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Straight From Rick

Rick speaking about his audition for the band:

"I could see the other lads were getting into it. Russell Major (Rick's soon-to-be drum roadie) was on the other side of the room with a big beaming grin on his face that looked like he had a coathanger stuck in his mouth. Nobody officially said `You're in,' but I knew it right away. It sounded so right. All they needed was someone to give that little bit extra, that fifth member who would pull the same weight they were."

On the decision to leave school to tour with Def Leppard:

"My mom and dad told me to leave school because I was never going to get another opportunity like this. So I did. I didn't care if I could count!"

"My mother took me seriously. She actually went to the school and said, 'Well, you know he's got a job to go to and I think we should get him out of school.' I promptly went to see a private tutor. In fact, the first record contract I had to get my father to sign it with me because I was still considered a minor." - 2005

Rick speaking on his "bad" behavior during the 1980 tour:

"They (band/management) started getting on me because I was smoking grass too much with the crew. I used to get a dressing-down every month. I think sometimes they were really just taking out their frustrations on me. But I did have an attitude problem. Big mouth, speaking out of turn all the time. To me, the rest of the world was out of line and I was always right...but nobody had much control over me."

On the female fans of that tour:

"Blimey, I went mad! I went nuts over there, women left, right and center. I ended up getting a few undesirable diseases, but I had a good laugh over it."

On how he would obtain alcohol while under age:

"There's a number on English driver's licenses, your birthday in code, and I'd tell these guys that the number would mean one thing or another, and a lot of 'em used to buy it. Also, English licenses don't have photos on them, so that made it easier."

Rick speaking on recording Pyromania with Mutt Lange:

"I had done this one particular take and Mutt just sat in the control room listening to the tape, analyzing it for what seemed like ten minutes. I sat there in the studio, wondering what I was supposed to do. So I decided to try and attract his attention. I said 'Mutt? Why don't you play it to me and I'll have a listen, see what I think about it? He turned around to me and said 'When I want your opinion, I'll ask for it.' Well, I had this handful of drumsticks and they went flying towards the control room window. He did apologize to me after that, though. He knew he was out of line for saying that."

"He (Mutt) would say `Just listening Rick,' and I'd be waiting there...(Rick whistles)...`Just listening. Listening again. We'll be right with you in a little while. Just listening Rick.' I started launching drumsticks at the control room. I just think he knew what he wanted and really he knew how to get it. And the fact that I was having a breakdown was really my problem." - 2002

Rick speaking about his coming-to in the hospital after the accident:

"The biggest shock was when I actually came around and realized what had happened. Sitting there, looking out the bloody window, looking at myself, listening to my music. That's the thing that upset me the most at first, listening to music. I had my ususal supply of tapes in the hospital. But I'd hear the drums and couldn't help but think, `Yeah, I used to be able to do that'." - 1985

"I was never aware that they tried to put the arm back on. They kept me under anesthetic the whole time. I'm glad I didn't find out about it until later, though. That would have started me thinking - about drumming again, about being normal." - 1985

“If I can make someone happy with what I do, or if I can inspire people who have a problem in some aspect of their life, then I feel good. I’m sure if people who are having a rough time see me playing drums one night—no matter how bad their problems may seem—they’re going to go home thinking, ‘If he can do it, then I can certainly do it.’ And that’s basically where I’m coming from.” 1988

"I need people to give me constructive advice about my playing, rather than [in a wimpy voice] ‘Whatever Rick can play is fine with us.’ I don’t need that kind of sympathy. Not at all." 1988

"Suffering levels out the playing field. Sometimes you have to experience rock bottom to feel grateful for what you've been given." 2012

On what he was doing before joining Def Leppard:

"First school and trying to sort of, trying to entertain people just going around the local clubs, playing in local bands, just doing a lot of cover songs. It went Glad, Smokey Blue, let's see, Johnny Kalendar Band, Rampart, Def Leppard - and that's the best thing that ever really happened to me." - 1993

Answering the question if he ever gave up after the accident:

