Legendary Rush Drummer Neil Peart Dies at 67

Photo from rollingstone.com

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Photo from rollingstone.com

Andy Mourelatos, A&E Editor

Neil Peart, the influential and iconic drummer for Canadian rock band Rush, passed away on January 7th, 2020, in Santa Monica, California at age 67. The official cause of death was Peart’s quiet, three year long struggle with brain cancer.

Photo from: The New York Times

One of rock’s greatest drummers and true virtuoso behind the kit, Peart only joined Rush in 1974, and his first album with the group was Fly By Night. This was album that truly established the band’s sound, and adding Peart’s flamboyant yet intricate drum patterns and fills was the last piece the group needed.

The band’s most iconic hit, “Tom Sawyer,” charted worldwide, and featured lyrics written by Neil Peart. “I added the themes of reconciling the boy and man in myself, and the difference between what people are and what others perceive them to be — namely me I guess,” Peart said about writing the song. The completely enveloping drum fill midway through the song is a swirling fill that is even complex for the drummer himself to play, all the way until their last shows.

The most recently iteration of Neil Peart’s legendary spinning drum kit featuring 65 cymbals, as well as a mix of acoustic and electronic drums.
(Photo from Vice)

From the same album as “Tom Sawyer,” the instrumental track “YYZ” is by itself a fast-paced song that tests each member of the band’s chops with each interments’ complex fills coming together to make a true rock masterpiece. However, as a live performance, “YYZ” is almost double its length on the album and features an iconic drum solo from Peart himself. This solo involves the entirety of his intricate drum kit, with cowbell and xylophone being added throughout the 3-minute solo.

Dave Grohl, former drummer for Nirvana and current frontman of Foo Fighters, inducted Rush into the Hall of Fame, and stated, “Thank you, Neil, for making our lives a better place with your music. You will be forever remembered and sorely missed by all of us. And my heartfelt condolences to the Rush family.” Neil Peart is survived by his wife, Carrie, and their daughter, Olivia Peart.