Re: Neil Peart
I am not really a Neil Peart fan, but this has much to do with the fact that I am not really a Rush fan. If they had a good singer and a keyboard player, they could be a lot better, and more varied. But then again, they wouldn't be who they are. Millions of folks are happy who they are.
Peart's style is a bit too mechanical for my tastes, and being a jazz nut, I love improvisation, rather than the airtight, rote style Rush plays. I also think he overplays a bit, but that is a VERY subjective evaluation.
That said, I have great respect for Peart because:
A. He is the most influential drummer of his generation (my generation is the era before Peart. Carl Palmer was my hero, the Peart of his era. Yet Palmer also has limitations).
B. He is greatly regarded, not only by fanboys, but by established professionals. Do you think all those great drummers would have contributed on Burning for Buddy if they considered him a fraud?
C. As an admirer of technical proficiency, I get great joy listening to Peart's sticking.
D. His passion. He absolutely LIVES for his craft.
E. My heart also goes out to him for his unspeakable tragedy.
Keith Moon once famously responded to a question by a journalist regarding who the best drummer is by saying, "Who's the best? I have no idea. What is a style?"
Indeed. Is Peart better (or worse) than Gadd, Coliauta, Weckl, Palmer, etc?
NO! They, and MANY others, are ALL titans of the skins. If Neil is your favorite drummer, be proud of that! He is as worthy a choice as anyone, and more worthy than most.
As for his lyrics, I could really care less. I was into Ayn Rand in high school, but outgrew her when I went to college and later entered the workforce. Perhaps the way he plays drums is reflective of Rand's Objectivism philosophy. It is hard to argue with, but Objectivism is soulless. Like Rush, all meticulous precision. After the plug is pulled, we all are worm food. No God. No soul.
As an aside, the quote "It's not the destination, but the journey" has been used by Harley-Davidson for decades, probably before Neil was born. As an avid motorcyclist, he fully understands the allure of the open road, and after logging 55,000 on his bike after the deaths, he lived the life of the road.