“I got intoNewarkreally late and I had the show over at the Wentworth Gallery at The Mall in Short Hills,” relayed drummer and artist Rick Allen of the quintessential 80’s rock band Def Leppard as he discussed his career as a visual and musical artist, his latest body of work and some upcoming band news.
Allen calls California home these days but has been doing limited engagement promotional art tours for his photography and painting projects. Whether it be brush strokes on the drum kit or on canvas, Allen says that what comes out in his art is all authentic.
“We lost another legend in Charlie Watts which obviously has been super devastating to the music community and the world at large; kind of the end of an era,” he began slowly. “That’s my latest piece, a really cool piece of Charlie Watts and I’m really proud of that. I’ve got an original and then what I normally do is take hi-res photos of the original and create mixed media pieces based on them. Between now and my last show, there are a couple of flags that I did. I did a really cool stars and stripes and I did a Union Jack that always harkens back to growing up in England and then coming here in 1980 with the band and experiencing America first hand. So, all of the pieces are really based on my personal experience.”
Allen suffers from PTSD and openly admits that this alternate path of artistic expression is a huge help in his coping with its effects but then again he also owns up to finding comfort in art because it was more fun than “Math.”
“Part of my daily practice is counting my blessings and I think in many respects it helps me with my PTSD. I think looking at all of these things that I do, whether that’s music, photography or the art; I’ve realized that I’ve embarked upon things that are potentially very therapeutic and healing. Painting is one of those things that I find to be soothing, it’s good for my nervous system. I actually started painting when I was a kid, I wasn’t always great with numbers, I was a good writer but painting was one of those things that was just fun. My grandfather bought me my first camera and then I got into photography and then I joined Def Leppard when I was 15 and that took up a lot of my time being in the band and then when my youngest daughter was born it wasn’t long before the two of us started painting together and it reignited my passion for doing that and it was another way for me to express myself, another way to express the creativity in me. I always find in this day and age that our kids maybe spend a little too much time on the iPad or the phone or on technology in general. So, it’s fun when we can do something as a family that brings us together where we’re not all staring at a screen; I find that really healthy. I think music really helped me with my math, the fact that everything is denominations of various groupings of numbers but what’s interesting is, when you present math in musical form I can follow along but I always found it challenging to just pull things off the top of my head. So, it’s interesting how music and being a drummer is all about math, I think music really helped me with my math.”
Music and math are very much intertwined as is art with every form of expression having its own cadence or rhythm. Allen rightfully recognizes and stresses the importance of the “Unique” stamp we put on all areas of our lives.
“I think it translates in many different ways. The beautiful thing about art or music or dance or poetry or anything is that the individual brings a totally unique slant to it; if you and I were sitting in a room and someone said, paint this or play that, me and you would play it but not exactly the same which is a good thing. The human element I think is the most important thing and what makes us unique as individuals. Sometimes it’s our imperfections that bring out our uniqueness; you know?”
“It’s almost like cursive, it’s like when we write something down in cursive; I couldn’t write it like anyone else but I know how to do it myself; it’s almost like a fingerprint, it’s unique to the individual. Just being in a room, most times by myself and trusting myself to do something that feeds my soul. Then when it’s almost finished I can start to present it or show it to people and get some feedback and that’s usually my family and then I can start to make modifications or bring something into focus.”
Wait; feedback from his family? Can’t that be risky? Family can be tough but Rick says his always offers honest assessments; when asked.
“Recently, I was working on the Charlie Watts piece and I did something with the skull paint around his head where I was trying to create a sort of halo effect and my wife looked at it and just said, “No,” (laughs) so, I waited for it to dry and just went back and painted over it and did something else; you can always start again.”
When asked if he recalled the first time he came to America with the band and what is happening going forward; Allen enthusiastically responded.
“I do, we stayed at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles and then of course, May 20, 1980 at the Santa Monica Civic was our first show opening up for Pat Travers and that was also my first meeting with Tommy Aldridge. I had gotten a brand new drum kit, it arrived in boxes; it didn’t have heads or anything on it, it was nothing but just a brand new kit. He came out and helped me set it up and that was the beginning of a long friendship that I’ve had with Tommy Aldridge.”
“I’m back on the west coast, I’m going to start painting more and playing music and I’ve got a couple of shows coming up with my wife who is also an artist; like I said, it’s great to get us all painting with no technology or computer screens. Def Leppard has a couple of things that I can’t necessarily talk about but what we are quietly optimistic about is playing a tour in 2022, starting out in June. That will be us, Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett.”
