Neil Peart -- The Latest News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Neil Peart update: August 2014 - "Magnetic Mirages"

Neil has updated his website with a new three-part story. You can read it here:

August 2014 - "Magnetic Mirages"

Neil writes about the eight Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California, including two recent trips to multiple islands. In the picture below, Peart had been "bombed" by some gulls on Anacapa Island.


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posted by AndyO @ 5:02 PM   0 comments

Friday, August 15, 2014

Neil Peart to appear at Music Expo 2014 (online)

MusicRadar announced that Neil Peart will appear at the online Music Expo 2014. Here's some info about Music Expo 2014 from MusicRadar:

The MusicRadar Drum Expo 2014 runs in association with Rhythm magazine on Wed 20 and Thurs 21 August. Stay tuned for more information on which gear companies will be taking part in this exclusive two-day online show for drummers.

No word on when Peart will appear. More info when it's available.


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posted by AndyO @ 10:36 AM   0 comments

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Happy R40 to Rush!

It was 40 year ago today, on Geddy Lee's birthday, July 29, 1974, that Neil Peart joined Rush. And so began one of the most enduring and successful musical partnerships. With Neil Peart, Rush would produce 19 studio albums (and counting!), and sell over 40 million albums sold worldwide.

Peart describes the day Rush came into his life in his book Traveling Music:

One hot July morning in the summer of 1974, a white Corvette pulled up in front of Dalziel Equipment. Another drummer from the area, John Trojan, climbed out of the passenger seat, and introduced me to the driver, Vic Wilson, one of the managers of a band from Toronto called Rush. All I knew about them was seeing those Bullrush, Mahogany Rush, Rush posters from the previous summer, but apparently they had been playing bluesy hard rock around the Toronto-area bars for a few years, and had recently released an independent Canadian album financed by the management company. The manager said the album had been picked up by an American record company, Mercury, and an American tour was being planned for later that summer. It sounded very exciting (though by that time I had learned to be skeptical of a manager's promises).

Peart got the gig, and Rush played their first show on August 14, 1974, opening for Manfred Man in front of 11,000 people in Pittsburgh. And while we don't have a recording of that first show (at least that I'm aware of), we do have the first Agora performance from August 26. I'm still amazed at how well the band was playing together after only a month. The following photo is from another Agora show on September 25, 1974:


Congratulations to Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart for 40 years of great music, and happy 61st birthday to Geddy Lee!

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posted by AndyO @ 8:14 PM   0 comments

Saturday, June 07, 2014

R41 Survey Results - Question 2: If Rush played one complete album on this tour what should it be?

This post includes the results from a Neil Peart News Facebook page survey (Question 2): If Rush played one complete album on this tour (like they did with Moving Pictures on Time Machine tour), what should it be?




Top 5 albums

1. Hemispheres (19%): Like the first survey, there are a lot of fans out there who want to hear Hemispheres in its entirety. For Rush to perform this album from beginning to end would mean some serious de-tuning (after all, when Hemispheres in the 1970s, was recorded outside of Geddy's stratospheric range). All depends on whether:

  • Rush wants to play Hemispheres again. The answer might be obvious to some ("Of course they do!"), but it might be a little more nuanced than that. As revealed in Beyond the Lighted Stage, making this album ended up being one of the more painful production experiences for the band. And these emotional connections seem to play a big part in how the band approaches their back catalog. For example, I can't ever see Rush playing Vapor Trails in its entirety either due to the the painful memories it surfaces for Neil Peart. (He wasn't even able to listen to Vapor Trails remixed.)
  • Rush can play Hemispheres without compromising the songs. After seeing Geddy try to sing "Prelude" in its (I believe) original key during the Counterparts tour, it's clear the band would need to bring it down a few steps -- like they did with the "2112" on the Test for Echo tour. However, there's only so far you can tune down a song before it loses its spirit. 

One glimmer of hope is that Rush brought back a de-tuned "Circumstances" on the 2007 leg of the Snakes & Arrows tour -- something I never saw coming. But then for the 2008 leg of that tour, Rush replaced "Circumstances" with another Hemispheres song, "The Trees." So, a lot of fans, I'd love to see Rush play all of Hemispheres. I just don't think it's very likely.

2. Signals (13%): Of all the albums in Rush's vast back catalog, this would be a great choice. Even though the members of Rush have expressed disappointment with this album -- specifically around the treatment of the guitar in the mix -- it still represents a bridge between the Rock/New Wave-influenced Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures and the more 80s keyboard-oriented Grace Under Pressure, Power Windows, and Hold Your Fire.

