Rush drummer Neil Peart would have turned 69 today. Neil Ellwood Peart was born on September 12, 1952 in Hamilton, Ontario. Sadly, Peart died at age 67 on January 7, 2020 from the aggressive brain cancer glioblastoma.
Neil began playing drums at 14 and made his debut during a Christmas pageant. Not long after his premiere, his first group, The Eternal Triangle, performed an original song called “LSD Forever” at their high school. The performance also saw Neil taking center stage for the first time with a drum solo. Influenced by legendary British rock drummers like Keith Moon, John Bonham and Ginger Baker, Peart headed across the pond to England when he was 18 where he would play in a few bands but found little success. After returning to Canada, Peart joined Rush in 1974 and would join his influences as one of the greatest rock drummers of all time.
Characterized by technical proficiency, precision and stamina, Neil’s drumming style led to the nickname The Professor. These characteristics and more are on full display in a 2011 DVD titled Neil Peart: Taking Center Stage: A Lifetime Of Live Performacne. The film gives fans an intimate glimpse inside Peart’s routine on Rush’s 2010-11 Time Machine Tour.
But what everyone wants to see is Neil play drums. Filmed with just drum cam footage, Peart gives fans and players alike an up-close look at his beat creations on a number of songs from the Time Machine Tour which featured a full performance of the legendary band’s landmark 1981 album, Moving Pictures, an album that boasts some of the trio’s most well-known songs like “Tom Sawyer,” “YYZ” and “Limelight.” Peart also performs Rush classics “Subdivisions” and “Freewill.”
In honor of Neil Peart’s birthday, watch The Professor hold class in the drum cam videos below for this edition of Sunday Cinema: