Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist for rock band Rush, dies at 67
Category: Travel, Geography and Foreign CulturesVia: perrie-halpern • 3 years ago • 12 comments
By: Daniel Arkin and Diana Dasrath
Neil Peart, the prodigiously talented drummer and eclectic primary lyricist for the Canadian rock band Rush, died Tuesday in Santa Monica, California, according to a family spokesman.
He was 67.
The cause of death was brain cancer, which he had been battling quietly for three years, according to his spokesman, Elliot Mintz.
He was considered one of the most gifted and electrifying drummers in pop music history, a virtuosic stylist and technical maestro who inspired a cult following with his dazzling fusions of hard rock and jazz.
Peart, who joined Rush in 1974 and helped catapult the group to fame, was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1983, when he was in his late 30s. The popular trio included Geddy Lee on vocals, keyboards and bass, and Alex Lifeson on guitars.Neil Peart, right, with Rush bandmates guitarist Alex Lifeson, left, and bassist Geddy Lee in 1977. Fin Costello / Redferns
"It is with broken hearts and the deepest sadness that we must share the terrible news that on Tuesday our friend, soul brother and band mate of over 45 years, Neil, has lost his incredibly brave three-and-half-year battle with brain cancer," the band said in a joint statement on Twitter .
"Rest in peace, brother," the statement added.
Peart was widely celebrated for writing vivid, heady lyrics heavily influenced by science fiction, philosophy and classic literature. He also infused the band's most famous tracks, including "Freewill" and "Tom Sawyer," with a defiantly individualistic streak that some characterized as politically libertarian.
In tributes on Twitter, other rock music luminaries — including Max Weinberg, the longtime drummer for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, and Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys — expressed their condolences and praised Peart as a once-in-a-generation talent.
"Drumming legend as we all know," Weinberg said , "but a truly kind man."
Peart was born Sept. 12, 1952, and took up drumming as a teenager. "I got a pair of sticks, a practice pad and lessons," he told an interviewer in 2005.
He drew elements of his technique from the hard-driving rock of The Who and Led Zeppelin, as well as the zesty swing of jazz and big-band music, ultimately perfecting an intricately layered but rigorously precise style all his own.
Peart was devastated by two tragedies in the late 1990s: his first daughter, Selena Taylor, died in a car accident near Ontario in 1997, and his common-law wife of 23 years, Jacqueline Taylor, died of cancer in June 1998.
The celebrated drummer announced his retirement from professional music in late 2015, after the conclusion of the R40 Live Tour. "It does pain me to realize that, like all athletes, there comes a time to ... take yourself out of the game," he told Drumhead Magazine.
Peart is survived by his wife, Carrie, and their daughter, Olivia Louise Peart. Mintz said funeral plans were pending.
What a loss.
Rest peacefully buddy,,,I can’t even tell you how vitally important your art has been. Just know we are truly grateful for you sharing your gift with us.
Here is Neil's masterpiece — his solo on the R30 tour (the 30th anniversary of Rush ... they continued another 10+ years).
@1:22 he starts a paradiddle across multiple instruments. A paradiddle is a drum rudiment with the following sticking: L R L L R L R R. The paradiddle produces a cool effect but it is amazing when the sticking is applied to multiple instruments.
@3:02 he moves to his signature 4-way independence demonstration. He starts with a baseline rhythm in 3/4 time (waltz) starting with a bass drum (kick drum) beat (boom) followed by two steps (chick chick) on the hi-hat (the two vertically mounted cymbals to his left). So his right foot hits 'boom' while his left foot follows with 'chick chick'. Boom chick chick, boom chick chick, .... Now Neil does all sorts of stuff with his hands while maintaining the consistent 3/4 beat. His hands go into entirely incompatible time signatures. You will notice this because you will likely get lost as you try to follow (starting @3:40) what he is doing. Four way independence is one of the most difficult things to master.
@6:30 he starts doing a series of double crossovers. First with the snare and the hi-hat and then with the snare and floor-tom. A double crossover is a technique in which one alternates between (typically) two instruments with a pattern that requires the percussionist to cross the right hand over the left and then the left over the right. This is notoriously difficult to do as well (fast) and it looks amazing as part of a performance. The Peart double-crossover sticking in this solo is as follows:
The balance of the solo is largely self-explanatory as he moves into his Buddy Rich (big band) tribute. It is, as a whole, a remarkable performance showing musicality, innovation and technique. (Peart played the xylophone as a child.)
Masterful! Stellar! I feel wildly entertained. I give the presentation 99.99 percent, not knowing what the drummer would say he could do better!
Incidentally, what's with the dryers on set?
Tig! Thank you for sharing the breakdown on reading (drum) music. Some years ago, because of music background, when I was teaching myself piano (should not have stopped!) I was developing at the step where the 'separation' of both hands playing something different and the retraining of the brain gets involved (and I lost my two students) and I stopped practicing! Well, I can "see" that happening with a drummer's musicality and 'crossover' techniques. Years of training for sure and I feel I am speaking lightly about it.
3. The clothes dryers on stage are a satire on arena rock trends One of the more interesting aspects of Rush's stage show over the last decade has been the appearance of working clothes dryers on the right side of the stage. These set pieces, which spin Rush t-shirts throughout the performance, were brought about when Geddy Lee began to run his sound directly through the front of house console, eliminating the need for an amp stack on his side of the stage. Needing to fill a now empty hole on the stage, the band took the opportunity to poke fun at the habit of rockers filling the stage with walls of amps, only a few of which are usually functional. The dryers aren't the only appliances that have made an appearance on Rush's stage, they have also used refrigerators, vending machines and even giant rotisserie ovens that cooked real chicken and were attended to by a chef throughout.
From Rolling Stone:
Peart was a drummer’s drummer, beloved by his peers; he won prizes in Modern Drummer’s annual readers’ poll 38 times, and was a formative influence on countless young players. “His power, precision, and composition was incomparable,” Dave Grohl said in a statement released Friday. “He was called ‘The Professor’ for a reason: We all learned from him.”
“Neil is the most air-drummed-to drummer of all time,” former Police drummer Stewart Copeland told Rolling Stone in 2015. “Neil pushes that band, which has a lot of musicality, a lot of ideas crammed into every eight bars — but he keeps the throb, which is the important thing. And he can do that while doing all kinds of cool shit.”
Rush - Fly By Night (Official Music Video)
The 'early' days. I have to tell you Geddy Lee's voice has always stoked something in me. It is not easily placed either. But the musicality of that man's voice is superb. I think this was my first RUSH song to love. Also, note the scaled down drums. LOL!
Of all the percussionists in rock, Neil Peart has been the most influential to me. My respect for his skills is shared by (it would seem) most of my fellow percussionists. Not a good day.