Neil Ellwood Peart was a Canadian-American author and musician, famous as the drummer and lyricist for the progressive rock band Rush. At the age of 31, he was the youngest to be inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame. In his early career, Neil’s performances primarily focused on hard rock style. In later years, Peart became one of the innovators of the genre by incorporating jazz and swing components in his playing style. Peart was renowned for his technical proficiency and stamina apart from including universal and diverse subjects of science fiction, fantasy and philosophy as a lyricist. Besides his luminous career as a musician, Peart was also famous for being an author of seven non-fiction novels which were loosely based on his travelling and adventure escapades. He also got recognition as an author of ‘The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa’, ‘Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road’ and ‘Far and Away: A Prize Every Time’. We have compiled his quotes and thoughts from his lyrics, songs, books, writings, and interviews. Let us take you through these inspirational quotes from this legend of rock music.
If drummers are 'anti-solo,' that's up to them. They're musicians, and they can play whatever they want. But my inspirations early on were people like Buddy Rich, seeing him on 'The Tonight Show', or Gene Krupa.
Rudimental snare work is something I've always loved.
If I go play golf with the guys, it's intended to be a joke.
For a person of my sensibility, you're only left with the Democratic party.
I'd be very honored to be the ambassador to drum solos.
Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to play music that I liked, and even when I was in cover bands when I was a teenager we only played cover tunes that we liked. That was the simple morality that I grew up with.
There is no blood in jazz drumming, and there are no bullies in jazz drumming.
In 2007, I studied with Peter Erskine because I was doing a Buddy Rich tribute concert, and I wanted to take my big-band drumming up a level. I went over to Peter's house with my sticks, feeling like a 13-year-old again.
If it's cross-country ski season, I'll be out doing that, or snowshoeing up in Quebec. In my California home, I go to the local Y and I like doing yoga. It's been hugely beneficial to me in injury avoidance.
It's interesting. I've known quite a few good athletes that can't begin to play a beat on the drum set. Most team sport is about the smooth fluidity of hand-eye coordination and physical grace, where drumming is much more about splitting all those things up.
I've heard the stories. Like, Eric Clapton said he wanted to burn his guitar when he heard Jimi Hendrix play. I never understood that because, when I went and saw a great drummer or heard one, all I wanted to do was practice.
I always thought if I could just put something in words perfectly enough, people would get the idea, and it would change things. That's a harmless conceit. With people, too, you constantly think, 'If I'm nice to people and treat them well, they'll appreciate it and behave better.' They won't, but it's still not a bad way to live.
To get nostalgic about other people's music, or even about your own, makes a terrible statement about the condition of your life and your prospects for the future. I have no patience with that kind of attitude, whether it's on radio or among friends.
The Seven Cities of Gold always fascinated me. Southwestern U.S. history especially fascinates me. The whole spur of the Spanish exploration of the Southwestern U.S. was the search for these mythical Seven Cities of Gold.
There's still a lot I'm angry about, a lot of human behaviour that's appalling and despicable, but you choose what you can fight against. I always thought if I could just put something in words perfectly enough, people would get the idea and it would change things.
Drumming completely eclipsed my life from age 13, when I started drum lessons. Everything disappeared. I'd done well in school up until that time. I was fairly adjusted socially up until that time. And I became completely monomania, obsessed all through my teens. Nothing else existed anymore.
Once, I went speeding past an old couple and smiled as I imagined their conversation: him grumbling about me and her telling him not to be such an old grouch. Then, suddenly I was in tears, thinking, 'I'll never get to be a grumpy old grandpa!'
It was actually drumming that gave me the stamina to get into sports later. I started playing drums at 13, and when I got to the international touring level... I got interested in cross-country skiing, long-distance swimming, bicycling... things that require stamina, not finesse.
It astonished me in the early Nineties to suddenly have musicians admit that they had been inspired and influenced by us. That meant a lot at that time. But of course, being human, the... disrespect isn't even strong enough a word, is it? The opprobrium was painful. Being popular and hated is not satisfying.
It's not the music you hear in your head that other people are going to hear. You have to be able to make it true enough to the image in your head, and that's where technique and technology come in, for sure, and knowledge. It's not true and will never be true that someone who knows nothing can sit in a basement and make great music.
I am the audience. I want to observe people. Even when I'm playing drums onstage, I'm watching people. I'm looking at them and their faces and their T-shirts and their signs. And travelling by motorcycle, especially, the world is just coming at me.
People say to me, 'Are you still excited when you go on tour?' Should I be excited about leaving my family? No, and no one should. It's as simple as that. If you put aside the fantasy of it, it is what it is and has to be done. And that's fine, and I pour my entire energy and enthusiasm into it, but of course, I'm of two minds about the whole idea.
Pure libertarianism believes that people will be generous and help each other. Well, they won't. I wish it were so, and I live that way. I help panhandlers, but other people are, 'Oh look at that - why doesn't he get a job?' While I believe in all that freedom, I also believe that no one should suffer needlessly.
Our songs were not written to be listened to in headphones or on the radio. They were written to be played. All of the little infinite detail that went into the arrangements and giving ourselves lots of breathing room in terms of playing what we wanted to play and using up any ideas that we had - all of those were conceived to be performed.
Anytime I have an idea, I'll make sure that I put it down so that when we do sit down to write an album, I don't have to dream it all out of thin air. I don't have to be creative on the spur of the moment, or spontaneously artistic. I just take advantage of whenever creativity strikes.
Performing live in front of an audience is such a matter of will - all of those things you can do just fine in your basement, suddenly you have to do them in front of hundreds or thousands of people, and it becomes a different matter entirely.
If I have to travel, I'm going to travel my way and travel in the real world. And I'm going to have conversations every day with people in rest stops and people in gas stations and people in hotels and diners. That nourishes me.
We don't want to be Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. That type of thing wasn't what we were after. It was most important for each of us to be equal in input and output - each of us has to pull the same amount, musically, in composition and in every sense of being in the band.
When I was young, my ambitions were very modest. I thought, 'If only I could play at the battle of the bands at the Y, that would be the culmination of existence!' And then the roller rink, and you work your way up branch by branch.
For me to call myself a musician, it's necessary to play live, and it rewards so much - not just in the pay cheque sense but what it does for my playing. I feel it through a tour - I feel it at the end of a tour - all that I've gathered, and especially now that I am improvising so much.
The thing for me about Ayn Rand is that her philosophy is the only one applicable to the world today - in every sense. If you take her ideas, then take them farther in your own mind, you can find answers to pretty well everything on an individual basis.