Looking back to their beginnings and the recent release of the ‘When the Walls Came Tumbling Down - Live in Oxford 1980’ album, Rick said; “I love that we did a live recording of early stuff; it’s cool. I really enjoyed listening to it. I mean, we were full of beans. The versions that we did were somewhat more sprightly than the studio versions. We were a full on prog rock band! It was brilliant!”
Going on to talk about their enthusiasm and willingness to defy convention, even at that stage in their career, the drummer said; “it’s fantastic. All of the songs had an element; they always sounded experimental in their form.”
The famously one-armed percussionist went on to say that it was his varied musical tastes that would influence his style - one that would go on to shape Def Leppard’s first three releases. Said Rick; “I fancied myself as a more of a jazz-rock drummer. I started out listening to big band, and that was my father’s doing. I loved listening to Glenn Miller, and then I remember getting into Billy Cobham, and I remember seeing him at the Roundhouse in London very early on, before I even joined Def Leppard. So I liked that idea of different ways of playing drums”.
Praising his drum teacher, he continued; “I wanted to just explore all the stuff that I’d learned in drum lessons. I went for lessons with this guy called Kenny Slade, a local Sheffield drummer, and he spent quite a bit of time around Joe Cocker, and he was kind of responsible for setting me on the right track; setting me up with the book, and I started reading a little bit”.
Concluding, Rick had this to say about the teenage Def Leppard; “You know, we were just exploring what made us feel good. I just kind of followed suit.”
Read the entire interview here.