Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen spoke in a recent interview with Modern Drummer and revealed the rituals that he has been doing in the backstage before the shows.
In the conversation, Rick mentioned the importance of being calm and steady for the show, instead of being excited and full of adrenaline. He said that focusing on the music is the main priority for him and revealed what exercises he does for that.
Rick stated that breathing and visualization are two of the key factors to staying calm and pointed out that thinking about what he is going to do in the stage really helps him to stay calm.
Furthermore, Rick admitted that he is getting nervous whenever he shows up for the stage, but also this emotion changes to hyper-focus after the time he plays the first bars. Moreover, Rick said that he lives in the moment after that instead of thinking about the songs.
Modern Drummer asked:
“PTSD drummer question – how does it affect you with playing in large crowds, do you have any rituals?”
Rick Allen replied:
“That’s really a great question. I just saw an interview that Steve Smith did with you guys – he was telling the story, we were in this stadium playing and somebody asked him, ‘Well, why aren’t you all excited?’
And his answer was something like, ‘Well, I don’t need to be, I really need to just be calm and focused on the music.’ And that’s the same for me.
My tour manager would come up to me and gives me a bucket full of adrenaline and say, ‘You have to consume all of it before you go on,’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t want any more, I can’t take any more.’
“So really, the ritual is trying to stay calm; breathing, visualization, visualize what I’m about to do, and just try and stay in that place of just being relaxed and calm because I don’t need to get pumped up – because as soon as I see that many people in one place, I’m like, ‘Oh my…’
I get really nervous, but then when I get behind the drums, I play the first few bars, that nervousness transforms into – it’s almost like a hyper-focus, and then all these thoughts that are rattling around in my head, everything ends up in my heart.
And then I’m just in the moment and just playing, I’m not thinking about what I’m going to play, I just play.”
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