Neil Peart

Neil Peart, the legendary drummer and lyricist of Rush, played his first gig with Alex Lifeson & Geddy Lee on August 14th, 1974 in front of 11,000 at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena just two weeks after auditioning to be the drummer.

Rush made 19 studio albums together (selling 40 million records) and toured the globe for 40 years as progressive rock’s thoughtful power trio, picking up loyal fans worldwide one listen at a time (“and it echoes with the sound of salesmen”). From 1974 to 2015 Neil Peart played 2,539 shows with Rush (last show was the R40 Tour at the Los Angeles Forum August 1st, 2015) capturing the attention of rock fans and the drumming community, with countless drummers naming Neil as a key influence on them.

Neil was also a great author, penning 7 travel journal books (you can get the scoop on them in his Modern Drummer Legends Book), or we recommend buying any of them) they include:

• The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa (1996, Pottersfield Press, ISBN 1895900026)
• Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road (2002, ECW Press, ISBN 1550225464)
• Traveling Music: Playing Back the Soundtrack to My Life and Times (2004, ECW Press, ISBN 1550226649)
• Roadshow: Landscape with Drums – A Concert Tour by Motorcycle (2006, Rounder Books, ISBN 1579401422)
• Far and Away: A Prize Every Time (2011, ECW Press, ISBN 9781770410589)
• Far and Near: On Days like These (2014, ECW Press, ISBN 9781770412576)
• Far and Wide: Bring That Horizon to Me! (2016, ECW Press, ISBN 9781770413481) Advertisement

He might even be one of the most well-read rock lyrcists, which was evident with all the themes he explored during his body of lyric writing. Fun fact he also personally wrote back all the fans who ever wrote letters to Rush over the years (up until the Test for Echo Tour). Neil infused a plethora of drumming styles into his signature sound and his famously large 360 kits.

Neil Peart graced the cover of Modern Drummer a record 10 times, and he won a plethora of Modern Drummer Awards:

Peart received the following awards in the Modern Drummer magazine reader’s poll:
• Hall of Fame: 1983
• Best Rock Drummer*: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 2006, 2008
• Best Multi-Percussionist*: 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986
• Best Percussion Instrumentalist: 1982
• Most Promising New Drummer: 1980
• Best All Around: 1986
• 1986 Honor Roll: Rock Drummer, Multi-Percussion
(* – As a member of the Honor Roll in these categories, he is no longer eligible for votes in the above categories.)
• Best Instructional Video: 2006, for Anatomy of a Drum Solo
• Best Drum Recording of the 1980s, 2007, for “YYZ” from Exit… Stage Left
• Best Recorded Performance:
o 1980: Permanent Waves
o 1981: Moving Pictures
o 1982: Exit… Stage Left
o 1983: Signals
o 1985: Grace Under Pressure
o 1986: Power Windows
o 1988: Hold Your Fire
o 1989: A Show of Hands
o 1990: Presto
o 1992: Roll the Bones
o 1993: Counterparts
o 1997: Test for Echo
o 1999: Different Stages
o 2002: Vapor Trails
o 2004: R30
o 2007: Snakes & Arrows
o 2011: Time Machine
o 2012: Clockwork Angels

He also is the first drummer in the Modern Drummer Legends Book Series, which contains all 10 of his Modern Drummer cover stories, transcriptions of Rush Songs, and so much more.

Sadly Neil died on Jan 7th, 2020, but his legend will live on in the hearts and minds of all who he touched and inspired thru his work and life.