Post by Sysop3 on Jan 10, 2020 22:54:57 GMT -5
Neil Peart, the legendary drummer of Rush, has died, according to an announcement from the band. He was 67. The cause of death, according to a spokesperson, was brain cancer. Peart passed on Tuesday, January 7th, in Santa Monica.
Widely considered one of the most innovative drummers in rock history, Peart was famous for his state-of-the-art drum kits — more than 40 different drums were not out of the norm — precise playing style and onstage showmanship. He joined Rush in 1974, after the band’s cofounders, bassist/singer Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson, had released one self-titled album.
The addition of Peart, whose technical chops and use of melodic percussion instruments — vibes, glockenspiels, chimes and later synthesized percussion — vastly expanded the band’s musical palette, and he soon assumed the role of the band’s lyricist as well; he was famously influenced by science-fiction and particularly Ayn Rand, author of “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged.” The band embarked on a series of increasingly elaborate albums whose lyrics and storylines were as sophisticated as their growing musical ambitions. “Necromancer,” a conceptual song on their 1975 album “Caress of Steel,” paved the way for the full-blown 1976 concept album “2112,” a dystopian tale about a future society without music.
Over the next 15 years, Rush admirably declined to become a heritage act and continually challenged themselves and overhauled their sound, dropping the hard rock and high vocals that marked their early material and pursuing more keyboard-based arrangements and different musical styles. While their commercial popularity declined after the early 1980s they remained a hard-working and extremely popular live act with a deeply dedicated fan base that regularly filled arenas.
In 1997, tragedy struck when Peart’s daughter Selena was killed in a car accident, and his wife Jacqueline died from cancer just 10 months later. The band took a nearly four year hiatus while Peart healed by traveling some 55,000 miles across North and Central America on his motorcycle by himself. He chronicled his cathartic journey in his 2002 book, “Ghost Rider: Travels of the Healing Road.” Peart remarried in 2000 and the band resumed recording and touring the following year.
On top of being Rush’s drummer and lyricist, Peart was a prolific writer with several non-fiction books to his credit including “The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa,” “Traveling Music: Playing Back the Soundtrack to My Life and Times.”
Neil Ellwood Peart was born in Hamilton, Ontario on September 12, 1952. While his first exposure to music was via childhood piano lessons, which didn’t have much of an impact on him, Peart had a hankering for drumming on various objects around the house. He first picked up drummer at the age of 13. “I got a pair of sticks, a practice pad, and lessons,” he said in 2012, adding that his parents told him, “Once you show that you’re going to stick with it for a year, then we’ll get drums.’ Fair enough.”
When he turned 18, Peart left Canada to pursue a music career in England, which didn’t pan out. Eighteen months later he returned home to join his father selling tractor parts. Peart played in local bands before landing with an up and coming Toronto band called Rush. His first gig with the band was on July 29, 1974 at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena opening for Uriah Heep and Manfred Man.