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!
This week's event listings
Al's Airport Inn 636 Bear Tavern Road West Trenton (609) 883-5252 Sat. 4 p.m. Rob Silvers Sun. (12 p.m.) Sunday Brunch (6 p.m.) "Sunday Funday" w/ DJ Spinning Mon. 5 p.m. Edison Wilson Tues. 7 p.m. Jonathan Savage Wed. 7 p.m. Rob SilversArts Council of Princeton 102 Witherspoon Street Princeton (609) 924-8777 Thurs. "Annual Member Show" (Runs daily thru 12/21) Fri. 10 a.m. “Studio Time” at Princeton Makes Hosted by Adriana Groza (Takes place at Princeton Shopping Center 301 North Harrison Street) 7:30 p.m. Story & Verse: A Storytelling and Poetic Open Mic – “Good Vibrations.” Doors open at 7 p.m., FREE event (Robeson Ceter) Sat. 7 p.m. Café Improv. $2Bill's Olde Tavern 2694 Nottingham Way Hamilton (609) 586-0192 Mon. 7 p.m. Trivia Night Tues./Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ "Super" Dave Curtis Ages 21+Blend Bar & Bistro 911 Highway 33 Hamilton (609) 245-8887 Sat. 7 p.m. Tiltin CatzBoro Bean 9 East Broad Street Hopewell (609) 466-6681 Sat. 11 a.m. John AbbottBowman's Tavern 1600 River Road New Hope, PA (215) 862-2972 Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Neil Podgurski Trio Fri. (5:30 p.m.) Bennett Lee (8 p.m.) Bob Egan Sat. 7 p.m. Dave Dales Trio Sun. (12 p.m.) Steve Guyger (6 p.m.) Lorenzo Wed. 6 p.m. Andy PrescottBroken Goblet Brewing 2500 State Road Bensalem, PA (267) 812-5653 Thurs. 7 p.m. Mike Estabrook and Friends “Grinches Night Out.” Sat. (3 p.m.) “Holiday Market 2” feat. music by Michelina and Neal (8:30 p.m.) No Doubt That’s an Ugly Christmas Sweater w/ “Doubtful” Sun. 1 p.m. “Festivus” w/ Rey Rico, Last Call Wed. 8 p.m. IMDb Night w/ “The Ice Boys”Candlelight Lounge 24 Passaic Street Trenton (609) 695-9612 Thurs. 6 p.m. Thursday Night Blues Jam Hosted by The Mojo Gypsies. $5 (Includes hot buffet)Catch A Rising Star (Hyatt Regency Princeton) 102 Carnagie Center Princeton (781) 568-1471 Fri./Sat. 7:30 p.m. Isabel Hagen, Jerrold Benford, John Campenelli. $23.69 (Doors open at 7 p.m.)Championship Bar 931 Chambers Street Trenton Sat. 6 p.m. “George’s 50th Birthday Bash” feat. Oxblood, Steel Toe Solution, Violent Way, Lvger, Fear Gods, DJ Jah Measles. All ages, $20 City Streets 510 Highway 130 South East Windsor (609) 426-9400 Sat. 8 p.m. Kindred SpiritClubhouse at Mountain View (The Patio) 850 Bear Tavern Road Ewing (609) 771-0400 Fri. 7 p.m. Radio Fiction Sat. 7 p.m. “Ernie’s Unplugged Christmas” feat. Ernie White, Tom Reock, Lisa Bouchelle.COARadio.com 125 South Main Street Hightstown (609) 241-7103 Sun. 7 p.m. "Rock On Radio" feat. “13th Annual Rock On Radio Christmas Spectacular” feat. various artistsCooper's Riverview 50 Riverview Plaza Trenton (609) 393-7300 Thurs. 9 p.m. Club Night feat. Rotating DJs (inside event) Fri. (5 p.m.) "It's 5 O'clock Somewhere Happy Hour" (8 p.m.) 80’s Undercover Sun. 11 a.m. " Sunday Latin Jazz Brunch" w/ Victor Tarassov Tues. 7 p.m. Karaoke w/ Michael Hoffman Wed. (12 p.m.) "Wine Down Wednesdays" (7 p.m.) Blues Jam / Disco Hustle Night (Inside) All Events Ages 21+Cross Pollination Gallery 2 North Union Street Lambertville (609) 213-6734 Fri. 5 p.m. "Friday Happy Hour." (Talk art, wine and musicians who bring instruments)Dacey's Pub 215 West Philadelphia Avenue Morrisville, PA (215) 295-4838 Fri. 6 p.m. Acoustic Music Night Wed. 8 p.m. QuizzoDadz Bar and Grill 744 Main Street Lumberton (609)267-4344 Thurs. 