Neil Peart -- The Latest News

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Photo of the night - Atlanta, GA - Sep 29, 2010


Photo by John Arrowsmith

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Photo of the night - Dallas, TX - Sep 26, 2010

Photo by John Arrowsmith

Photo by John Arrowsmith

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Close-up pics of Neil's kit from Pro-Mark

Pro-mark has posted some great pictures of Neil's kit from the Houston, TX, show.

Check out the detail on this cymbal stand!


Go to the Pro-mark site.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Photos of the night - Houston, TX - Sep 25, 2010

There are just too many great photos from the Houston show, so I couldn't pick just one!

All photos taken by John Arrowsmith.

First, there's this great one of the ominous thunderhead hanging over the amphitheater. Also, looking at this picture you can definitely see that this show is "sold out."


While I've picked this angle before, there's something about seeing the first picture and then what it looks like from Neil's seat that makes for a nice comparison.


Finally, here's a really great shot of Neil beating his tom-toms. Interesting note for drummers: Check out the dents along the top half of the sticks. The first time I held a stick that Neil had used, I noticed this and didn't understand why he would dent them up like that (cymbals tend to cut into the wood). Then I looked back in interviews and read how Neil said he was actually doing rim shots on his toms because of the way it "de-tuned" the drum and gave it a "throaty" sound. 


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posted by AndyO @ 5:28 PM   0 comments

Two out-of-print stories by Kevin J. Anderson with Rush connections now available on Kindle

In Kevin J. Anderson's recent blog about his visit with Neil Peart, he wrote about how one of his novels, Resurrection, Inc. ($2.84) and a short story he co-authored with Neil Peart, "Drumbeats," ($1.99) are available as ebook downloads for Kindle and other readers.

First a word about the Kindle: You don't need to have a Kindle device to buy these stories. You can download free software for your PC or Mac device, as well as many other devices.

I recently bought a new Kindle Wi-Fi device ($138), and the reading experience on it is, in a word, extraordinary (even my wife, who's not into gadgets, was blown away).

Resurrection, Inc.

As Kevin explains in his blog:

My first novel, Resurrection, Inc., is closely based on the Rush album “Grace Under Pressure.”  (It’s been out of print for a while, but we’ve just made it available in ebook format on the Kindle and for other readers 

I mentioned the Rush inspiration in the acknowledgments of the novel, and when I received my author’s copies, I autographed a copy each for Neil, Geddy, and Alex, and sent them off to the record label…and about a year later I received a letter from Neil, and we’ve been in touch ever since.  In fact, I’ve known Neil longer than I’ve known Rebecca…and she and I just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary.


Again, from Kevin:

(Neil) and I collaborated on a creepy story about a drummer bicycling through Africa, “Drumbeats,” (also recently available on Kindle and Smashwords), and we’re talking about a more extensive project.

I've read this story, and it is indeed very creepy. Definitely worth reading. It will be interesting to see what Neil and Kevin's "more extensive project" entails.

It's also worth noting that you can buy ebook versions of three of Neil Peart's books:


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Photo of the night - San Antonio, TX - Sep 23, 2010

A nice bird's-eye view of the stage.


Photo by John Arrowsmith

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Macallan’s connections to rock’n’roll: Neil Peart from the band RUSH

The Macallan recently posted a blog about their connection with drummer Neil Peart (the Macallan is Neil's favorite beverage at the end of a long day). You can read it on their site here, although it's a bit difficult to navigate to. I've posted it here as well.

A couple of weeks ago we were reminded that one of the best drummers to ever walk the earth is a big Macallan fan. This drummer is Neil Peart from the seminal classic rock band – RUSH.

You may or may not be a fan of the band, and you may or may not know who Neil Peart is.  In case you’re not familiar with either, suffice to say that RUSH is one of the most accomplished Canadian rock bands ever to exist. The band’s reputation is anchored in the trio’s longevity, proficiency, and influence – all qualities that we at The Macallan endorse and are akin to. Likewise, Neil Peart is one of the most revered and influential drummers ever, which is why we are honoured at the fact that he often professes his choice for The Macallan as his favourite drink after concert performances. Here’s more on Neil Peart and his level of mastery on the drums in the words of ‘Peart is known for his creative and intricate drum parts and extensive drum solos that delight both drummers and non-drummers alike. He’s won many reader’s poll awards from Modern Drummer, including 12 consecutive “best recorded performance” awards. In 1996, Peart became an Officer of The Order of Canada, the highest civilian decoration in Canada’.