"I thought it was all over. I never once thought that I could really do it again. But it didn't take very long before I realized that I could play basic drums and I think with the help of the guys encouraging me and basically just being really good friends, and they didn't even worry about the drumming aspect. It was more they wanted to see that I was okay mentally and physically, you know, as well as I could be at the time obviously. And it was just really good for me to realize that everybody was really behind me…and I could sort of carry on where I'd left off." - 1993

"I think the one thing that was in my favor was that I never really gave myself any kind of downtime. As soon as I realized that I could do it again then I never really thought about the more negative aspects. I just got back on with it, just rehearsed, practiced as much as I could on my own, you know, so that nobody could hear all the mistakes I was making. I just tried to come up with the best thing I could with what I got." - 1993

"I love when people come up and they, you know, they give me encouragement like that because in turn I can encourage them and I think that for me has been the thing that has really kept me going." - 1993

Rick on how the idea for his custom built drum kit developed (Kerrang Magazine):

"What happened was, I'd lost my left arm, and I'd busted up my right pretty badly as well. So to begin with my right arm was more or less strapped to my side. To help me sit up straight in bed and move around a bit and make myself comfortable, the nurses placed a block of foam in the bottom of the bed so that I could push against it with my feet. Well, it was just in the perfect position for me to tap away on it with my feet.

So out of sheer boredom I used to lie there tapping my feet against this thing, and I started thinking, hand on a minute, I can use this this has possibilities...So I got this friend of mine down and he looked at what I was doing and he agreed that the idea of some kind of foot pedal that would at least enable me to get a snare sound with my left foot could probably be worked out and designed.

Within a matter of days this guy returned to the hospital with what turned out to be the prototype for the pedals I'm using onstage now."

The other thing I got into doing, don't laugh, was sitting in my wheelchair and banging on the foot plates, getting a rhythm going. And to be honest, what I'm doing now onstage isn't much different." - 1987

Rick discussing the sensation of his arm still being there after the amputation:

"I remember one time when I was alone with my Dad in the hospital room and I said 'Dad, reach out and touch my hand where you think it is. So he reached out and as he touched my left hand, he kind of reeled back and he went 'Whoa! What's that?' and I said 'Well, that's what I've been experiencing' - I'm experiencing my entire arm, but it's not actually there. I can't actually see it, but I can sense it. He was shocked. But then we started to get used to the idea that this is actually happening, we're not imaging this. I said 'I can't really control my arm that well, but I want you to just kind of get down a little bit and I want to try to pass my hand through your head.' So then I sort of passed my (missing) hand through his head, and as I did so all his hair, well, what's left of it, stood up on static electricity!" - 2010

On his parents:

"I think they probably went through more of a sense of loss. It was almost like a death in the family. It was very hard, but my mother was a rock. She really stepped up, you know? She became a warrier. She really wanted to see me suceed, and I think in many ways my parents, they experienced parts of themselves that they'd never experienced before. So in that way sometimes suffering can lead to a kind of a joy, a kind of an appreciation....a gratitude of just to be greatful for being here, for life. The simple things become very meaningful."

"They still live in Sheffield. My Mum - she worked at a printing company and my Dad, we had a family steel business. I remember visiting the steel yard as a kid. So it was really kind of working class, real simple, humble sort of beginnings." - 2008

On reconvening with the band in Holland two months after his accident:

"I don't think any of us quite knew what to say. It was strange for all of us, to begin with. I think the rest of the band were waiting to see if I was going to crack up or something. Nobody was sure yet how I was going to handle it. But they gave me their support, totally, from the word go. I mean, if they'd have said, `Sorry Rick, we can't really carry on this way', I'd have stepped down gracefully, you know, fine, no problem...But that was never the case at all, they all left it up to me to decide. And that was all the spur I needed, I think, to try and work things out as a drummer again..." - 1987

"I felt more at home being with the boys than I would have been sitting around on my ass, doing nothing. I just felt, `This is where I belong.' Obviously, there were moments when people got really emotional about things. It wasn't all smooth sailing, and sometimes it got quite difficult." - 1988

"After what happened to me, I think the band actually got closer...When I finally came around after my accident, everyone was saying to me `It's okay,' you know? `Things will be fine, don't worry about it.' And my parents, I mean, they took it worse than anybody. And obviously, you know, the band, they were, I mean, they didn't know what they were going to do. They didn't know whether I would be able to play again."
"That I could still play was my high point. My low point was discovering I couldn't wear a watch anymore."

