Considered one of the best drummers of all time, the late legendary Rush drummer Neil Peart influenced millions of musicians not only for his drumming but also for being the band’s main lyricist.
Alongside guitarist Alex Lifeson and vocalist/bassist/keyboardist Geddy Lee, Peart helped to make Rush one of the most famous bands in history playing sold-out stadiums worldwide until the end of their career. Over the decades Neil Peart revealed in interviews his opinion on many of his peers, including the legendary The Who drummer Keith Moon.
What was Neil Peart’s opinion on Keith Moon
The late Canadian musician not only was a big fan of Keith Moon’s work but he also had the chance at the age 0f 17 to watch the drummer playing live with The Who at the Old Coliseum in Toronto when they were promoting the album “Tommy”. He recalled that experience in an interview on The Hour on CBC back in 2014 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), saying: “When I was (about) 17 years-old or so I went to see The Who at the Old Coliseum (In Canada) 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.
He was lucky enough to watch The Who live on many other occasions in the 60s and 70s.
Neil Peart considered him a mentor
The British drummer had a big impact on Neil Peart’s style and was one of his biggest influences when he still was trying to find his own way of playing. In a conversation with Modern Drummer magazine back in 1980, Peart praised Moon saying he was one of his favorite mentors.
He also said that Moon gave him “a new idea of the freedom and that there was no need to be a fundamentalist. I really liked his approach to putting crash cymbals in the middle of a roll. Then I got into a more disciplined style later on as I gained a little more understanding on the technical side.”
Three years later, in another conversation with Modern Drummer, Peart recalled that one of his dreams when he was young was to join a band that played The Who songs. But after he joined one he discovered 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.
For Neil Peart, Keith Moon was Gene Krupa’s heir
Neil Peart respected Moon’s playing so much that he even told Rhythm magazine back in 1987 that he thought the British musician was Gene Krupa‘s heir. Krupa is considered one of the best drummers of all time and is considered the founding father of the modern drumset.
“I think (Gene Krupa’s) 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.
Keith Moon died too soon at the age of 32 in 1978, victim of an overdose. The Who replaced him with The Faces drummer Kenney Jones and recorded two studio albums with the drummer. Since the 90s the band’s drummer is Zak Starkey, the son of Ringo Starr, who met Keith Moon when he was a child.