Neil Peart: 50 Years Experience, One Drum Solo

Scott K Fish

Silver Member
Neil Peart on His ‘Final Drum Solo’ with*Rush
"My vague design for that solo was deceptively simple."
September 10, 2015 2:38 PM


Photo by Michael Mosbach

August 1st at the LA Forum marked the last show in the supposed last tour. A lot of lasts, including one last drum solo from Neil Peart while on a major Rush tour.

Peart explained how hard he worked on constructing the solo through months of rehearsals.

As Peart rehearsed his solo, he receive no feedback from the other band members or those on the crew. The silence stunned him, making him second guess his aims.

....Peart explained the concept, “My vague design for that solo was deceptively simple. I would approach it as if I*was just sitting down at the drums to start playing — to exercise the improvisational skills*I have been working on for, oh, about ten years now. Technically, I was determined to*exemplify everything I thought I knew about drumming, and everything I love about the*drums — almost 50 years of experience and passion had to go in there somehow.”

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gdmoore28

Gold Member
As Peart rehearsed his solo, he receive no feedback from the other band members or those on the crew. The silence stunned him...

"Technically, I was determined to exemplify everything I thought I knew about drumming...almost 50 years of experience and passion...."

Having just watched the video of that solo, I perfectly understand the reaction of the "other band members or those on the crew." The stunning silence should have been an omen that Peart took seriously. While I've never been a fan of Peart's solo style, I'm always open enough to give him a hearing. After this, I'm only hopeful that the "last solo" assertions are true!

GeeDeeEmm
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Having just watched the video of that solo, I perfectly understand the reaction of the "other band members or those on the crew." The stunning silence should have been an omen that Peart took seriously. While I've never been a fan of Peart's solo style, I'm always open enough to give him a hearing. After this, I'm only hopeful that the "last solo" assertions are true!

GeeDeeEmm
Do you have a link? ..........
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
Yes, that's the one I found. I was wondering if it's the same one GeeDeeEmm was referring to.

Thanks for your efforts, Heavy Edge!!
Hi, ID -- That's not the same video I saw (can't find it just yet), but that is the same solo. What does everybody else think about this performance? If you are a Peart fan, how would you rate this one compared to his previous solos? Do you feel that he achieved his goal, specifically, "I would approach it as if I was just sitting down at the drums to start playing — to exercise the improvisational skills I have been working on for, oh, about ten years now. Technically, I was determined to exemplify everything I thought I knew about drumming, and everything I love about the drums — almost 50 years of experience and passion had to go in there somehow.”

GeeDeeEmm
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Hi, ID -- That's not the same video I saw (can't find it just yet), but that is the same solo. What does everybody else think about this performance? If you are a Peart fan, how would you rate this one compared to his previous solos? Do you feel that he achieved his goal, specifically, "I would approach it as if I was just sitting down at the drums to start playing — to exercise the improvisational skills I have been working on for, oh, about ten years now. Technically, I was determined to exemplify everything I thought I knew about drumming, and everything I love about the drums — almost 50 years of experience and passion had to go in there somehow.”

GeeDeeEmm
OK, we're at least listening to the same solo.

As a Peart fan, of sorts (not a fan-boy, mind you, but a long-time listener who remembers what an inspiration he was early on) I have to say it was kind of a lack-luster solo. I felt that it rambled and didn't say a whole lot, though the playing was fine.

I am admittedly not a huge fan of solos, but I preferred his more structured solos, ones that felt more like a song. I'm a big SONG guy... Actually, my FAVORITE solos of his were during he Clockwork Angels tour, when they were broken into three shorter pieces.

Edit - I saw this tour in Portland, and I have to say I enjoyed the solo more at the concert I attended, but I don't know if it was better. I just know I was having fun!
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
I watched about 3 minutes of it and got bored. Most drum solos, especially when played in a big stadium in front of a big crowd, tend to be just a lot of banging on everything on the kit. The musicality of it is mostly thrown out the window. I found Mike Mangini's drum solos at the DT concerts I went to this year to be quite boring as well, so this isn't just a cut on Peart.

