Embracing The Spirit of Neil Peart: An Aural Appreciation of the Late, Great Rush Drummer

Neil Peart, perhaps the only male to influence simply as numerous air drummers as actual practicing drummers, died on January 7, 2020, following a personal and long fight with brain cancer. The world-renowned, world-class drummer and chief lyricist for Rush, the perpetually progressive Canadian power trio, was 67 years of ages.

His expertise behind the kit, Peart was also a well known lyricist who prided himself on showing a self-taught, didactic and literate 2nd nature that commemorated both the merits of unflinching introspection and wide-eyed wonderment with the universe at big. He took advantage of the internal experience many teenagers and twentysomethings in the 1970s and ’80s felt internally however could not truly reveal in open online forums in the pre-Internet age– namely because there wasn’t any easily found avenue to do so collectively. At times, the only arenas of true communion were to be discovered in performance halls all across North America, numerous of which Rush filled to the rafters on essentially every trip they carried out.

Photo by Andrew MacNaughtan.

Prior to they got even more extensive approval leading up to and beyond their induction into the Rock & & Roll Hall of Fame in April 2013, Rush was a band really unique to the quite specific postwar Gen X experience. They were amongst the very first recording artists to appeal to “the misfits and the dreamers” alike in a way that was never ever quite understood by the tastemaking cognoscenti of the preliminary rock period.< img src= "/ images/011420 _ spirit_of_peart_Phillip_Kamen.

“Pert,” as numerous uninformed talking heads got wrong this previous week) opted for retirement following that last R40 trip.

=” 404″ border =” 0″ > Rush during the Hemispheres duration. Courtesy Mercury-UMe. Throughout 19 studio albums, 1 covers EP, and 11 live recordings, Rush took advantage of and outright mastered the type of prog-centric plans numerous a budding and card-carrying audiophile might easily welcome. Rush eventually evolved from nascent analog kids into full-fledged digital guys, adopting the permanently moving waves of innovation that allowed their typically intricate music to be finest appreciated in a type most befitting their aspirations– namely, the glories of surround noise.

I suppose I might go on and on and on and continue listing a lot more impactful minutes like those above, as Peart liked to challenge both himself and the listener with every choice he made behind the kit. And, felt confident, there are numerous traditional Professorial minutes to be mentioned and dissected appropriately (a number of which have actually already been catalogued and analyzed to no end throughout the interwebs), however the bottom line stays this: Every taped component of this male’s amazing body of work shows that Neil Peart’s passing is at a level of end-of-an-era significance on par with, if not even more increased than, that of both jazz legend/innovator Buddy Rich and Led Zeppelin’s indomitable powerhouse, John Bonham.

I had the privilege of seeing Rush live 24 times– the very first being on December 13, 1981 in Roanoke, Virginia throughout the Exit Stage Left Tour, and the last being on June 27, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey for R40, their final tour. Watching Peart (aka ‘The Professor”) and his two Ontario-bred compatriots, bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Geddy Lee and guitarist/vocalist Alex Lifeson, recreate the effective and wondrous sounds they created together in the recording studio live onstage was constantly an unique occasion– specifically Peart’s nighttime drum solo, which always had a various character to it on every tour they did, and something he never ever played the exact same way twice.

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Also, over the last few years, Quality Record Pressings has actually reissued the band’s primary Mercury and Atlantic-era catalog on 180-gram and/or 200-gram LPs as remastered by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Mastering Studios in London. We’ve also witnessed a few of Rush’s latter-era live albums hit multi-disc wax for the very first time also, such as October 2003’s Rush in Rio and November 2011’s Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland.

< img src= "/ images/011420 _ spirit_of_peart_Fin_Costello. jpg" width= "600" height =" 604" border=" 0 "> Photo by Fin Costello. Jon Butcher Axis visited with Rush in 1983 throughout the Signals Tour, and JBA namesake guitarist/vocalist Jon Butcher recalls that time on the road eventually to be well spent. “To say their fans are rabid would be understatement,” Butcher observes. “I’m unsure to this day that the Axis was the perfect fit for that tour. We were the opening act, and throughout a number of dates, I hesitated their fans would kill us prior to Rush came on. But one thing sticks out– Neil Peart. He was kind and generous to us, and watching him work from backstage was extraordinary. I will miss him.”

Lucky for us, an excellent part of Rush’s abundant brochure has actually seen such hi-res 5.1 upgrades to date– particularly, February 1975’s Fly by Night, 2112, September 1977’s A Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres, Moving Pictures, Signals, and May 2007’s Snakes & & Arrows (with ideally much more to come in the years ahead).