Rush has played many of the songs from Signals in the past few tours, including: "Subdivisions" (opener for the Clockwork Angels Tour), "The Analog Kid" (also on the Clockwork tour), "The Digital Man" (Snakes & Arrows tour), and "New World Man" (Vapor Trails tour). Many of the B-side songs haven't been heard since the Signals tour, and "Losing it" has never been played live. Even if you're not a big fan of Signals, take a look at the way Rush approached these 80s keyboard-oriented songs on the Clockwork Angels tour. With the guitar taking its proper place in the mix, songs like "The Big Money," "The Analog Kid," "Grand Designs" and "Force 10" all come to life. I think the same thing would happen if Signals were played from beginning to end.

3. 2112 (12.6%): Yes, Rush played the song "2112" in its entirety on the Test for Echo tour in 1996 and 1997, and it was glorious. I still remember going to see them in San Diego and being completely surprised (even though the radio station doing a contest outside the arena even hinted at it).

While I love 2112 for what it represents -- the album where Rush discovered their true voice and also earned their musical independence -- there are some major showstoppers, like "The Twilight Zone" or "Tears." (Apologies to all the fans who would love to hear these songs.) My money might be on them bringing back the "2112" suite again, but even this is a slim chance, given its prominence in 1996/1997.

4. Permanent Waves (10.6%) - This is the other album that has a higher chance of being played in its entirety. First of all, Rush has added many its songs to the set list in the past 10 years. And it was a major surprise when they broke out "Entre Nous" on the "Snakes & Arrows" tour -- the first time they'd played it live, actually. The other thing this album has going for it is "Jacob's Ladder." According to the previous poll, this is the song most fans want to hear. 

5. Tie between:

A Farewell to Kings (8.6%) - Like Hemispheres, a lot of the songs on this album are outside of Geddy's range -- at least in the original tuning. When they've played cuts from this album in the past 10 years, they're either abbreviated ("Cygnus X-1") or rearranged ("Closer to the Heart"). Plus, it has "Madrigal" -- which I actually don't mind as much as, say, "Tears." But Rush was still learning how to write a their version of a ballad (they actually got close with "Closer to the Heart," but I'd call that a "half-ballad" with its heavy second half).

Grace Under Pressure (8.6%) - A few people pointed out that Rush could never play Grace Under Pressure in its entirety because of "Afterimage" and what it represents to the band (take a look at the dedication on Different Stages). I have to agree. Plus, it's worth noting that even when they were playing "Afterimage" on the Grace Under Pressure tour, they replaced it with "Kid Gloves." In addition, they've played a lot of material from this album it in the past 10 years. In fact, some songs -- "Red Sector A" and "Between the Wheels" -- have probably been overplayed in recent tours. What I'd like to see Rush bring back from this album are: "The Enemy Within" (especially if it's part of the Fear suite), "Red Lenses," and "Kid Gloves." 

Full list


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posted by AndyO @ 1:39 PM   0 comments

Friday, May 30, 2014

R41 survey results - Question 1: Which Rush song do you most want to hear?

A little while back, I asked people on the Neil Peart News Facebook page some questions about the setlist for the R41 tour. This post includes the results of the first question: Which Rush song do you most want to hear on the R41 tour?

Note: For those who care about statistics, I'll be the first to say that this survey isn't statistically relevant. This was just a way for me to find out what other fans are thinking.



1. "Jacob's Ladder" was the runaway winner with 17 votes (10%), which isn't really a big surprise. Fans have been expecting to see this song show up on the past few tours -- especially since we know it was included on the Time Machine tour setlist at one point. Unless the band has a problem with this song, I fully expect it to show up on the next tour.

2. Tie between "Lakeside Park," "Losing It," and "Xanadu" - 8 votes (5%) each:

"Lakeside Park" - This was somewhat surprising, given Rush's extensive back catalog, but I think there are a few reasons. First, fans of Caress of Steel are a passionate bunch -- and this happened to be the song on that album that got the most votes. But I also think "Lakeside Park" represents a unique, hard rock/ballad approach. Plus, it hasn't been played live since "A Farewell to Kings" tour.   