I find Benny Greb's solos to be far more compelling than what Peart put together, but admittedly, I don't think a crowd of 15,000 people would have cared to hear Benny Greb's "musical" solo that ends with him tapping the drums with his hands and fingers. The crowd wants fast, loud, and lots of accents, and Peart gave that to them.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I'm of the opinion that the pinnacle of Neil's solos came in the R30 tour, the one he dissected for "Anatomy of a Drum Solo". It was probably his most technically accomplished and interesting solo of his career. Since then, I've been less and less inspired with them. I've actually been wondering if there could possibly be "A Night With Rush" without him soloing. I know, heresy, right?
 

supermac

Senior Member
As a huge, long-time Neil fan (and yes, I like Jojo, Benny, Weckl etc as well) for me, his most entertaining solo, on film, came in Rio in 2002.

After a 5-year lay-off following the tragic deaths of his wife and daughter, he finally came back with renewed vigour.

This solo captured all the elements from his earlier solos, alongside his newer marimba stuff and electronics, complete with spinning drum riser.

Finally, at 8 and and a half minutes, it was played in front of a wild, open-air 65,000 crowd.

How many of us could manage that? I doubt I could.

And yes, his solos on the R40 tour maybe seemed a little tired, but I'll forgive him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdYM7G3rWbA
 

Macarina

Silver Member
Like many here, drum solo's in concert bore me. I loves me my Neil Peart, but that just did very little for me.
 

NVIC

Senior Member
Wow, such critics. Whatever. Why do people hate drum solos but are ok with guitarists wanking off with solo after solo...? Ha. I dislike Neil's choice in drums (DW) rather than his solos... :)
 

Davo-London

Gold Member
Neil always makes me think of competent amateur rather than a professional. That may seem harsh but next time you watch one of his solos imagine it's one of your competent mates playing instead and it will match perfectly.

I'm not a fan of drum solos anyway though with Jojo Mayer, Benny Greb and the brushes guru Florian Alexandru-Zorn - I could listen to these gents all day long.

Regards
Davo
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
Hi, ID -- That's not the same video I saw (can't find it just yet), but that is the same solo. What does everybody else think about this performance? If you are a Peart fan, how would you rate this one compared to his previous solos? Do you feel that he achieved his goal, specifically, "I would approach it as if I was just sitting down at the drums to start playing — to exercise the improvisational skills I have been working on for, oh, about ten years now. Technically, I was determined to exemplify everything I thought I knew about drumming, and everything I love about the drums — almost 50 years of experience and passion had to go in there somehow.”

GeeDeeEmm
I am a NP fan. I have seen them live starting with the FBN tour. Itis not as enjoyable of a solo for me personally. In earlier solos it seemed like he was more true to his prog rock roots than this last one. But interestingly, after reading what he tried to do, it seems he was making this solo more for him than for fans. He does not need to impress fans. I have always enjoyed the whimsical parts of his solos and his ability to make the double bass parts seem to fit rather than be squeezed in to impress as is the case for a lot of drummers.

I also have always like the clean sticking. This one is not as impressive in terms of sticking. And after hearing so many of his solos I am guessing I have a bias for the early ones, possibly because as a younger drummer it was more impressive to me. I still am impressed with his playing. On this tour I can honestly say it is the first time I really noticed his age impacting his abilities.

But back to one point, if he is making this solo more for himself and not as concerned about impressing with his chops, isn't that what we celebrate in musicians? For that reason some of the criticism seems harsh.

Bottom line is that his drumming still excites me.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
Wow, such critics. Whatever. Why do people hate drum solos but are ok with guitarists wanking off with solo after solo...? Ha. I dislike Neil's choice in drums (DW) rather than his solos... :)
Personally I think they are both p1ss boring.

Music (for me) is about bands doing what bands do. Instrumental solos add nothing. Just MHO.

Nothing turns me off to a song more though than a wanky solo. I usually go for a beer when certain musicians in my favourite bands over-indulge.
 
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