In addition, Neil Peart is an accomplished writer. He has written several non-fiction books recounting his cross-country journeys on his BMW road bike in which he often mentions finishing long days on the road with a dram of The Macallan. He even blogs! Check out his latest post for August 2010 in which he tells the story of having a Macallan after ‘the longest travel day I’ve ever endured’.

So to honour his advocacy we raise a glass to Neil himself, all Neil Peart fans, all RUSH fans, all rock’n’roll fans, and of course, all whisky fans!

For more on Rush, follow them on Twitter and ‘Like’ them on Facebook and check out this great on-stage introduction to RUSH on the eve on their induction to the Juno Hall of Fame in 1994: YouTube Interview

Cheers everyone!

Via Rushisaband.


posted by AndyO @ 9:18 AM   0 comments

Rush and a Mountaintop: Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart go hiking

Kevin J. Anderson, the prolific writer and friend of Neil Peart, wrote about his recent visit with Neil in Colorado. It starts like this:

Two great Rush concerts in one week and summiting a 14,264-ft peak; it’s tough to decide which part I enjoyed most.  (On the other hand, I don’t have to decide.)

Read "Rush and a Mountaintop"

Via Rushisaband.

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posted by AndyO @ 8:59 AM   0 comments

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Photo of the night - Tulsa, OK - Sep 21, 2010

For the picture in Tulsa, OK, there's an interesting one of the electronic kit and, uh, Neil's back. Note how the headphone cord is pinned to his shirt so it stays along the center of his back. For a drummer, one of the most annoying things is when the cord moves over your shoulder and gets tangled in your sticks.


Photo by John Arrowsmith.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Photo of the night - Bristow, VA - Sep 18, 2010

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

RUSH Time Machine Tour Dates SUR AMERICA

Here's the latest information on the shows in Sao Paulo, Rio, Buenos Aires, and Santiago. There's also a Rush app now available for Android phones.

RUSH Time Machine Tour Dates SUR AMERICA - The Rush App For Android Phones

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Photo of the night - Pittsburgh, PA - September 16, 2010

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Photo of the night - Boston, MA - September 14, 2010

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New NEP News Update: "Cruel Summer"

Neil has posted a September, 2010, update to his website called "Cruel Summer."

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Review: Rush - White River Amphitheatre - Auburn, WA - 8/7/10

This review is from the White River Amphitheatre show in Auburn, WA, that happened on 8/7/10. It's taken me a while to write this, but here it is.

The short review: This was one of the best Rush shows I've ever attended. The band played at a level I'd never seen before; the stage design was imaginative and fun; the crowd was electric. What more could someone want at a Rush concert. Or any concert?

Pre-show: 5:05 p.m

I stood in the rain outside White River Amphitheatre with my 10-year-old son, Cameron, listening to the sound check. I hadn't heard Rush do a sound check since the Roll the Bones tour in Vancouver, B.C. (Gone are the days when they had jam sessions during sound check. Here's one that Billy Sheehan posted of a jam he had with Alex and Neil [RealPlayer file]).

"Why does it sound so strange?" Cameron asked, referring to the booming sound echoing from the amphitheater.

"Because we're listening to it out here instead of inside," I said.

First, they played "Faithless," from Snakes & Arrows. Then came the title track from Presto, in its entirety. Finally, "The Spirit of Radio," from Permanent Waves, which would be the first song of the night. I heard a little bit of "Subdivisions" keyboard from Signals, and they were done.

Cameron and I gathered my wife Brenda and brother Erik from of the car and headed into the VIP entrance, the rain still beating down on us.