"Losing It" - It's interesting that Rush didn't try to play this on the the Clockwork Angels tour, since they had the string section available. "Losing It" was written as a studio piece, featuring Ben Mink on electric violin (who would go on to be a producer for, among others, Geddy Lee's solo album My Favorite Headache). In many ways, it's a modern counterpart to "Lakeside Park" with its rock/ballad approach. Plus, it includes a solo section in 11/8 time that approaches the complexity and energy of "Freewill." It's hard to say whether Rush will ever transition this to a live song.

"Xanadu" - After all these years of Rush playing "Xanadu" on multiple tours, it's still one that the fans want to hear. The last time Rush played this was on the 30th Anniversary Tour in 2004, so it would be nice to hear it again.  

3. "Cygnus X-1 Book 1" and "Cygnus X-1 Book 2" - 7 votes (4%).  Even though this is technically two songs, this pair got enough votes to put it into third place. During the Hemispheres tour, Rush played these two songs back-to-back. Since that time, they've played these as individual songs or abbreviated versions. The last time Rush played "Hemispheres Prelude" was on the R30 tour during the "R30 Overture," although it didn't include vocals. Rush did play "Prelude" on the Counterparts tour with vocals, but it was clearly outside of Geddy Lee's range (which makes sense, since it was outside of his range when they recorded Hemispheres). Because of this reason alone, we probably shouldn't ever expect to see Hemispheres with vocals on R41, unless the band tunes down like they did with "2112" during the Test for Echo tour.

4. Tie between "Countdown" and "The Fountain of Lamneth" - 6 votes (3.7%)

"Countdown": This one was a surprise to me, but maybe it shouldn't have been. "Countdown" shares many similarities with Rush's more cinematic songs, including "Cygnus X-1: Book 1," "The Camera Eye," and "Jacob's Ladder." Plus, after seeing the treatment "Dreamline" received on the Clockwork tour, imagine the video and lighting design that would accompany this song today.

"The Fountain of Lamneth": Again, the Caress of Steel fans have been asking for this one for years. Personally, I can't ever see Rush playing this song in its entirety again, although I felt that way about "2112" during the Test for Echo tour, too. In other words, anything can happen.

5. Tie between "Cygnus X-1: Book 1: The Voyage," "Cygnus X-1 Book 2: Hemispheres"  "Kid Gloves" "La Villa Strangiato" - 4 votes (2.5 %)

"Cygnus X-1: Book 1: The Voyage" and "Cygnus X-1 Book 2: Hemispheres." Even though some people wanted to hear "Cygnus X-1" and "Hemispheres" back-to-back, some people voted for these as individual songs as well. Either way, fans clearly want to hear Rush play some of their more progressive numbers. 

"Kid Gloves" - One of my favorites, and also one that's long overdue to be played live. Now that Rush brought out much of Power Windows catalog on the Clockwork Angels tour, I think they might be more willing to try out "Kid Gloves" again. The last time they played it was on the Grace Under Pressure tour.

"La Villa Strangiato" - This is one of those Rush songs that's been played on many tours since Hemispheres, and, like "Xanadu," one that fans can't get enough of.

6. Tie between "Afterimage" "Cut to the Chase" "The Necromancer" and "The Camera Eye" - 3 votes (2.4%)

"Afterimage" - As many people pointed out in the Facebook comments, this song will most likely never be played live again due to its emotional significance.

"Cut to the Chase" - Like "Kid Gloves," I think this song could be another great B-side choice for Rush -- and it's never been played live before.

"The Necromancer" - Another rarity from Caress of Steel. This might have a better chance than the longer "The Fountain of Lamneth," but I'd still be very surprised if either showed up.

"The Camera Eye" - Ever after this song being played during both legs of The Time Machine tour, some fans still want to hear it.

7. The songs that received 2 votes each (1.2%)  include: "Available Light" "Beneath, Between, and Behind," "By-Tor and the Snow Dog," "Chain Lightning," "Cold Fire," "Everyday Glory", "Fly By Night," "Garden road," "I Think I'm Going Bald," "Natural Science," "Tai Shan," "The Pass," and "Tom Sawyer."

Of all these, I'd personally like to see "Available Light," "Beneath, Between, and Behind," "Chain Lightning," or "Fly By Night." And even though members of Rush has stated how much they dislike "Tai Shan," it's probably my wife's favorite Rush song.

Count of votes by album

Here's another view showing how many song votes each album received.


Long tail

Here are all the songs (or songs) that received only 1 vote each. Some of these have never been played live before. Some of these aren't even Rush songs!



