The late drummer Neil Peart first joined the Canadian band Rush in 1974 and was a member of the group until his death in 2020 at the age of 67. He is still remembered as one of the greatest drummers of all time because of his incredible technique, tempo changes and precision when playing. He changed not only the band’s sound when he became a member, but also the lyrics since he became their main lyricist.
Even though his lyrics were crucial for the band, his drumming still is what makes the fans remember him the most. Over the decades he talked about many of his peers and even named one drummer that according to him was “sloppy” when performing live.
The drummer that Neil Peart said it was sloppy when playing
Back in 1987 when Rush already was a successful and established band, Neil Peart talekd with Rhythm Magazine. He gave his opinion about many drummers, including one that he loved but he thought it was “sloppy” playing live.
“The first thing my teacher played for me was a drum battle record between Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa. That was certainly a good introduction to the fine art of drumming. I think Gene Krupa was a really important influence because of the abandon with which he played. It might be a little inaccurate. But it’s still so great and so well conceived in terms of being exciting to play and for an audience to listen to.”
“I think his rock ‘n’ roll heir was probably Keith Moon. In fact, I see a lot of direct similarities between their playing styles. Even though Keith Moon showed even more abandon and was more sloppy. But he was a drummer who really captured my imagination. Because he was so free and so exciting because of his freedom. It opened me up,” Neil Peart said.
He had the chance to watch The Who live in concert many times before he joined Rush
Living in Canada, Peart had the chance to see The Who live in concert a couple of times long before he joined Rush. Talking with The Hour on CBC back in 2014 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), he recalled the experience of watching the British band. At the time he was only 17 and saw them at the Old Coliseum in Toronto. On that tour the band was promoting the album “Tommy” (1969).
“When I was (about) 17 years-old or so I went to see The Who at the Old Coliseum playing ‘Tommy’. I was with a bunch of friends and bandmates in a van. On the way home one of the guys said ‘Do you think you could ever had that kind of stamina?’ (Laughs). I said ‘I don’t know’. I was laughing about that now, (after) all these years,” Neil Peart said.
Peart also told Modern Drummer magazine in 1980 that Moon was one of his “favorite mentors”. The reason was because the musician gave him the idea of freedom. Helped Peart to realize that he didn’t had to be attached to the “fundamentalist” side of drumming. He also revealed that he liked the approach that Moon had of putting “crash cymbals in the middle of a roll”.
After he became a drummer he realized he didn’t wanted to play drums like Keith Moon
Talking with Modern Drummer in 1983 he recalled that one of his dreams when he was younger was to join a group and play The Who tracks. However, after he was in a band he realized that he didn’t like playing drums like Keith Moon. “I liked to be more organized and thoughtful about what I did and where,” Neil Peart said.
In 2004 he had the chance to pay tribute to Moon when Rush covered the song “The Seeker” on their covers EP called “Feedback”. Moon tragically died in 1978 at the age of 32, victim of an overdose. He was replaced in The Who by The Faces drummer Kenney Jones, with whom the band recorded two studio albums. They were “Face Dances” (1981) and “It’s Hard” (1982).
Since the 90s it’s Ringo Starr’s son Zak Starkey, who had played with Oasis that is the band’s drummer. Zak had the chance to meet Moon when he was young. In fact, the first professional drum-kit he had was a present from the late The Who drummer.
Neil Peart was not the only member of Rush who loved The Who. The band’s bassist, keyboardist and singer Geddy Lee is also a huge fan of the British group. He already said that he thinks that Pete Townshend it’s the greatest songwriter of all time. Also that he thinks that he wouldn’t be a musician if it wasn’t for what Townshend wrote with The Who.
Lee had also selected The Who’s “Who’s Next” (1971) as the best album of all time in his opinion.