The drummer Neil Peart thought was great “by accident”

Neil Peart

Not every drummer desires to be the best in the world. For all of the great bands with virtuosic percussionists behind the kit, just as many can get the job done by maintaining a consistent groove throughout a song to keep everything moving. While Neil Peart was able to rise to the occasion as one of the best drummers of all time. He believed one of his idols became a drum god by chance.

When he was first auditioning for bands, it didn’t appear that Peart would get a chance to play in Rush.  Both bands originated in Canada and played blues-focused rock and roll. Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson already had John Rutsey behind the kit. It led to Peart staying in his original band, JR Flood.

As time passed, it became clear that Rutsey’s approach to rock music would clash with what the rest of the band desired. Rutsey would leave the fold after their debut album. They wanted to sound more like Bad Company. They allowed Peart to take over on their album Fly By Night, marking his debut as the group’s primary lyricist.

Peart, in addition to his drum heroes such as Ginger Baker, admired jazz drum legends. There were artists like Buddy Rich who played the drums like a man possessed. But no one could match the fury with which Gene Krupa played.

Krupa’s style was all over the place stylistically later. It served as the inspiration for the sounds of hard rock and heavy metal. It also included him wailing away on the drums while also being able to lay down a rhythmic foundation when the time called for it. Though Peart admired Krupa’s playing, his true drum teacher would arrive a few years later.

While Krupa may not be regarded as a rock and roll touchstone, he effectively served as the world’s preparation for Keith Moon of The Who. In comparison to the delicate sounds of jazz, Moon turned every song into a dynamic exercise. It leathers the life out of his drumkit and turns Pete Townshend’s classic songs into spectacles on tracks like ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again‘.

Despite Moon’s years of experience on the drums, Peart believed that a part of his personality came through when he played. He said, “To me, he was the kind of drummer who did great things by accident rather than design.” But the energy, expressiveness, and innovation that he represented at the time was enormous.”

Despite taking many lessons from Moon’s playing, Peart’s dynamic style was more precise than most of his peers. Regardless of a healthy dose of swing in his delivery, Peart sounded like a mad scientist behind the kit half of the time. He played songs that sounded like an endurance test from start to finish.

Peart took up the mantle left by Moon by combining his love of jazz and hard rock. He played drums to serve the song and showcased his technique. Most rock drummers can keep a steady groove, but Moon proved to PEart that no amount of drum lessons can compensate for a sense of power.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Like