Neil Peart Biography
Neil Ellwood Peart (IPA: ) OC, (born September 12, 1952 in Hagersville, Ontario) is the drummer and lyricist for the progressive rock band Rush.
Peart grew up in Port Dalhousie, Ontario, Canada (now part of St. Catharines) working the occasional odd job. However, his true ambition was to become a professional musician. At the early age of thirteen, Peart received his first drumkit and soon began rigorously practicing. During adolescence, he floated from regional band to regional band and eventually dropped out of high school in order to pursue his career as a full-time drummer. After a discouraging stint in England to concentrate on his music, Peart returned home, where he eventually joined local Toronto band Rush in the summer of 1974.
Early in his career, Peart's style of playing was deeply rooted in hard rock where he drew most of his inspiration from drummers such as Keith Moon and John Bonham, players who were at the forefront of the British hard rock scene. As time progressed however, he began to absorb the influence of Jazz and Big Band musicians such as Gene Krupa, and more recently, the late Buddy Rich. Peart is also one of the more recent pupils of jazz instructor, Freddie Gruber. In terms of music, Peart has received many awards (see below) for his recorded performances and is widely regarded as one of the greatest rock drummers of all time due to his technical proficiency and stamina. In terms of influence, he is one of the most important drummers in history.
In addition to his profession as a musician, Peart is also a prolific writer, being the author of several published travelogues and evidenced by his position as chief lyricist for Rush. Over the years, Peart has become known for an apersonal writing style and a propensity for addressing diverse subject matter including science fiction, fantasy, and philosophy, as well as secular and humanitarian themes. His last name is pronounced "Peert", although many mispronounce it "Pert".
Peart is the author of four non-fiction books, the latest released in September of 2006. His growth as an author predates the published work by several years (not including his work as Rush's primary lyricist), through private letters and short travelogues sent out to a small circle of friends and family.
The Masked Rider: Cycling In West Africa
Written in 1996 about a month-long bicycling tour through Cameroon in November of 1988. Written in the first person, the book allows the reader to follow Peart through towns and villages, with four fellow riders. This was not Peart's first cycling tour, but it proves to be one of the most difficult. The original had a limited print run, but after the critical and commercial success of Neil's second book, "Masked Rider" was re-issued (with slightly different cover art) and remains in print as of 2006.
Ghost Rider: Travels On The Healing Road
Being as popular as Rush are, the tragedies that befell Peart over a ten month span were widely reported through the media. Peart and the rest of the band were always able to keep his private life at a distance from his public image in Rush (very much by choice). "Ghost Rider" is again a first-person narrative of Peart on the road, now on motorcycle, in an effort to put his life back together as he embarked on an extensive journey across North America.
Traveling Music: The Soundtrack Of My Life And Times
Deciding to take a road trip, this time by car, Peart reflects on his life, his career, his family and the thing that ties them all together: Music. This book follows Peart still carrying emotional scars, but building a new life. As with his previous two books, "Traveling Music" is a first-person account.
Roadshow: Landscape With Drums, A Concert Tour By Motorcycle
Thirty years after Peart joined Rush, the band found itself on its 30th anniversary tour. Released in September of 2006 (see Peart's Official Website), this book chronicles that tour both from behind Neil's drumkit and on his motorcycle.
Peart has released two instructional DVDs
Peart has received the following awards in the Modern Drummer magazine reader's poll: