and he worked. He returned to Def Leppard full-time in 1986, in time for the European Monsters of Rock Tour. 

If you’ve ever seen the band live, you know it’s a percussion- and guitar-driven, all-out rock show. If you couldn’t see the one-sided drum kit on the stage right in front of you, you would never believe that the incredible beat was driven by a dude with one arm. Watching and hearing Rick play, and thinking about what it took to not only overcome, but overtake, what happened to him, is way up there on my list of the most inspirational things I’ve witnessed. 

Overcoming adversity must be in the very fiber of Rick’s being. In 2001, he established the Raven Drum Foundation, which “helps people overcome the emotional and physical pain resulting from traumatic events, with a special focus on veterans of war.” 

-Paula Erickson

Click here to get “Causes and Effects” delivered every day to your email inbox (the subscription link now works) or enter your email in the top right corner.

No comments:

Post a Comment