7 p.m. Open Mic Night Hosted by Edgar AndersonDog & Bull Brew House 810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA. (215) 788-2855 Sun. 4 p.m. Brian ElliotGleason's Bar 6700 Mill Creek Road Levittown, PA (215) 943-4781 Sat. 8 p.m. Little SisterHavana New Hope 105 S. Main Street New Hope, PA. (215) 862-9897 Thurs. 7:30 p.m. Cars Tribute w/ “You Might Think.” $20 Fri. (8:30 p.m.) Shot of Southern (11:59 p.m.) DJ Dance Party Sat. (8:30 p.m.) Benderz (11:59 p.m.) DJ Dance Party Sun. 6 p.m. Best Of The Eagles. $40 Mon. (9 p.m.) "Lipstick Mondays Drag Show" Hosted by Cyannie Lopez (11 p.m.) Karaoke w/ Dwayne Wed. 7 p.m. Jumper DuoHopewell Theater 5 South Greenwood Avenue Hopewell (609) 466-1964 Thurs. 7 p.m. “Your Stage At Any Stage” Open Mic Hosted by Michelle Klein feat. Rays of Hope, Helen O’Shea & The Shanakees, James Popik & Supernova + Psychic Horns. $15 Sat. (1 p.m.) Holiday Film Fest: “The Polar Express.” $12.50 (4 p.m.) “A Christmas Story” $12.50 Sun. 2 p.m. Holiday Film Fest: “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”Hopewell Valley Bistro & Inn 15 East Broad Street Hopewell (609) 466-9889 Fri. 8 p.m. Open Mic Night Sat. 5 p.m. Grant Peterson and Martin GoldbergHopewell Valley Vineyards 46 Yard Avenue Pennington (609) 737-4465 Fri. 4 p.m. "Music & Merlot" feat. (5 p.m.) Melissa Ann Sat. (1 p.m.) Ed Wilson (5 p.m.) "Music & Merlot" feat. Ugly Sweater Party w/ Deb & Mike Sun. 1:30 p.m. Chris P.Hurricane Jacks Bar and Grill 7759 New Falls Road Levittown, PA (267) 914-4517 Fri. (6 p.m.) Happy Hour (9 p.m.) Johnny Betz Sat. 9 p.m. The Diablo Sandwich Band Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paula & Sam Iron Plow Vineyards 26750 Mount Pleasant Road Columbus (732) 306-9111 Fri. 6:30 p.m. Steve Guyger Sat. 6:30 p.m. Bob OIron Plow Vineyards Tasting Room 61 High Street Mt. Holly (732) 306-9111 Fri. 6:30 p.m. Wayne Palmer & FriendsIvy Tavern 3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton (609) 888-1435 Thurs. 9:30 p.m. Karaoke Sun. 6 p.m. Karaoke Latinos All shows 21+ John & Peter's 96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa (215) 862-5981 Fri. 9 p.m. Helen O’Shea w/ Jay Posipanko, The Mike Montrey Band (A benefit for Fisherman’s Mark, donations accepted) Sat. 9 p.m. Amy Malkoff, Deirdre Forrest & the Backseams, Little Hag, the dt’s Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic (Sign-ups start at 8 p.m.) Wed. 9 p.m. The Invitational All shows 21+ Killarney's Publick House 1644 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton (609) 586-1166 Thurs. 7 p.m. Best of Clapton Fri. 9 p.m. Out Of The RedLaurita Winery 85 Archertown Road New Egypt (609) 752-0200 Thurs. 5 p.m. Fire Pits and Wine Sun. 5 p.m. New Jersey Chamber Singers Wed. 12 p.m. Girls Night Out: Ages 21+Logan Inn 9 South Main Street New Hope, PA (215) 862-2300 Fri. 8:30 p.m. Bridge Beat Duo Sat. (5 p.m.) Monthly Movie Holiday Series: “Great Expectations,” “Beyond Tomorrow,” “Scrooge,” “The Great Rupert.” (8 p.m.) Rob TaitMarketFair 3535 U.S Highway 1 Princeton (Center Courtyard) (609) 452-7777 Mon. thru Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. “Visit With Santa” Sun. