Basic Background Info
Neil Peart has garnered momentous amounts of well-deserved fame and respect from fans and critics alike, thanks to his technical drumming proficiency, as well as his poise as a lyricist. Neil Peart joined Canadian wonder-band Rush more than thirty years ago. To date, Rush has sold more than 25,000,000 records. Neil Peart, even after thirty years, is regularly featured at the top of Modern Drummer, DRUM!, and Drummer World reader polls.
When Neil Peart expressed interest in drums a child in Ontario, Canada, his parents agreed that if he consistently practiced for one year (on practice pads and with lessons), they would buy him a drum kit. Neil Peart earned the kit and his parents paid for him to receive lessons at the Peninsula Conservatory of Music. His first band, The Eternal Triangle, allowed Neil Peart to play his first solo for a high school audience. As a teenager, Neil Peart performed with local bands Mumblin’ Sumpthin’, Majority, and JR Flood.
On the hunt for musical opportunities, Neil Peart traveled to London. His overseas search proved virtually fruitless, so he returned to Canada and auditioned for Rush. On July 29, 1974, Neil Peart officially joined Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. Neil Peart wasted no time in affirming that Geddy and Alex had chosen the right drummer for the job. Before long, Neil Peart also took over primary songwriting duties for the group. Rush’s first album, Fly By Night, was fairly successful, but their follow-up, Caress of Steel, fell flat. Refocusing their efforts musically, Rush released the breakthrough album 2112 and, suddenly, all the ears in the U.S. and Canada seemed to be tuned in on them.
By the late 1970s, Rush permeated mainstream listeners and, while each member proved themselves to be individually excellent, Neil Peart’s drumming evolved a step beyond into brilliance. Neil Peart’s influences included unique players like John Bonham, Buddy Rich, and Gene Krupa. Neil Peart's fans appreciated the imaginative, detailed drum fills and dazzlingly elaborate solos. Peart’s popularity grew as Rush continued recording and touring.
Amid Rush’s success, Neil Peart continued to improve his style and technique. In the mid-90s, he took lessons from Freddie Grubber and ultimately learned to incorporate a traditional grip along with his long-time matched grip. Neil Peart also learned to incorporate electric drums into his set and frequently played both sets in a unique 360 degree kit. Always adept at integrating an array of percussion (orchestra bells, tubular bells, wind chimes, crotales, timbales, timpani, gong, temple blocks, bell tree, triangle, and cowbells) into his performances, Neil Peart eventually used electronics to help him physically reach every percussion instrument in his set. Neil Peart also frequently played with the “wrong” end of his drumsticks. Neil Peart learned to do this as a young musician who couldn’t afford to buy a new pair of sticks every time he broke off the tips. Neil Peart used the heavy end to create a solid impact without the hassle of a weighted stick.
Neil Peart suffered a personal tragedy in the late 1990s when both his daughter and wife unexpectedly passed away. Rush went on hiatus to allow Neil Peart some time to recover. In 2000, Neil Peart remarried and returned to Rush. Their next album, Vapor Trails, was critically applauded, as was as their 30th Anniversary Celebration.
Neil Peart’s talent is not limited to the drum set. Neil Peart has authored several non-fiction books, mostly personal reflections and travelogues of his many road trips.
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