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Thread: The thinking person's drummer

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    The thinking person's drummer

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    Neil Peart was one of those that came under the heading of ''the thinking person's drummer." There have been a few drummers like that in rock {you'd expect that in jazz}, musical drummers that not only provided the time and driving beat, but also played in such a way that to call them percussionists wouldn't have been out of place.
    He went somewhat further than a lot of drummers in that he provided many, many thought provoking lyrics down the years. He gave Rush much of what made them accessible or a snorefest in their songs. Either way, it showed the power of his lyrics and what he had to say.
    I really liked his variety.

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    Great musician. He'll be missed.

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    I thought he'd more or less retired from playing, a bit like Bill Bruford.
    It does make one wonder if his brain condition figured in his reasons for finding it difficult to play which led to his initial decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grimtraveller View Post
    I thought he'd more or less retired from playing, a bit like Bill Bruford.
    It does make one wonder if his brain condition figured in his reasons for finding it difficult to play which led to his initial decision.
    He had retired (from live music at least).

    Apparently his hearing loss, etc was resulting in a lot of physical pain during live shows.

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    I first heard of Rush in '79 when I was living out in Nigeria. I was 16 at the time and had recently gotten into heavy rock and I got this "Rock on" annual for my sister and in it was a section that was to play a huge part in my life ~ its A~Z of heavy metal. There were only 30 bands in it, including Styx, Boston, Free, Kansas, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Wishbone Ash and Status Quo. I guess the book covered up to the end of 1978.
    Also in that A~Z was the almost unheard of, sunk without a trace band, Quartz {produced by Tony Iommi}, Canadians Prism and some mean looking outfit called The Godz. There was no Budgie, Grand Funk Railroad, Sir Lord Baltimore, Trapeze, Captain Beyond or Armageddon. I was intrigued by Canada having heavy 3 pieces called Rush and Mahogany Rush {a superb band that were definitely seen as the inferiors in the battle of the Rushes}. There was even a band from Canada at the same time called Bull Rush and all three were on the same bill a few times before Peart joined.
    But I digress.
    The annual had a story of Rush called "The Rush story" and most of what one learned about the actual members was what we learned about Neil Peart. We learned he'd lived in England, that he'd nearly been in a synth band called 7th Wave and that he'd hurt his hands and had to stop drumming for a while which is why he didn't join them. The 7th Wave thing was a mighty coincidence because that same christmas, I was given a book on LP covers and their two albums are in it. One of the covers made me dizzy.....
    So for the best part of a year, as I got into the heavy stuff and discovered albums left right and centre by 26 of those 30 bands, when it came to Rush, Neil Peart was the one that tended to stick in my mind because he was a lyric writing drummer and also the 7th Wave connection. It was Nov '80 before I actually heard any music by Rush ~ "Permanent Waves" {I got it on one side of a tape with Thin Lizzy's "Black Rose"}. I loved it from the kick off and soon after got 2112. The music was spellbindingly good and Peart's influence was both musical and served the imagination because of those lyrics. Yet the funny thing for me was that although the lyrics and themes were his {I also got into "A farewell to kings"}, it was impossible to separate Geddy Lee's vocals from the words and they kind of became one with each other. The same thing happened for me with Ozzy Osbourne singing Geezer Butler's lyrics. He just "Ozzified" them, so much so that it was almost as though he'd written the words. Unlike say, Roger Daltrey, who, I never found to be a strong vocalist so when I hear the Who vocals, I'm always thinking about what it is Pete Townshend is saying {unless it's John Entwistle's song}.
    I saw the band live in '83 but it was a big disappointment ~ and not because 4 of my friends had been sentenced to jail terms that day {it actually served them right}. It was a lacklustre gig and the sound was awful. Up until that point, I'd never been to a gig that had a bad sound. When Peart did a drum solo, I was completely unimpressed. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was an early hint that drum solos and me were never going to be bedfellows. But the Rush LPs I had from 1980 and 81 I still love and listen to now and long before it was fashionable to ooh and aahh over Peart's drumming, I thought his playing was fantastic.
    But suffice it to say, Peart and I go back a long, long way. In the photo that accompanied that story on them back in '79, though I didn't know who was who, I thought Peart looked weird !

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    From what I understood, it was his hand arthritis which was the biggest issue to playing, not hearing nor his cancer. Peart was most definitely up there with the best technical drummers, such as Billy Cobham, Bill Bruford and Jon Hiseman.

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