Rush Drummer Neil Peart: Master Student

I will never stop missing him or this band! THE BEST.

The Clockwork Angels Tour Concert in Buffalo, NY October 26 2012 was probably the best concert I ever attended.


The band Rush has a huge fan base at home in Canada and around the world, but despite having a big appreciation for their musicianship, I’ve never counted myself among them. (Please don’t @ me.) In reading Brian Hiatt‘s moving Rolling Stone retrospective in which family, friends, and bandmates remember the late Neil Peart, Rush’s drummer, I learned a lot that deepened my respect for the band, and for Peart in particular. A year ago, Peart died from glioblastoma, the same form of brain cancer that took another important Canadian musician, Gord Downie.

While Peart was a prolific reader who used his tour downtime to “fill the gaps in his education,” what struck me most was the student mindset he brought to the drums, despite being widely recognized as a virtuoso.

Before band rehearsals for Rush tours, he’d practice on his own for weeks to ensure he…

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6 Replies to “Rush Drummer Neil Peart: Master Student”

  1. Thanks for the share. Peart not only was a legendary drummer who looked to improve, he was the writer or co-writer of many of the songs by Rush. What goes less noticed is the very artful lyrics in their rock and roll songs. One of my favorites is from “Free will,”

    “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” This is so very profound.

    Thanks, Keith

  2. The lyrics got to me first. Then the virtuosity of the musicians. Once of the first Rush concerts I went to, I was within the first ten rows, just to see how they did it … three guys sounding like six or seven guys.

    I will miss them forever. Of course I have all the albums & I listen all the time.

    1. One of the things that blew other musicians away is what you said. How can three people make all that music? I saw them with my two boys when they were in college and high school. One of the lesser known songs I love is “Trees,” as it is a huge metaphor for the destructive power of we/ they-ism. Keith

  3. I love their early music but it’s their later albums that I truly love … “Vapor Trails”, “Snakes & Arrows” & “Clockwork Angels”. The final song of “Clockwork Angels”, “The Garden” is probably my favorite Rush tune but of course, it’s hard to narrow it down to ONE. I love these lyrics: “The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect/So hard to earn, so easily burned”

    1. That is excellent and an exemplar of their body of work. There is a line from “Subdivisions” I like – “conform or be cast out” which shows how diverse thinking is frowned upon in groups

  4. I remember when I first heard that song. I was four years out of high school but I was like YES! That’s exactly what it was like! I was one of those misfits. Trying to fit in “in the basement bars/in the backseats of cars” … Took me a while to figure out that there was power in being different.

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