"Since the accident, I pick my nose with my toes."

"There was a time when there was some doubt about my ability to use my right arm. The doctor said, `You're not going to be able to wave again, Rick.' So when I came back to the hospital one day, I went, `How ya doing, Doc?'" (waving wildly) - 1988
Rick's philosophy:

"Losing an arm might have been the worst thing that could ever happened to me. But it happened, and that's that. In the meantime, I feel like the rest of me has grown much, much stronger as a result. Maybe it's just nature's way of compensating for the loss of one part of me, I don't know." - 1987

"If I couldn't play drums it would have destroyed me. If you're thrown in the deep end you swim, and that's basically what I did. I had to do it and with the rest of the band behind me and the encouragement I got from people from all over the world, I knew that I was going to play." - 1988

"Hitting plastic things with little pieces of wood is a good release. I suppose it's great exercise as well." - 1988

"I started drumming when I was 10. I destroyed the house. There were little hit marks all over my mother's wood tops." - 1988

"I became a vegetarian on the Pyromania tour, when we were driving along in France and saw these really cute, fuzzy-eared cows in a field. Phil said, `How the f-ck can anybody eat one of those?' The two of us egged each other on, it's no problem - there are a lot more health food shops now." - 1988

"I deal with any kind of trauma a lot better and have the ability to relax more now. I used to be full of nervous energy all the time. I've just kind of settled down." - 1988

"Perseverance...I guess that would be the biggest thing I learned about myself. But I suppose that had a lot to do with the strength of those around me. They really didn't give me a choice; I had to stick around and deal with it."

"I need people to give me constructive advice about my playing. I don't need sympathy."

"Going through what I did made me a stronger person. But if you knew the rest of the guys, you would understand why. Def Leppard is a very close-knit unit. Everybody was just saying `Come on now, Rick. You can do it'." - 1988

"I encounter people that are in worse situations who are so challenged, but they have the audacity to look up to me. I don’t even feel like what some people would say “disabled.” I don’t even feel like I miss anything. I think of some people out there who do so much more than any of us with so much less. When I think about them, I realize that I don’t really have a problem, do I?" - 2010

On the physical presense of his arm:

"Shortly after I came around, probably a week after my accident, I began to sense a different body. I experienced my missing arm in a non-physical form as energy. I remember asking my father to reach out and touch me where my left arm was. At first, he reeled back in astonishment, fear, surprise, but then, he seemed to recognize what I was feeling and reached out and touched where I'd prompted him to. He was truly amazed and exclaimed: `Your arm is still there'!" - 2002

"The lads have begun to make fun of me a lot more now, which I don't mind. Like I'll be wearing my hat on stage, which I do occasionally, and one of the guys will steal it right off my head, and then he'll put it back on me in some stupid position so I'll look totally ridiculous. They do silly things like that for a laugh, which is nice because I like to make people laugh."

"If I can make someone happy with what I do, or if I can inspire people who have a problem in some aspect of their life, then I feel good." - 1988

On the applause received for his first performance after losing his arm:

"When Joe introduced me it was a different kind of applause than I have ever heard before...this wasn't about music as such, this was a group of people getting together to applaud my return after, well, a difficult time...this was unlike any other applause, and it was totally moving and it was very much, for me...a validation, a confirmation that I would be accepted back into the fold. It was like the people have spoken; they have nodded and cheered and allowed you back into the group. And I'll never forget that." - 2008

On his recovery:

"I never went through any kind of rehabilitation. I automatically assumed that I could do everything on my own. A few years down the line, I realized that I could have done with more help than I gave myself. I never gave myself any downtime. I was constantly busy with the idea of the band. I never really gave the real me the time to get to know myself again. I spent the downtime during the making of this record (Adrenalize) to fix that. And that was important." - 1992

"When we finally got a break in 1989, I spent some time trying to put all that right which was really important for me. I broke up with Miriam, my girlfriend of seven years, met up with an old girlfriend from 1980 and got married. I realized that the last thing I wanted to do was what Steve had done. I realized that everything in my life doesn't revolve around Def Leppard! I don't have anything to prove." - 1992