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. “Visit With Santa”McGuinn's Place 1781 Brunswick Avenue Lawrence (609) 392-0599 Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke Ages 21+ McStews Irish Sports Pub 5316 New Falls Road Levittown, PA (215) 949-9570 Fri. 10 p.m. Ugly Sweater Party w/ Fish Out of Water Sat. 9 p.m. Annual Christmas Party Hosted by The Fredz Tues. 7:30 p.m. Trivia Night Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paula and SamMillhill Basement 300 S. Broad Street Trenton (609) 989-1600 Fri. 9:30 p.m. The Cryptkeeper Five Christmas Spectacular feat. The Cryptkeeper Five, The Barren Marys, Puppy Pile, Skelly. Ages 21+, $5More Than Q 13 Klines Court Lambertville (609) 773-0072 Sat. 12 p.m. “Christmas Spirits Musical Christmas Bash” feat. Keith Kenny, Bill and Fred’s Excellent Holiday Adventure, Tod The Mod Sun. 2 p.m. Packy’s Sunday Brunch feat. Sim Cain, Dave Haneman, Keith HartelMusic Mountain Theater 1483 Route 179 Lambertville (609)397-3337 Fri. 8 p.m. “A Christmas Carol” $25 Sat. 3 p.m./8 p.m. “A Christmas Carol” $25 Sun. 3 p.m. “A Christmas Carol” $25New Egypt Flea Market Village 933 Monmouth County Road Cream Ridge (609) 758-2082 Fri. (5 p.m.) Holiday Market (6 p.m.) Ugly Sweater Contest (7 p.m.) Holiday Wreath Making Workshop Sat. 5 p.m. Full Moon Market (Cold Moon)New Hope Winery 6123 Lower York Road New Hope, PA (215) 794-2331 Fri. 8 p.m. Jeffrey Gaines Sat. 8 p.m. Chicago Tribute w/ “Beginnings” Sun. 1 p.m. Stranger Things (Pour House)Newtown Brewing Company 103 Penns Trail Newtown, PA (215) 944-8609 Thurs. 7:30 p.m. “HoHoHoliday” Trivia Night Fri. 6 p.m. Boondashark Sun. 4 p.m. Ryan SabalaskeNick's Roast Beef 4501 Woodhaven Road West Philadelphia, PA (215) 637-5151 Fri. 8 p.m. AJ Slick Sat. 8 p.m. The Launch or EarCandyNottingham Tavern 9 Mercer Street Hamilton Square (609) 587-6623 Thurs. 9:30 pm. Karaoke w/ Super Dave Curtis Sat. 9:30 p.m. Radio FictionOld Town Pub 135 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown (609) 291-9232 Thurs. 7 p.m. Quizzoholics Trivia Fri. 12 p.m. Ugly Sweater Day Sat. 8:30 p.m. The Williamsboy Tues. 7 p.m. "Dinner Is A Drag" Hosted by Victoria CourtezPalmer Square 40 Nassau Street Princeton Thurs. (4 p.m.) "Skating On The Square" $10/$12 (Includes skate rental) Fri. 4 p.m. "Skating On The Square" $10/$12 (Includes skate rental) Sat.12 p.m./4 p.m. "Skating On the Square" $10/$12 (Includes skate rental) Spiced Punch / Strolling Santa Sun 12 p.m./4 p.m. "Skating On the Square" $10/$12 (Includes skate rental) Spiced Punch / Strolling SantaPasquale's Sports Bar 9078 Mill Creek Road Levittown, PA (267) 202-6268 Fri. 5 p.m. Happy Hour feat. (TBA) Sat. 8 p.m. DJ or Live Band Entertainment Tues. 7:30 p.m. Quizzo Wed. 7 p.m. Open MicPatriots Crossing 1339 River Road Titusville (609) 737-2780 Thurs. 