But do not just take my word for how important Neil Peart and Rush really are to the overall rock pantheon. To that end, I connected to a couple of musicians and producer pals to shed some light from their own personal and professional experiences with the guy himself. “Neil had his own voice on the instrument, however a lot more, he had his own literary voice,” mentions Styx drummer Todd Sucherman, a kitsmaster of the highest order who continues to top numerous readers’ polls in Modern Drummer every year. “In particular, 2112 through Signals loomed big in my youth. And I discovered every note of Moving Pictures when I was in 6th grade. That record still can catapult me back to those days. Every story I ever became aware of the people in Rush– and I’ve heard a lot– all truly represents them as wonderful, excellent people.”

From the much more personal side of things, Jimmy Johnson was a youth friend of Peart’s who functioned as Alex Lifeson’s guitar tech for years prior to becoming the go-to equipment guy for Tommy Shaw of Styx for over 20 years. Johnson, who himself unfortunately died in July 2019, once told me the trick for why he and Peart continued to stay close after all those years passed. “We decided early in our relationship that I was never going to establish his drums, since that may be the end of our relationship,” he informed me with a laugh. “That’s a wise boy there, him saying that to me.”

Richard Chycki, the Toronto-based producer/engineer accountable for seven of Rush’s studio album 5.1 blends to date, weighed in with his own fond remembrances. “As a teenager, my first exposure to Rush was 2112— ‘Temples of Syrinx,’ to be accurate,” he recalls. “It was heavy, extreme, and quite unlike anything I had heard in the past– piercing vocals overlooking the precise syncopation of a trio that truly integrated together. Suddenly, essentially every drummer I understood was demanding performance toms and expanding their kits to mammoth proportions– all influenced by the frustrating prowess of one Neil Elwood Peart.

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” As a guitar player and fan, I would listen to [September 1976’s live set] All the World’s a Stage and revel in the life of the album,” Chycki continues. “I had not seen Rush live yet, but that album made me live it. And when Ged would introduce The Professor and the crowd blew up, I would marvel in Peart’s musicality, accuracy, and ferocity … every … single … time. From Fly by Night forward, Peart’s stoicism and downplayed presence stressed his innate predispositions as one of the finest drummers worldwide and as a deep, significant lyricist.”

Alas, all excellent things should in turn come to an end, and with the passing of Neil Peart, we will certainly never see nor hear the likes of him again (or Rush themselves, for that matter). That being said, I choose to continue commemorating the large unyielding scope of the man’s skill, and will cherish listening to the music he and his 2 Canadian counterparts made together for over 4 years for as long as I’m around to enjoy them myself.

” During my tenure of taping Rush in the studio, Neil’s strength of performance was typically balanced out by cherubic giggling at Lifeson’s jokes, Ged’s one-liners, and my beyond awful imitations of sitcom stars and animation characters. I was honored to be witness to the comradery of the true friendship the members of Rush share.

< img src ="/ images/011420 _ spirit_of_peart_Andrew_MacNaughtan_3. jpg" width="600" height="900" border="0" > Photo by Andrew McNaughtan.

In closing, I ‘d like to share a maxim I choose to follow eventually or another every single day, one that’s culled from an essential line Peart proffered in the above-noted “Caravan,” a grandiosely heavy track on the band’s last studio album, June 2012’s Clockwork Angels: “I can’t stop thinking big, I can’t stop thinking big.”.

JPG” width= “600” height= “400” border =” 0″ > Photo by Andrew McNaughtan.’ Der Trommler’ was Neil’s solo of late. My working video copy was virtually all straight overhead, and I remember being enthralled seeing him carry out at such a revealing cam angle, Peart performing the most challenging of performances with agility and power tempered by grace.

Fare thee well, o commemorated baterista.

Over the course of 19 studio albums, 1 covers EP, and 11 live recordings, Rush tapped into and outright mastered the kind of prog-centric plans lots of a budding and card-carrying audiophile could readily embrace. Don’t simply take my word for how crucial Neil Peart and Rush really are to the overall rock pantheon. Jon Butcher Axis explored with Rush in 1983 throughout the Signals Tour, and JBA namesake guitarist/vocalist Jon Butcher recalls that time on the roadway eventually to be well spent. Richard Chycki, the Toronto-based producer/engineer responsible for 7 of Rush’s studio album 5.1 blends to date, weighed in with his own fond remembrances. “I had not seen Rush live yet, however that album made me live it.