Living in VIP land

The VIP area at White River is a cordoned off section with a bar and free food (this is not the same thing as the VIP Rush package from Live Nation). We'd scored these tickets from Aaron, Erik's old roommate, and the VIP service came with them (thanks Aaron!). For us, this meant lounging around on a leather couch, eating BBQ sandwiches, chips, pretzels, and drinks.

Image: My White River Rush ticket

After an hour, we left the VIP area and headed to the mile-long line in front of the merch tent. Fortunately the rain had abated. I bought a new blue Time Machine shirt, and Cameron got a Moving Pictures shirt.

Time Machine: Set 1

Once we got to our seats, I said hello to all my friends, Steve, Monica, Dave and Keith from B.C., Paul, his son Nich, and Jen. It was nice to catch up, but there's never enough time before a Rush show.

Here's the view from our seats before the show:

The view from my seats

Here's a Photosynth that a friend of mine did from seats very close to ours, where you can see the entire amphitheater before showtime.

The show started with the intro film, which I'd seen on the Internet -- but it was even funnier with the anticipation of the show. And then Rush blasted into "The Spirit of Radio." A wave of energy released from the crowd, more intense than just about any Rush show I'd attended . 

Geddy Lee - Photo by John Arrowsmith

Our seats were dead center in section 103, row two, which had its advantages and disadvantages. First, these were great seats (thanks again, Aaron!) -- some of the best I've had at a show, and they worked well for Cameron, since he only had one row in front of him. However, because we were in front of an aisle, it was a little distracting to see a constant stream of people flowing by.

Alex Lifeson - Photo by John Arrowsmith

As Rush played through their set, which I'd read beforehand but hadn't memorized, I realized how different this show was from the previous years:

  • "Time Stand Still" hadn't been played in 16 years.
  • "Presto" had never been played live.
  • The funky, eclectic instrumental "Leave That Thing Alone" was back after a few tours, and it sounded better than ever. 
  • The opening riff to the new song "BU2B" was heavier than just about anything Rush had written in years, and the background visuals were stunning.

By the time the band got to "Marathon," I started to notice a confidence in Neil's playing that was fresh and exciting -- even a little dangerous.

Neil Peart - photo by John Arrowsmith

As most fans of Neil's know, his style and technique is always changing. When he joined Rush, his playing also had an adventurous quality, like Keith Moon, but more controlled. But as he and Rush developed over the years, his playing became more and more composed and confident. Since studying with Freddy Gruber before 1996's Test for Echo, I've heard a more improvisational style of playing creeping into Neil's performances.

Geddy Lee - Photo by John Arrowsmith

On this particular night, Neil seemed relaxed behind the kit, with new drum patterns emerging where another fill or beat once had been. I knew it wasn't just me: my brother and I kept sharing looks of disbelief. These new elements had the effect of lifting a song's intensity, and I think this is one of the reasons "Marathon" sounded so good.  

Rush ended the first set with "Subdivisions," which felt as smooth and powerful as ever. Geddy made the comment that Rush were "no longer spring chickens" and needed a rest, and it was intermission. I was surprised by how fast the first set had flown by.

Time Machine: Set 2

As the intermission came to an end, you could feel it in the air: the anticipation of hearing Rush's1981 breakthrough album, Moving Pictures. As many fans have pointed out since Rush returned to playing live 2002, they've played every song off Moving Pictures except "The Camera Eye." They've also played most of the songs off Permanent Waves, with the exception of "Jacob's Ladder" and "Different Strings." I was curious and excited to hear the original sequence of the the songs on Moving Pictures. After all, this album was from an era when song sequencing was an art form -- each song building on the last, like the stories in a book of short stories.

After the hilarious intro film, Rush tore through the songs of Moving Pictures as if they were as excited to play them as we were to hear them. They all sounded great, but for me the real gem I was waiting for was "The Camera Eye." I wasn't disappointed. In particular, I enjoyed the visuals, showing scenes of New York and London -- "Grim faced and forbidding, their faces closed tight" vs. "Wide-angled watcher of life's ancient tales."

