I can understand the people that criticize Neil for his lack of improvisation but... COME ON! Does he even need to improvise? Neil is the "brain" of the band, Alex Lifeson is the one who has this rock 'n roll soul and who improvises. As for his solo, it's still very interesting to watch, specially for non-drummers. Better than those drummers who make rudiments solo just for the crowd to go 'yawn'.
I'm influenced by Neil not only on drumming, but as a person too.. he's very intelligent, not like the rock stars who just sit at home drugging themselves and banging groupies. He gets his bike and goes to Mali; Travels to China, etc., his philosophy of life really influences me. His lyrics might seem unconventional at times, but there's much more in them than in a "I wanna Rock!! Rock!! I waaaant to Rock" kind of tune.
I remember I got to have drum lessons at the same time I got to hear Moving Pictures for the first time, and my teacher was a huge Rush fan as well, and he gave me "Drum Techniques Of Rush". I still run to the book whenever I want to get inspiration for some drumline.
I have transcribed a few songs for the Rush Tablature Project
, you might want to check it out!!