In a new interview with the "Murray Adventures" podcast and "The MGM Morning Show With Matt Murray" on 103.7 WMGM Rocks in Atlantic City, DEF LEPPARD drummer Rick Allen spoke about his "Legends" art series, which consists of lifelike-yet-impressionistic portraits of musicians who have influenced him, from Jimi Hendrix to Freddie Mercury to John Lennon to Charlie Watts and Eddie Van Halen. Regarding how he decides which artists to paint, Rick said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "These are all musicians, singers, songwriters that have inspired me over the years. The last one that I did, I mean, to me, it was pretty obvious — Charlie Watts. If it wasn't for Charlie Watts, I wouldn't be on the phone with you now. I think it's the end of an era. He inspired so many to pick up a pair of sticks. And it was just my way of paying homage to him. And then another person that I really, really looked up to and I had the honor of meeting, it's Eddie Van Halen. So all of these people somehow touched my life and somehow inspired me to do what I do today."
When Murray pointed out that Watts always had a "smooth, calm and collected" approach to playing drums, Allen said: "That's true and that was the mood that I tried to bring into the painting that I did. He's just got this sort of content look about him, like he's got nothing to prove. But he was a smoking drummer. I think in many ways he was very underrated. But without Charlie Watts, THE ROLLING STONES wouldn't have sounded the way that they did. Just in the same way that if you took Keith Moon away from THE WHO, it wouldn't necessarily have been the same."
Allen became the drummer for DEF LEPPARD at age 15. As one of the world's best-selling music artists, DEF LEPPARD have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, two albums with RIAA diamond certification (10 million albums sold) and were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2019.
At the height of worldwide fame in 1984, he had a car accident that changed his life. Rick lost an arm, but turned personal tragedy into spiritual transformation and continued his musical career. While he was already a hero to millions of young people, he soon added millions of new admirers. Since then, Rick has been reaching out and giving support to others all over the globe by sharing his personal experiences and his love of drumming. Over the past 13 years, Rick has reached out to teenage cancer patients, children with special needs, at-risk youth in crisis, families of domestic violence and veterans who have served in Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was awarded the Humanitarian Award by Maria Shriver's Best Buddies of CA in 2002 and in 2012, was also awarded the prestigious Wounded Warrior Project's Carry It Forward Award. Rick continues his work helping wounded warriors through Project Resiliency's Warrior Resiliency Program sponsored by his charity foundation the Raven Drum Foundation.
An integral part of Rick's creative life went public in 2012. After years of personal photographic work, Allen ventured into the fine art world with a blockbuster debut collection of abstract artwork built from rhythm. Allen has become a pioneer in the new medium, utilizing drumsticks and rhythm to dictate abstract visuals on canvas.
That debut collection, in 2012 featured 300 pieces, quickly sold-out in its initial offering to the public and boasted a sold-out exhibition. A second collection, released in 2013 and titled "Rock-On-Canvas", met with a similar exceptional reception and helped to forge a relationship with America's leading fine art retailer Wentworth Galleries.
Rick said: "Music, art and photography have been passions of mine since I was a boy. My life has been a journey of transformation and my art is a reflection of the many facets of dreams and perceptions that have shaped me. Each piece has a story and a connection to my life from my roots in England, my life changing car accident, journey to America, travels around the globe and to my deep connection to Wounded Warriors and their struggle to heal. The collection intends to express messages of hope, transcendence and the human condition."