Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen speaks out for 1st time since brutal attack

The iconic drummer is opening up about his recovery journey only months after he was assaulted in Fort Lauderdale.

ByHaley Yamada ABCNews logo
Monday, May 22, 2023
Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen talks brutal attack
Rick Allen, the iconic drummer of Def Leppard, is opening up about his recovery journey only months after he was assaulted in Fort Lauderdale on March 13.

Rick Allen, the iconic drummer of Def Leppard, is opening up about his recovery journey only months after he was assaulted after a show in Fort Lauderdale in March.

The 59-year-old drummer sat down with "Good Morning America" in an exclusive interview to talk about the attack, where the drummer said he was "totally blindsided."

"I heard a couple of steps and then I just saw this [flash] and the next thing I knew was I was on the ground," said Allen. "I landed on my backside... hit my head on the pavement."

Allen, who lost his left arm in a car crash in 1984, said he feared he would be attacked again, so he reached his hand up in the air and said, "I am no threat to you."

"I don't think he knew who I was, but he must have seen that I wasn't a threat because, you know, I've only got one arm," said Allen, a member of one the world's best-selling bands, Def Leppard, who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

A woman reportedly came to help Allen, but the suspect allegedly attacked the woman too. However, according to the police report, it didn't appear that the woman suffered any serious injuries.

Fort Lauderdale police arrested Max Hartley, a 19-year-old from Ohio, shortly after he allegedly attacked the drummer and the woman who tried to interfere in the incident, nearby the site of the attack at the Four Seasons in Fort Lauderdale, on March 13.

Hartley was charged with two counts of battery and four counts of criminal mischief, according to a police report. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Allen's wife, Lauren Monroe, was across the country when she heard about the attack.

"My heart just completely sank into me," Monroe told "Good Morning America." "I know the journey of trauma... And so everything stopped in our house and focused on him."

Allen, who has been married to Monroe since 2003, said he was grateful to have such a strong support system.

"I immediately just went to that place of just feeling grateful for the fact that I have an amazing wife and an incredible family and I just started thanking a higher power for the fact that I'm still here," said Allen.

Both Allen and Monroe have experience with building supportive and healing communities. In 2001, the couple created the Raven Drum Foundation to help survivors of trauma, especially veterans and first responders. Instead of thinking about the "how" and "why" bad things happen, the foundation puts a focus on both physical and mental health.

"We focus on what is right now and 'How can I move forward?'" said Monroe.

To cope with the most recent attack, Allen said he turned to something that was there for him after the car crash that took his arm: his drums. Now, Allen is back on stage for a small show in Sheffield, England -- where Def Leppard was formed and near the spot of the car accident that took his arm nearly 40 years ago.

Allen said it is the perfect spot for another chance to show the world, and himself, what resilience looks like.

"I know that I'm not going to be playing music in a band forever," said Allen. "But while I am, I plan on making as many people happy as I possibly can. And this is my time. This is my opportunity."