Once again I noticed how Neil changed fills or beats throughout "The Camera Eye." One of the most interesting was the way he expanded the "double-ride" beat bridging the two parts of the song (he usually goes into a more conventional Rock beat about halfway through). They also cut some of the more repetitive sequences.

In short, the performance of Moving Pictures exceeded my expectations. I wondered if they could play it with this level of intensity every night (I knew I'd soon get a chance in Las Vegas to compare).


The new song "Caravan" also sounded great live, with a jam session in the bridge reminiscent of "Free Will." The visuals on the screen were also jaw dropping -- a perfect backdrop for the music.

Drum Solo

After reading Neil's August, 2010, blog entry, I was curious how he would approach his solo. In his section about traveling: "I: The Art of Improvisation," he wrote:

This tour I have deliberately designed my drum solo to be more improvisational than ever before, and that has led me into some "adventures" that have their analogues to the art of traveling…

My solo is built on three rhythmic foundations, which I think of as "The Steampunk Waltz" (freeform melodies and rhythms in 3/4 time), "The Steampunk Stomp" (polyrhythms in 4/4 with upbeats against downbeats), and "The Steampunk Mambo" (a Latin ostinato, or repeating rhythm--regular readers will recall its root in the Italian word for "obstinate," or "stubborn"). Through a couple of different variations, including the electronic drums at the back, I continue to explore and stretch my limits in all of those frameworks, and all of them converge toward the end--the big-band climax of "Love For Sale."

On this night, the improvisation over the "rhythmic foundations" certainly made the solo a lot more unpredictable -- even though I recognized patterns and melodies. Considering how many years of solos Neil has played, it's impressive that he continues to change and refine it.

Mr. Ray Daniels

One of the interesting things I noticed at the show was how Ray Daniels, Rush's manager, was watching the show -- usually from the handicap section, which was right in front of us. He seemed to know a lot of the people there, shaking hands, hugging people. He also seemed to be patrolling around the front section of the venue.

Erik turned to me and said, "Is Ray Daniels now doing security?" and we both laughed.

This was the second time I'd seen Ray Daniels at the Rush show in Seattle. Perhaps he'd always been there, but I'd never noticed him. 

The Final Act

As Rush continued through their final songs and into the encore, I was once again surprised.

In the final verse of "Closer to the Heart," the band downshifted into 6/8 time (a fast waltz), stretching out the music and the lyrics. Gone was the long jam on three notes with Alex introducing the band.

"2112: Overture" and "Temples of Syrinx," followed by "Far Cry," created a wave of energy that took the band into the Encore. (One "nugget" as Geddy called it during "2112" is worth noting: During the "And the meek shall inherit the earth" bridge between the two songs, as Geddy tried to sing Alex played the wrong notes. Geddy finally exclaimed, "Where is that guy?" When they started playing "Temples," Alex hid behind his amps in mock shame, with Geddy and Neil laughing.)

"La Villa Strangiato" started off as a kind of post-disco Polka. Neil played bells on the midi-marimba during this section, too. I have to say I didn't recognize anything at all until the "La Villa" riff, which finally blasted into the heavy version we're all used to.

For some reason, I never grow tired of "La Villa." All of the different movements, all the amazing musicianship, it truly fits the subtitle of the song, "An Exercise in Self-Indulgence." Only "The Main Monkey Business" from Snakes & Arrows has come close to the same level of self- indulgence, but in a much more compressed way.

"Working Man" with its Reggae opening was a tour-de-force, and Alex Lifeson was particularly brilliant. While I know this song has been played much in the past 8 years, I enjoyed the new arrangement.

And then they were done.

The outro film, I Still Love You, Man, riffed on the move, I Love You Man, starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel, and I thought it was absolutely hilarious. The two Rush fans sneak backstage into Rush's dressing room, and then Rush arrives after the show. I especially like how Neil gets really mad, with deep sighs, steely-eyed glares.

Also funny was when they call Neil "Mr. Part." Neil says, "It's just Peeert."

"Are you sure?" the two fans ask. "Because we're pretty big fans."

White River blues

Trying to get out of the White River parking lot is an exercise in futility and patience. Unless you leave the show early, it's just a sad reality with this venue. The infrastructure isn't set up for 15-20,000 people trying to leave the parking lot at the same time.

