Neil Peart: 50 Years Experience, One Drum Solo

_Leviathan_

Senior Member
Really loving this discussion, some great points by MikeM and Bacterium. My question, if people today play progressive rock and try to "sound like prog", aren't they really just emulating past progressive rock of the 60's and 70's? That sounds more regressive than progressive to me because they are returning to an established sound rather than pushing into new ground. There's bands like Battles, Them Crooked Vultures, and Soundgarden that sound more modern prog then a lot of "prog" bands that are emulating a musical idiom and really aren't progressing anything.
 

Zero Mercury Drummer

Senior 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!!
I see this thread went downhill, but I gotta say that cell phone vid was an insult to the listener as well as performer.
It kind of sucks for an artist to be judged by a cell phone vid. That's the Youtube age. I believe a shitty recording lends itself to boredom and disinterest. Not saying this happened in your case, but I'd hate to hear my own playing on a 10 cent mic.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Just to quibble a little bit with you here,...

While there was an element of anti-musicianship in the grunge rhetoric (which is all it was), in practice it was quite a bit different. You may recall that in the early '90s, Neil Peart stated on multiple occasions that Matt Cameron was his favorite new drummer, and Geddy Lee took it even further by hiring him for his solo record. Soundgarden was everything I imagined a prog rock band should be, especially with respect to the use of odd time signatures. Again, every one I knew was in awe of Matt Cameron's drumming and wanted to play like him. Definitely one of the hippest musicians I've ever met.

,,,,,,

It's cool if you don't relate to the music of that time, but it's simply not true that the players were so apathetic toward the technical side of music. Even Dave Grohl is a huge Rush fan and was moved to tears after meeting Peart for the first time.
Well, yes, it was quite ironic the attitude of anti-musicianship going around when Sound Garden were throwing in odd times, and as were Alice in Chains for that matter.

None the less, we've been down this road before. All the ads in the paper I read that said "drummer wanted, must have [this] kind of hair" were replaced with ads that said "drummer wanted, must play like Dave Ghroul". Guys who had grown out their hair cut it off, and traded their spandex for flannel.

Obviously, you being IN Seattle gave you a different perspective and than me being in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

But while hair metal like Poison and Warrant needed to taken out by someone, it was an odd fact that every other 80's hard rock/metal band that wasn't hair metal also got taken down and thrown out with the hair spray. Even Metallica caved in and cut their hair and made the awful Load album.

Regardless, it wasn't for me, and at the time in 1992 when I first heard Images and Words, it was the opposite of grunge, and the complete opposite of what was trendy at the time, and that was the appeal.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Really loving this discussion, some great points by MikeM and Bacterium. My question, if people today play progressive rock and try to "sound like prog", aren't they really just emulating past progressive rock of the 60's and 70's? That sounds more regressive than progressive to me because they are returning to an established sound rather than pushing into new ground. There's bands like Battles, Them Crooked Vultures, and Soundgarden that sound more modern prog then a lot of "prog" bands that are emulating a musical idiom and really aren't progressing anything.
...precisely. That's exactly it. There are a lot of bands that try to be 'soundalikes' and don' understand why the original bands decided on their sound. They just miss the point - Trivium being an example I wheel out regularly to others.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
BFY - I realize you are stating opinion and I was not making my comment directly or only to you. When I mention age I should really have said generation. Because in many ways I am saying the same thing as you.

At some point something is new and then becomes old, especially if it is successful. New bands copy it and the original band becomes a slave to their success.

I think Rush is both an example of that and an example of a lot of change over their tenure. Their first albums with NP are really different then their early 90s work. And personally I like the older stuff better. But their fans expect a NP drum solo. They expect to hear songs from the mid 70s even though they are no longer fresh.

I do also think that the stuff that older bands did that was new at the time can sound stale today because of the exposure of the new stuff. I guess an analogy could be the first cell phones look terribly old fashioned today but at the time they were so new and nobody question whether they were good.

Compare my first phone to me iPhone now? Ya no comparison.

In one of your recent posts you mention Ringo had new ideas, good on you for recognizing that and that is the type of view a lot of younger musicians don't appreciate and that is what I meant when I say age is a factor in this.

Sometimes simple music done with new ideas is looked at as not good. But the idea was new, fresh and "good" at the time. The Beach Boys and the Beatles are two main stream examples.

Also I am referring to people that do not appreciate older music genres. Not you specifically. For instance in my band we are covering some funk tunes and I was never really into funk when it was new. But I really appreciate the work of some of the Motown session drummers, partly as a result of some posting on here and from learning the songs recently.

Or some, to most, obscure 50s blues for example. Since satellite radio came along I have been a fan of the Blues channel and appreciate so much of that music. If you compare production value of that music to anything today it sounds like crap.

I just hope that all musicians are open to appreciate the value of older music that was new and fresh at one time but has been overplayed and copied. It does not diminish the value of the original music.

Perhaps I did not make these points clear enough in my previous posts.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Russ, I misread your intention with that post so please accept my apology if there was anything you felt that was unfairly aimed at you.

Blues is a great example, actually. Blues music is interesting, what it originally expressed as the songs of the downbeat and oppressed is culturally and aesthetically really important. Blues nowadays has almost none of that and has very little new to offer. The formula was well-established, has been played to death and now listening to most modern blues music bores the tits off me. That's not to say there aren't good players - but I just don't find it interesting.

