I am a longtime subscriber to Modern Drummer and have been eagerly awaiting the May 2020 issue ever since I read that you were writing a tribute to Neil Peart. Neil has been one of my biggest drumming inspirations and influences since I was a teenager in the 1970s. His drumming was so lyrical and precise. Everything he played was so clean and sharp. It’s as if he was speaking to the listener through his drumming.
Since the May issue arrived I have been devouring the articles on Neil, and they have been fantastic. I was born in Hamilton, Ontario, and as great as it was to see Hamilton mentioned in your opening article as the birthplace of Neil Peart, he was actually born approximately twenty miles east, in Beamsville. It is really this small town that deserves to be linked to one of the greatest drumming icons of our time and to receive honorable mention in your magazine.
I was moved to tears upon purchasing your May 2020 tribute to a man so dedicated to the art of drumming and music. I flipped through the magazine and cried some more, as I somehow thought Neil would have more time with us. I’m a sixty-one-year-old male, so not much younger than Neil was when he passed. I am going to finish reading this fantastic portrait of a musician who influenced and continues to influence countless millions of people. Thanks for all the great years since you started back in the ’70s.
To Modern Drummer and all the wonderful people who put together the memorial issue to Neil Peart: It’s a “keeper.” All the heartfelt memories from so many musicians…we know how much Neil would have appreciated all the little pieces of their hearts they have poured out. Neil always made it clear that it wasn’t all about the drumming, but [also that his legacy had] a lasting impact on their drumming and their lives. He would be so happy that he has done that! Many, many thanks from the Peart family.
Glen Peart (Neil’s father)
That’s one of the best interviews I’ve ever read! Fantastic.
I saw Bill live in 1976 at Festival Hall in Melbourne. Greatest live drumming I ever saw. So underrated.
[Bill is] underrated and underappreciated by many except loyal Sabbath fans. I was converted when I had to learn “Fairies Wear Boots” for a cover gig. Bill swings his ass off in the most rock ’n’ roll way! Great to see him get some attention. Love, love, love his drumming!
So much more than a metal drummer, Bill has great feel, groove, and amazing chops.
What Do You Do to Prepare for a Gig with a New Artist?
I write out their song forms, focusing on intro, stops, feel changes, and outro.
Listen to their music.
Jake Johnson Jcj
Ask them who their favorite drummer is.
Feel the flow of the artist. When do they strum their guitar more intensely? When does their voice lighten up? Can I play this beat I’m digging in my head or stay tighter with the bass? Do I need more or less sizzle on the hats? I guess it’s as simple as it sounds, but it’s a different story to execute it.
Try to keep an open mind. Try not to be too cocky.
The intro to our 1970: The Year in Drumming features in the June, 2020 issue incorrectly stated that Joe English played drums on Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed.” In fact, McCartney himself played on the track; Joe English appears several years later on the live version from Wings Across America.