It took us 40 or so minutes to get out of the parking lot, and my brother swore he'd never see a show at that venue again. I don't blame him.

I was home by 1:00 a.m.


The next day I slept in. I mean really slept in. Cameron had tried to wake me up several times because he wanted to play all of Moving Pictures in its entirety on the drums. My wife kept him at bay until 11:00 a.m.

Just to hear Cameron playing along to those songs in his own way was one of the great benefits of seeing that concert. That's Rush and Neil Peart -- inspiring on so many different levels.

And, as Jack Black said in the documentary: Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, they've still got the "Rocket Sauce."

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

25th Anniversary issue of Rhythm features Neil Peart

The 25th Anniversary issue of Rhythm features Neil Peart on the cover, as well as many other great drummers:

Rhythm's 25th Anniversary Special Issue – 25 Drum Icons Interviewed
Rhythm has enjoyed 25 years as the UK's best-selling drumming magazine, and we're marking the occasion with a special issue jam-packed with star interviews. Past Rhythm cover stars including Thomas Lang, Neil Peart, Stewart Copeland, Mike Portnoy, Steve Gadd, Joey Jordison, Nicko McBrain, Travis Barker, Ian Paice, Dave Weckl, Chad Smith, Terry Bozzio, Nick Mason and Steve Gadd share their memories of the magazine and their careers during the last 25 years, and reveal what lies ahead. We've also re-printed classic interviews with sadly departed drum legends Jeff Porcaro and Elvin Jones.


25th Anniversary Issue of Rhythm On Sale 31 August | Rhythm Magazine |

Thanks to Rushisaband for the head's up.

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posted by AndyO @ 7:35 PM   0 comments

Rush Hashanah and Rush Classic Albums tonight on VH1 Classic

If you haven't seen Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, or are interested in watching Rush Classic Albums tonight, check out your local listings on VH1 Classic. For more info, see the Rushisaband post:

Rush Blog - Rush is a Band Blog: Rush Hashanah and Rush Classic Albums tonight on VH1 Classic

Thanks to Ed at Rushisaband for the head's up!

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Sunday, September 05, 2010

Photo of the night - Holmdel, NJ - September 3, 2010

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Chromey appearance on Sept 5, 2010 to support Caden Mitchell

Just a reminder that this event is taking place today in Woodstock, IL.


Chromey will be making a special appearance to help raise money for Caden Mitchell, who has Hunter Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. If you're in the Woodstock, IL, on September 5, stop by Woodstock Harley Davidson and check out Chromey. Let's help raise some money for Caden.

You can also donate online here.

See the poster below for information.

Caden Palooza image

The owner of Chromey, Dean, sent me this information about Caden and Hunter Syndrome:

Donations go to benefit 5 year old Caden Mitchell who was diagnosed with Hunter Syndrome in 2009. Hunter Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder affecting only 500 people in the United States. HS is a lysosomal storage disease caused by a deficient or absent enzyme which help break down specific chemical byproducts in the body. The disease can cause abdominal hernias, infections, deformities, and lead to organ damage. There is one new treatment for HS, an enzyme replacement therapy called Elaprase which Caden is receiving, but it is very expensive.

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posted by AndyO @ 12:39 AM   0 comments

Photos of the night - Syracuse, NY - September 2, 2010

I couldn't pick just one of these photos, so for this show you get two. The "2112" shot with the silhouettes of Alex, Neil, and Geddy is one of the most interesting so far. So much communicated in light and shadow.


Even though I've posted many "behind the kit" shots, in this one you really get a sense of Neil almost floating above the crowd.


Photos by John Arrowsmith. See the entire set here.

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posted by AndyO @ 12:34 AM   0 comments

Photo of the night: Allentown, PA - Aug 31, 2010

This image of Neil Peart with what looks like a Ferris Wheel in the background is a bit surreal. But that's what you get when you're playing at the Allentown Fairgrounds.


Photo by John Arrowsmith. See the entire set here.

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posted by AndyO @ 12:24 AM   0 comments