8 p.m. Open Mic Night Fri. 8 p.m. MLC Band Sat. 8 p.m. Paul Plumeri Band Wed. 7 p.m. "Quizzo" Pete's Steak House 523 Whitehorse Avenue Hamilton (609) 585-8008 Fri. 9 p.m. Cover UpPrinceton Public Library 65 Witherspoon Street Princeton (609) 924-9529 Sat. 12 p.m. "Artist Chalet Winter Village" (Takes place daily on Hinds Plaza thru December 19)Randy Now's Man Cave 134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown (609) 424-3766 Sun. 6 p.m. Ed Hamell “Hamell For The Holidays” $12Recklesstown Farm Distillery 2800 Route 206 North Columbus (609) 784-8046 Sun. 2 p.m. Talking In CursiveSmall World Coffee 14 Witherspoon Street Princeton (609) 924-4377 x2 Sat. 6 p.m. Larry CorbanSparky World-Famous Beer Garden 4333 New Falls Road Levittown, PA (215) 943-2321 Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke Sat. 9:30 p.m. Never EnoughStars & Stripes Harley Davidson 600 South Flowers Mill Road Langhorne, PA (215) 752-9400 Thurs. 6 p.m. Guys Night Out Sat. 11 a.m. Photos with SantaTankard Pub 440 Keim Boulevard Burlington (609) 306-5079 Thurs. 7 p.m. The WilliamsboyTara's Tavern 1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown (609) 286-2300 Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Big Daddy G Sat. 9 p.m. AmptonsTavern On The Lake 101 Main Street Hightstown (609) 426-9345 Sat. 8 p.m. “Tavern & Tiaras Holiday SLAY Ride” Drag Show Wed. 9 p.m. KaraokeTGI Fridays 3535 U.S. Route 1 North #275 Princeton (609) 520-0378 Fri. 5 p.m. Ernie White Sun. 1 p.m. Lisa BouchelleThe Buck Hotel 1200 Buck Road Feasterville, PA (215) 396-2002 Thurs. 7 p.m. Kevin Kirk Fri. 7 p.m. Love Junk Sat. 9 p.m. Soul Cruisers Tues. 6 p.m. Danny LynchThe Cool Cricket 216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro (609) 291-9110 Thurs. 8 p.m. DJ Ran D Fri. 8 p.m. Karaoke Sat. 9:30 p.m. Merry Christmas w/ “Asylum Choir”The Dubliner 34 North Main Street New Hope, PA (215) 693-1816 Fri. 7 p.m. Ray Coleman Sat. 7 p.m. Gerry TimlinThe Five Four Bar & Grill 8919 New Falls Road Levittown, PA (215) 547-5525 Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paula and Sam Fri. 9 p.m. Buzzer Band Sat. 9 p.m. Ugly Sweater Party w/ Spare PartsThe Irish Horne Bar & Restaurant 882 2nd Street Pike Richboro, PA (215) 942-4000 Thurs. 8 p.m. Live Irish MusicThe Ivy Inn 248 Nassau Street Princeton (609) 921-8555 Fri. 10 p.m. Rainbow Fresh Sat. 10 p.m. DJ Iron Mike Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv Wed. 10 p.m. Total Request w/ DJ Rockin' RonThe Morrisville Tavern 376 West Trenton Avenue Morrisville, PA (215) 295-5310 Mon. 7 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Tim Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic Wed. 7 p.m. Trivia NightThe Roost 181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge (609) 208-0050 Thurs. “Christmas Light Walk-thru” (Daily thru January 1, 2022)The Sycamore Grill 255 North Sycamore Street Newtown, PA (215) 908-6326 Fri. 8 p.m. Danny Lynch Project Sat. 8 p.m. Stage LeftTir Na Nog 1324 Hamilton Avenue Trenton (609) 392-2554 Sun. 3 p.m. "Irish Sessions" Hosted by Billy O’Neal Tues. 8 p.m. Open Mic Hosted by Jerry & John Monk All Shows 21+ Trenton Social 449 South Broad Street Trenton (609) 989-7777 Thurs. 5 p.m. "Happy Hour Throwback Thursday" Sat. 6 p.m. Live Music (TBA) Mon. 6 p.m. "Monday Night Karaoke" Hosted by Sweets Tues. 8 p.m. Open Mic Night w/ Tobias & Lea (Sign-ups at 7:30 p.m.)Vault Brewing Company 10 South Main Street Yardley, PA (267) 573-4291 Fri. 7 p.m. Dave Posmontier Duo Sat. 7 p.m. Suzette Ortiz Latin EnsembleWorking Dog Winery 610 Windsor Perrineville Road Hightstown (609) 371-6000 Sat. 12 p.m. The Williamsboy Sun. 12 p.m. Rob Messina
Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.