Best I Can

Between the Wheels


Cinderella Man

Closer to the Heart

Different Strings

Distant Early Warning

Double Agent

Entre Nous

Fancy Dancer

Fear suite (Witch Hunt, The Weapon, The Enemy Within, Freeze)


Here Again

High Water

Making Memories

Manhattan Project


Middletown Dreams

Mystic Rhythms


Out of the Cradle

Open Secrets

A Passage to Bangkok

Peaceable Kingdom

Red Barchetta

Red Tide

Show Don't Tell

Something for Nothing

Take Off (To the Great White North)

The Body Electric

The Trees

The Weapon

Time Stand Still

Vital Signs

War Paint

Where's My Thing? (Part IV, "Gangster of Boats" Trilogy)

Witch Hunt


The Color of Right

Temples of Syrinx

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posted by AndyO @ 4:50 PM   6 comments

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Neil Peart's lyrics to "Earthshine" featured on NASA site

The NASA website Earth Observatory featured Neil Peart's "Earthshine" lyrics superimposed on a photo of the earthshine phenomenon. You can also download a hi-res version of the photo (without lyrics).


According to the website, the photo was taken on July 31 2011 "by an Expedition 28 crew member onboard the International Space Station."

The website included the following info about Peart: "Regardless of when you spot it, earthshine can be an inspiring site. The phenomenon is captured in Neil Peart's lyrics for Earthshine, featured on Rush's 2002 album Vapor Trails. Peart often writes about scientific themes, including Countdown from Signals, which recounts the maiden launch of Space Shuttle Columbia. Earthshine begins by describing the orbital mechanics that make the phenomenon possible: 'On certain nights, when the angles are right.'"

If you're interested in more about the earthshine phenomenon, here's more from the Earth Observatory website:

Tonight when the new Moon rises, or in the next few nights when the Moon is a slim crescent, go outside and look up. You might see Earth's reflected light in the dim glow.

A new Moon occurs when all of the Sun's light is reflected away from Earth, and the side of the Moon facing Earth is barely visible... Sometimes the dark face of the Moon catches Earth's reflected glow and returns that light. The dark face of the Moon has a faint shine, a ghostly version of a full Moon. The phenomenon is called earthshine. It tends to be brightest between April and June, though it does occur at other times of the year.

Is there a new moon tonight? Use the following graphic to see the current phase of the moon.

Thanks to for the head's up!

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posted by AndyO @ 7:49 PM   0 comments

New Neil Peart book coming: Far and Near: On Days Like These

Neil Peart's sixth book, Far and Near: On Days Like These, is expected to release on October 14, 2014. Like his previous book, Far and Away: A Prize Every Time, it's made up of stories that appeared first in the "News, Weather and Sports" section of Details from the publisher (ECW Press) below. You can pre-order from Barnes & Noble (no Amazon entry yet).

Far and Away ended with the November 2010 story "The Power of Magical Thinking," which covered Peart's travels during the Time Machine tour leg in South America. Far and Near will probably pick up with "Talking Drums in Death Valley" from February 2011.


Publisher's Overview

Whether navigating the backroads of Louisiana or Thuringia, exploring the snowy Quebec woods, or performing onstage at Rush concerts, Neil Peart has stories to tell. His first volume in this series, Far and Away, combined words and images to form an intimate, insightful narrative that won many readers.

Now Far and Near brings together reflections from another three years of an artist's life as he celebrates seasons, landscapes, and characters, travels roads and trails, receives honors, climbs mountains, composes and performs music. With passionate insight, wry humor, and an adventurous spirit, once again Peart offers a collection of open letters that take readers on the road, behind the scenes, and into the inner workings of an ever-inquisitive mind.

These popular stories, originally posted on Peart's website, are now collected and contextualized with a new introduction and conclusion in this beautifully designed collector's volume.

Product Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781770412576
  • Publisher: ECW Press
  • Publication date: 10/14/2014
  • Pages: 312

Thanks to PowerWindows for the head's up!

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posted by AndyO @ 5:57 PM   0 comments

Friday, May 23, 2014

Final round: Vote for Neil Peart as The Greatest Drummer of All Time

Consequence of Sound has been running a web tournament to find out Who's the Greatest Drummer of All Time. And now it's down to the final round, folks:

Neil Peart


John Bonham

To see how these two drummers got to this point, here are the official "drummer brackets":


As you can see, Peart squared off against many former influences, including Mitch Mitchell and Keith Moon. In the last round, it was Peart vs. Portnoy, with Peart coming out ahead.

We'll report back the results.


posted by AndyO @ 6:48 PM   2 comments