By Michael Cerio 

There’s been a detour for Def Leppard.

The English rock band saw resurgence with the release of their eleventh studio album in October, hit the open waters earlier this month with a classic rock cruise dubbed “Hysteria On The High Seas”, and released their latest music video on the equally-rejuvenated Guitar Hero game last week.

Unfortunately though, the North American tour that was to follow hasn’t been able to get off the ground due to an illness suffered by lead singer Joe Elliott.

“I think it’s something he pulled in his throat,” says drummer Rick Allen, speaking via phone after just returning home from Orlando where the band was forced to postpone a show this weekend. “He wasn’t doing great on the cruise. We actually postponed Greensboro, and then we did the Miami show, and then the next day he went off to see a doctor, and basically the doctor said that you need to rest it for a month and if you don’t you could do permanent damage.”

Yesterday the band postponed their tour through their February 17th show in Allentown, PA.

“The response from fans and what have you has been just amazing,” describes Allen. “I think we underestimate how much the fans love the band and love the individual members in it.”

“I sent a bunch of the tweets that people have been sending out to Joe, and that obviously made him feel a lot better about the decision that had to be made.”

Def Leppard will not be performing at PPL Center in Allentown on the 17th, but Rick Allen will still be in the area. The drummer will be showing off his artwork in an exhibition titled “Rick Allen: Angels And Icons” at Wentworth Gallery at the King Of Prussia Mall on Friday February 19th.

This for sure isn’t the first bout with adversity that Def Leppard has dealt with. Rick Allen overcame losing his arm in a car accident on December 31st, 1984 and has gone on to become an inspiring drummer. He does still suffer from PTSD after the accident, but says the photography and painting in his art collection has helped him to keep it in check.

“For me PTSD keeps you in a heightened state of awareness, which under most circumstances is not really needed,” explains Allen. “You overreact to a situation. If I can see myself then I tend to be able to manage it.”

“I tend to go to the same place when I’m working on the art as I do when I’m playing music with Def Leppard. It’s that place with no thought really. You’re in the moment. You’re not thinking about how you could have done something better or what you’re about to do, you’re just firmly in the moment.”

It was the outpouring of support from fans and family that made Rick able to go on, and today he considers what happened a blessing.

“One of the ways that I cope with that, is stop comparing myself to myself how I used to play and start to celebrate uniqueness. Yeah I can’t play like I used to play, but I can play in a way that is very different than to how most drummers would do it. And as soon as I reframed it as it were, I was able to embrace it,” he remembers.

The human spirit triumphed for Rick Allen, giving the drummer a new appreciation for life. But something else happened on that day.

As revealed in Def Leppard Guitarist Phil Collen’s book last year, the police officer that was at the scene of Allen’s crash and the nurse that assisted Allen met that day under the most tragic of circumstances. That pair that would help Rick Allen to the hospital would eventually marry.

“That’s true yeah,” exclaims Allen. “And that’s partly where the “Angels And Icons” name or phrase comes from – those times in your life when just the right people show up, and I think without the two of them I may not have made it.”

“I keep in touch with them all the time, whenever I go over to England. My parents keep in touch with them,” he says. “You know they’re the kind of angels that you just stay in touch with, because you realize that that was a gift. It was a gift that was given to me, and I’m here to tell the tale.”

Rick Allen will be showing off his artwork at Wentworth Gallery in the King Of Prussia Mall on Friday February 19th.