Three months after a shocking physical attack following a Def Leppard show in Florida, the band’s drummer, Rick Allen, has finally spoken out about the bizarre incident. In an interview with Good Morning America, Allen, 59, said he was “totally blindsided” by the alleged attack by 19-year-old Ohio resident Max Hartley.
“I heard a couple of steps and then I just saw this [flash] and the next thing I knew was I was on the ground,” Allen told GMA. “I landed on my backside… hit my head on the pavement.” Afraid he’d be attack again after being pushed down, Allen — who lost his left arm after a 1984 car crash — put up his right hand and told his alleged attacker, “I am no threat to you.”
“I don’t think he knew who I was, but he must have seen that I wasn’t a threat because, you know, I’ve only got one arm,” said Allen. Fort Lauderdale police arrested Hartley shortly after the alleged attack near the site of the assault outside the Four Seasons in Fort Lauderdale on March 13, which also allegedly included an assault on a woman who came to Allen’s aid. Hartley was later charged with two counts of battery and four of criminal mischief and abusing an elderly or disabled adult; he pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
A police report at the time noted that Hartley hid behind a pillar outside the hotel entrance while Allen smoked and then allegedly rushed at the drummer at full speed and knocked him to the ground. The report said that Allen “hit his head on the ground causing injury” and that when a woman ran out to help Allen Hartley allegedly attacked her as well.
Hartley was arrested a short time later after police found him at another hotel allegedly breaking car windows.
Allen told GMA that he is coping by playing drums, specifically for the long-running band’s first show since the attack, an intimate gig Monday night (May 22) in Sheffield, England. “I know that I’m not going to be playing music in a band forever,” Allen told GMA. “But while I am, I plan on making as many people happy as I possibly can. And this is my time. This is my opportunity.”