On Steve Clark:

"I was involved with my own problems, with drugs and alcohol. Whenever I tried to talk to Steve about his situation, he'd come back at me with `What about you?' I found it difficult to get through that barrier. And the last thing I wanted to say to him was `I lost my arm. I got through all that. I conquered it.' Because it wouldn't have been honest. At that time I don't think I really had conquered it. I almost felt like I found out about Steve a bit too late to help him in the way he deserved." - 1992

"I always thought, though, that he would pull through. I must say, however, I didn't spend much time with Steve the last couple of years. I don't think it would have been beneficial if I had, because I was dabbling in substances as it were and I think my presence intimidated him. There was a time when I'd just give up and go drink with him which wasn't helping anybody. I guess Steve's death gave me a jolt and made me realize that there are a lot of better things to do than wind up at the bar every night. It was hard because the record was taking so long, and there was all this down time. But there's always other stuff to get into. I guess it was kind of a cop-out for me. I'm glad I pulled myself out of it. Looking back, I think maybe I should have said something to Steve, but the reality of the situation was Steve's problem was there way before he joined the band."

On his re-recording drum tracks for Hysteria after losing his arm:

"After we did the Sheffield show, there was about a week where we didn't necessarily have anything to do, so we went in and did the day shift, patching up the drums I'd done from the mid-'80s. Fortunately I had enough time to do what I had to do. I suppose, in a way, I paid myself a really big compliment. We thought we could just go into the studio and salvage whatever I'd played back then. Some of the songs were done very basically when I had two arms, and then I redid them when I first went in to record Hysteria, went over the top with the Mach 1 one-armed drum kit. Listening to tracks again now, I realized how much I'd improved since I first lost my arm, so instead of trying to salvage stuff, what we ended up doing was just doing all the drums over from start to finish."

From Visualize (1993):

"I think the most important thing is that we enjoy the music and we enjoy singing the way that we do. A melodic type of rock, something that we can all be proud of and enjoy."

"I always have fond memories of Steve. Steve was always...he was always somebody I always sort of looked up to. He always came up with things that were really unusual. Definately something out of the norm. Always looking for ways of entertaining people, you know, making the rest of us laugh or whatever."

"The rest of the guys in the band started visiting me and giving me the kind of encouragement that I really needed at that time. I realized there was a way that I could play again."

"It's a series of foot pedals that I use with my left leg and I'm really trying to play everything that I used to play with my left arm with my left leg...sometimes not quite as successfully as I would like, but it's a constant sort of learning curve, you know. You're always trying to pick up new things. Well, you can't really consult The Book of One Armed Drummers, you know (laughs). It's like the old saying, it's like riding a bike. It all comes back to you very quickly."

"That Vivian is a great guitar play and a great singer is secondary to the fact that his personality fits with Def Leppard. It was actually a lot of fun just to be on the stage together."

"There's always room for that sponteneity and that's the one thing I like about playing live over being in the studio."

On their 1993 Sheffield performance:

"I just got an overwhelming feeling of, you know, we've finaly sort of made it. We're home, you know?"

"Over time we'll probably see Def Leppard going in a slightly different direction, maybe because of Vivian's influence, and I think that would be a really good thing to see."

From Video Archive, 1995:

On the Don Valley performance:

"I was pretty overwhelmed by it all...the fact that there were so many people that I knew in the audience or backstage or whatever and they were all really rooting for us, uh, really gave me a sense that we'd really sort of made it. I mean it was probably one of the most memorable occasiois I can remember to date."

On their early pub performances:

"I wasn't even old enough to come in the place (laughs). I'd try and sneak in at any opportunity I could and get somebody to buy me a beer, you know...stand on my tip-toes at the bar."

Regarding his return to an accoustic drum kit:

I'd always had an accoustic set-up at home for a long time, but I'd never really used it on any of Def Leppard music for a long time, actually since I lost my arm, so it gives me the opportunity to re-think the way that I play an accoustic set-up."

From VH1:

"I was back in the studio within about five or six weeks after my accident, which was crazy! I don't know what the hell I was thinking about. I was definately running on different fuel, you know? Up until a couple of years ago I was still pulling pieces of car out of my chest. I guess the force of all those pieces of fiber glass flying around, some of them got embedded in my chest."

