I hope that you like this page. It is dedicated to Def Leppard and the incredible music that they produce. Let me share a bit of my story and connection with the band members. Meeting them was part of dream come true and the other was being front row years later. I had the pleasure of meeting several of the guys during the second wave of their "Hysteria" tour, but even before that encounter I had connected with Rick Allen at a previous show right after my accident where we exchanged waves during the opening act when no one else was paying attention. More about that later, for now let me just say these guys have been one of the biggest influences in how I view myself since my accident and I am very proud of each band member.
But of course, my heart is soft for Rick Allen and I am so happy for him that he has found true happiness with his wife Stacy and their sweet baby daughter, Lauren. Rick Allen was especially wonderful in person in September 88' and we clicked instantly that afternoon in front of his tour bus when he allowed me the honor of a hug and having a couple of snap shots taken on a friend's camera who was also in the photo. When we met a day later after a second show at the hotel, he was really great about letting us take some more photos because the girl I had gone to the show with originally when we met Rick in front of the tour bus, had refused to give me the photos we had taken that day. I was really upset with her for a lot more then though.
Just imagine someone you claim friendship too, you both love the same band intensely and your friend is disabled. One of the band members is also disabled. Together you figured out which hotel they were staying in and promise not to go without each other. What a better way to go get close to them and try to make herself look good at my expense? Well she went to their hotel, catching both Phil and Joe relaxing at the pool. She starts up talking about me of all things and gets them to do the autograph deal before she runs off giddily wearing her new concert tee shirt. This friend comes to my place, still refusing to produce photos from the day before and I was in the tub, hadn't slept for nearly three days because of going to both Def shows two days in a row.
She gives me this autograph, rambling on and on about how cute Joe looked in a bikini and how she got him to sign one to me. I tell you I was mortified. I was totally stupefied this "friend" had the nerve to go up there and intrude on them at the pool, in front of the hotel where I met them an hour later is fine, at the concert before the show at the tour bus is fine, but to go intruding on their personal private let down time really offended me. She had the gall to use me to get them to treat her differently and I haven't spoken to her since. She came into my room while I was at the same hotel, trying to get to talk to Rick again and see if he'd mind taking a few more photos, but if you're reading this I know you know who you are and enough said about you, other then I could have cared less about the autograph, I was more angry my dumb room mate even let you into my room.
I told Rick all about how it was awful I had trusted her and went with her camera instead of my disc camera. He was really great about the whole thing and if I hadn't lost those negatives during a recent move they would be posted here as well as the photograph of the banner I made that got me front row for their 93' "Adrenalize" gig that was the most incredible concert I have ever been to and was the last concert I went to. There really is no way to go back to the "Handicapped" section provided at concerts after experiencing the drama and opportunity to connect to the artist when you're less then fifteen feet away from them. Rick recognized me again at this show and it was so cool to be there finally getting my dream of being front row at a Def Leppard show.
He understood and I felt so great even though I had no prosthesis to stand on, I stood the entire time of the show. The local hard rocking station 95 WYNF, now history, had a contest where people had less then one week to get their banners made and try to win the pair of front row tickets. Upon hearing the radio spot about it, I knew it was my chance and I called and asked the DJ I spoke with if I was in a wheelchair if I won the contest would I still get to go front row even though I use a chair. He told me yes and I said confidently, "I am gonna win this contest, you'll see dude."
It was so cool, because I had the only banner with an actual portrait of the guys and you can see from this photo, it really did deserve to win against the other offerings of the local fans. The guy who judged the contest told us he was going back to see the guys and I asked him if he would mind giving a letter I had written earlier that week, certain it was destined for me to finally go front row, which I am sure he did, because he was really impressed with the banner and with me. I have always tried to take it upon myself, since the accident, to set a good example of living in a chair and try to understand the curious stares I get when I go out. This was an occasion for that and I know seeing me in public affects people.
One of the most motivating things for me to get released from Bayfront in December of 87' was my nineteenth birthday on the 24th and the unbelievable chance to go see Def Leppard for the first time ever. I was surprised to see they were playing on the anniversary of Rick's 1984 accident on New Years Eve, but they were booked for it and I begged my mother to buy tickets even when I was still just recovering from surgery, confident in the fact I would be home by that time. I was released the day before my birthday, unable to stand due to the fractures in my right leg that had been set, but my mother and I got into the lime green 76' Volvo wagon and went to the show, enjoying the fact I could park in the disabled spot.
When Rick waved back to me it was such a cool feeling. This was before the in the round was kicking in gear and they didn't even perform "Love Bites," my favorite tune at the time. I was up above their dressing room as luck had it, but I had brought a red & white pompom to the show that I had gotten from my high school, to shake and try to draw the guys attention when they were onstage. When Rick had his accident in 84' I was one of the fans who sent him a well wishing card. I don't care if people don't listen to their music or not. I like it and find deep meanings in their songs. If someone doesn't like them, then that doesn't mean they have the right to say stuff about them to their fans.
When I was in high school and Rick lost his arm, the kids all made mega fun of it to me, because it was common knowledge I was the #1 Def fan on campus. Almost three years later after having dropped out and gone back to finish my senior year when I had my unfortunate accident on my motorcycle, which in the blink of an eye, changed the way everyone felt about me. Suddenly it was like I was not someone to be made fun of anymore. Suddenly people from all over my community, including many of the former classmates who knew me, felt bad about what had happened and were so happy I managed to cling to life despite how severe my injuries were. A lot of the recovery was aided because of my age.
I can describe to you what those first days were like. Dark. Lonely. Scary in a profound and earthshaking, humbling way. Things you could do for yourself are immediately out of your reach and your daily existence is under heavy doses of Morphine to help with the pain. I came to in the ICU after undergoing the amputation of my left leg almost to the hip. Immediately the sensation of walking had left me and has never returned except in dreams occasionally. Rick understood what those first days after suffering through this kind of surgery was like and we talked a lot about the drugs we were on during the stay in the hospital.
I made my poems for them, about the effect it has had upon my life to be a part of the people who love and respect their integrity, as people and talented musicians. We all grew up together and that is one thing that sets Leppard apart form some other bands. They were real young in the 80's and so were a huge slice of their fan base, myself included. Their album "High & Dry was a hard rocking combination of music. I couldn't make this site without making this particular introduction because I feel it is necessary to demonstrate the depth of feeling some of us have for these guys and I am here to say I love every album they have ever released and I am proud of them.
Seeing their VH1 special was really moving for me, because it allowed the world to see Rick holding Lauren and it was like seeing a friend again. Sure the years may have aged the guys a bit, but let he who has no faults stand up for the world to pick apart. Hehehehe. Any takers? I didn't think so. If you've read to this point then you might as well get to the poems. I look forward to the concert I attend with my young son, because one thing this band has proven, they are here for the long haul, and I as well as millions of other people and really grateful for that.
Check out this great Def Leppard Message Board 21st Century Soundboard the people there are great and they have a awesome set up.
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