Watching Neil Peart (pronounced peert, not pert) play the drums is an incredible experience. Even if you have no interest in drumming, rock music, or guys named Neil you should watch this gentle man perform (youtube has several videos available). It's the same as with the Mona Lisa or the statue of David. Works of great craftsmen should be visited if only to inspire us to do better.
Neil keeps time for a band called Rush. I say keeps time but that is only part of his genius. Intricate rythms combined with powerfully fast hands bring something more to the music than just a beat. While other's motto for life may be K.I.S.S. (for: keep it simple stupid) Neil has a more lofty credo, M.U.S.I.C.(for: make up something interesting and complex).
In the movie "Amadeus", Salieri's complaint was that Mozart's music had "too many notes". That people could not hear that many at one time. He would probably say the same thing about Neil and he would be wrong again. Neil's circle of drums provide more than ample opportunity to put a fill where mere mortal drummers would dare not tread. And Mr. Peart pulls it off effortlessly it seems, though a practice ethic that is second to no one is what makes it so. I refer to him as a "lead drummer", as in "lead guitarist", for he not only provides the backbeat but also propels the music forward in a way not seen often today. He is a master at stretching and compressing time within music and will often play different times with his hands than his feet. One critic described it as "The most spectacular display of independent limb movement he'd ever seen". I can not disagree.
The fact that this gem of a man still plays today is also a miracle to me. Ten years ago his only daughter died in a traffic accident on the way to her first day of college. That alone would have destroyed me. Ten months later his wife died of cancer, though Neil is certain it was a broken heart. The double tragedy within a years time sent the man in search of a way to cope with the losses. He climbed aboard his BMW motorcycle and started a journey of more than a year as a "Ghost Rider" traveling throughout Canada, the U.S., and South America trying to make himself whole again. He chronicles his trip in the book, "Ghost Rider, Travels on the Healing Road" which I would recommend to anyone who has suffered a loss of a family member, if only to realize you are not alone.
The band had been on a 5 year hiatus following the deaths but returned in 2002 with a new album "Vapor Trails"( did I mention he is also the lyricist?) and has since celebrated their 30th anniversary as a group. This Years "Snakes and Arrows" CD has been a chart topper. If you delve into the name, and the album, you will find it is about much more than its title suggests. My advice? Give it a listen.
WORLD - CULTURE
Copyright © 2010 Geddy
A Master of His Craft
Copyright © 2010 Geddy
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