"I wrote the entire Slang album, but the band will never admit to that! I don't mind carrying those deadweights - at least they're decent company."
Rick speaking about being a new father and touring in a 7/7/99 Rockline episode:

Rick: "I love it. I was doubting, you know, whether I was gonna actually get out on tour or not because it's getting very, very comfortable at home but, you know, duty calls. I have to go with the guys!"

Phil: "We pulled the couch from under him!"

Host: How has it changed you emotionally, psychologically?

Rick: "It's like meeting a best friend for the first time, that's the only way I could describe, you know, the whole sort of birth and what have you."

Joe: "That's pretty deep Rick!" (laughs)

Rick: "It was incredible and now it just gets better."

Rick answering the question of electronic versus acoustic drums in the same Rockline episode:

Rick: "I think the knowledge I had from making, you know, past albums like Pyromania, you know, Hysteria, whatever, Adrenalize, I really got into the electronics, and um, Slang was just a great opportunity to get back to basics again and now, like you say, I use both which is even better..."

Host: "Do you prefer one or the other now?"

Rick "Not necesarily. I mean, there are times, we did some percussion down at Phil's house and that was all real stuff, all, you know, acoustic instruments."

Host: "And what about on tour?"

Rick: "You really depends on the song. Some songs really cry out for electronic drums, really, you know, presice sounds, and then other times it's better to go with the real thing."

Rick speaking on the difficulties of touring in a 2/00 article:

"I can't sleep unless the thing (bus) is moving. I asked my wife to buy a set of wheels and tires for the bed at home. Then, before I go to sleep, I'll get her to make generator sounds."

On daughter Lauren:

"I've taken her out on stage a couple of times, and whispered in her ear that all these people are here to see daddy and the band, and they're all happy to be here. When I tell her I'm going away on tour, she says, `Are you going to play drums, Daddy?' So she knows I do something kind of alternative for a job."

Rick's answer on a 7/00 AOL chat on how he prepares himself before going out on the road to tour:

"At the moment, just watching what I'm eating. Trying to swim as much as I can. I've been to the gym a few times, but I spend a lot of time outdoors anyway so I'm pretty healthy in that department. I've been a vegetarian for many, many years so I think diet and the combination of a few things really helps me prepare. And...lots and lots of sex (grins)."

Rick speaking about his side project band, The Mark Mason Project, and the possibility of fans hearing them in the future:

"You know...I don't really know. I helped him out because he was having trouble with drummers. I think a lot of people have trouble with drummers. It was great got me off the street corners, got me into it physically, but it's entirely up to Mark. It was good just to be the drummer as I wasn't involved in any other part."

Rick in a 1/00 interview speaking on how he's changed some negative things in his life:

"...Anger Counseling has really taught me the true meaning of time-out...(it) helps me take the time out and the meditation is for me. It's kind of a selfish thing in a way, just kind of sitting there on your own, you know. I think the idea of realizing that you're not going to miss anything is important, and I always thought I was gonna miss something if I wasn't there, or in that room or whatever...but now I have a little girl, Lauren, who's three years old and it's like having a mirror wandering around all over the place. You kind of look at yourself and you're thinking, `Is that how I was?,' and it kind of diffuses any bad situation."

On success:

"Success is always wonderful. Recognition is always great, but we have other be a good husband, to be a good father, to be a role model. These are things that are just as important as huge success." - 2006

Speaking on his use of inscence while on stage:

"Smell is very strong in terms of putting you in a zone or a familiar place. So one of the things that's always good, no matter where you are in the world, you know, is trying to establish a sense of familiar space and the insence is one of those things that really, really helps me to get to that place." - 2006

Rick's answer to being asked what it's like having a 14-year-old daughter who will be dating soon:

"They don't sell baseball bats that big anymore." - 2011

Question: Do the guys ever pull pranks on you because you have the one functioning arm?

Rick: "Yeah, I remember one time I came back into the dressing room and I'm sitting around just sort of cooling down and then I go to put my jeans on, and they cut one leg off the friggin' jeans!" - 2012