Neil Ellwood Peart was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1952 and started his musical career in 1968, joining Rush six years later, taking them into a new level. The musician not only made their sound different because of his drumming but also transformed the lyrics, since he became the band’s main lyricist.
During his career he had the chance to see many other groups and pay close attention to them. He wasn’t interested only on other drummers but also different players. He even mentioned once a famous guitarist that was good according to him, but also said that he never really liked that musician.
The guitarist that Neil Peart said was good but he never really liked
Peart was a member of Rush until his death at the age of 67 in 2020 and was a crucial part of their sound and songwriting. He always had a broad musical taste that went from Jazz to Rock, and one of the bands that influenced him when he was young was the power trio Cream.
Peart said that the band’s drummer Ginger Baker was a major inspiration to him. But he told Marc Allan in 1990 that Baker’s bandmate Eric Clapton was a good guitarist but that he was never a big fan of him.
“And I was glad to realize from the beginning too was really an important insight that I had in my young years is the difference between taste and quality. That I could recognize for instance Eric Clapton. I was always thought was a good guitar player but never really liked his guitar playing.”
“Whereas I know there’s a lot of music that isn’t that great technically and a lot of reggae and a lot of R&B and stuff. But I still really like it. (By) just learning that difference to say, well, this isn’t that great, but I don’t really like it. Or this is great, but I don’t really like it. It’s a really important distinction to make.”
“But a lot of people never do make it. They think if they like something, its great. And if they don’t like it, its shit. It’s a very simple equation. But of course in any kind of art, it doesn’t really apply,” Neil Peart said.
Curiously, Rush paid tribute to Cream and the legendary Blues player Robert Johnson. They covered the track “Crossroads” on their ccovers album “Feedback” in 2004.
The curious “Eric Clapton factor” according to Peart
Neil Peart and the legendary The Police drummer Stewart Copeland were good friends. The Rush drummer once recalled in an interview with Music Radar in 2011 that the American player had baptized something as the “Eric Clapton factor”.
“Stewart Copeland calls it the ‘Eric Clapton Factor.’ Because Eric Clapton hated not being able to go out and play the guitar casually. He had to be brilliant. In fact, Stewart Copeland himself stopped playing the drums for a few years. (It was) after the first go-round with The Police because of the ‘Eric Clapton Factor.'”
“He just wanted to go out and play. He didn’t want to have to be ‘brilliant’ all the time. It’s a very strange occurrence. I certainly feel it when it comes to drum solos. I’m naked out there without the band. I have to conquer my nerves and perform with skill and grace. Without all the terrible things like flubs and drumsticks flying around (laughs),” Neil Peart said.
Eric Clapton first achieved fame as the guitarist of The Yarbirds and later on with John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers. But it was after he formed Cream alongside Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker that he started to be compared even to god. Just like the famous graffiti once said. He then recorded albums with Blind Faith and Derek & The Dominos before really focusing only on his solo career.
Clapton is considered one of the best guitarists of all time. He has sold an estimated amount of more than 280 million records worldwide. Also was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 2000 by The Band’s guitarist Robbie Robertson.