It might be related to age but there are plenty of guys that I know around my age (27) that feel the same way.

I'm not particularly interested in production values (despite my background as a techie) and I'm much more interested in the emotional and artistic value of what is being played rather than how it sounds. Sometimes wobbly production values make the music far, far more interesting. I don't mind things that have been polished but polish does not a good song make.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
I consider threads like this, if people are really sharing what they think, will always include some element of misunderstanding. The brevity of posts on a forum don't convey all of what you get in a face to face conversation. So I don't take issue with it. I welcome the opportunity to speak and hear clarifications that help solve that problem. Ultimately you end up with a greater appreciation of others if done right. fortunately the spirit of this forum is one of the best examples.
So no worries. And forgive my genre specific closing, rock on!
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I'll go on record here as saying I enjoy Rush's newer material, too. I know a lot of people who liked older Rush DON'T like the new, but I do.

Yes, I know all the reasons people list for not liking them, and that's cool with me, but I have found them to be one of the few older bands whose newer music didn't just become a caricature or a rehash of their old stuff.

One simple example - listen to Far Cry, and you will hear that Neil uses some of his same old tools in totally different ways, particularly in the fills leading up to the ending. Alex brings in more of the odd, dissonant chords and off the wall shaping of his parts than in the early stuff (though not as out there as some of his solo work).

I don't know. There seems to be no love for the new material, certainly not for Neil's solo, so I had to throw this out there. I know it isn't for everyone, but it isn't drivel, either. Not to me, anyway.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
None the less, we've been down this road before. All the ads in the paper I read that said "drummer wanted, must have [this] kind of hair" were replaced with ads that said "drummer wanted, must play like Dave Ghroul". Guys who had grown out their hair cut it off, and traded their spandex for flannel.
Yes we have, Ian, and it's always fun! I really hope you're taking my takes on this, and my responses to you, in the intended spirit, which is not at all to ruffle your feathers. Maybe a lite ribbing tho :)

Back in the early and mid '80s when I was first perusing the musician want ads, they said pretty much the same thing, "... must have pro gear, pro attitude, pro look, and pro hair, man!"

Seems like there's always been a certain crowd, hell bent on hitting the big time, who've specifically tailored every aspect of their band to target an existing audience. For what it's worth, I never responded to any of those ads.

While I shouldn't have been surprised to see similar ads post-grunge that did just what you said - trading the spandex for flannel - it surprised me anyway.

I think what really bummed me out about the mainstream latching on to the look and sound of grunge, is that it became the exact opposite of being liberated from a certain look and marketing strategy, just as you pointed out. So instead of bands leveraging this new found freedom to follow their muse without getting too hung up on whether there was an established market for it, we were right back to the status quo of aping our successful predecessors, which brings us back around to the idiom vs genre bit.
It might be related to age but there are plenty of guys that I know around my age (27) that feel the same way.
Yeah? Well I'm 48 and in blues years we're the same age! Which is to say that it's current state of development predates my time on this rock, too. Interesting from a historical perspective, perhaps, but that's about where it ends for me.
 
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JosephDAqui

Silver Member
I'll go on record here as saying I enjoy Rush's newer material, too. I know a lot of people who liked older Rush DON'T like the new, but I do.

Yes, I know all the reasons people list for not liking them, and that's cool with me, but I have found them to be one of the few older bands whose newer music didn't just become a caricature or a rehash of their old stuff.

One simple example - listen to Far Cry, and you will hear that Neil uses some of his same old tools in totally different ways, particularly in the fills leading up to the ending. Alex brings in more of the odd, dissonant chords and off the wall shaping of his parts than in the early stuff (though not as out there as some of his solo work).

I don't know. There seems to be no love for the new material, certainly not for Neil's solo, so I had to throw this out there. I know it isn't for everyone, but it isn't drivel, either. Not to me, anyway.
Totally agree man, why not take it for what it is: it's no-compromise--on-their-own-terms Rush, I think you have to respect them for that whether or not you like the music. I like old and new songs and I admire Neil for what he does -- now, after reading all his books and seeing all his interviews, I think it's safe to say, and he would agree, that he's quite OCD and quite anal-retentive (yes, he will never be able to swing :)), all in a good way of course so can you really expect what he does to be that much of a 180 from album to album or tour to tour. Seriously, when you are that OCD that you rehearse for the rehearsals and dwell on a solo's make-up with that much detail, could the result be anything else? It's his idea of perfection, some will enjoy it, some won't. Why not enjoy it for what it is.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I'll go on record here as saying I enjoy Rush's newer material, too. I know a lot of people who liked older Rush DON'T like the new, but I do.

Yes, I know all the reasons people list for not liking them, and that's cool with me, but I have found them to be one of the few older bands whose newer music didn't just become a caricature or a rehash of their old stuff.

One simple example - listen to Far Cry, and you will hear that Neil uses some of his same old tools in totally different ways, particularly in the fills leading up to the ending. Alex brings in more of the odd, dissonant chords and off the wall shaping of his parts than in the early stuff (though not as out there as some of his solo work).

I don't know. There seems to be no love for the new material, certainly not for Neil's solo, so I had to throw this out there. I know it isn't for everyone, but it isn't drivel, either. Not to me, anyway.
Like!

I really liked it when they started to get heavily digitized with Signals and P/G, but by RTB, They'd gone so far down that rabbit hole that they completely lost me.

It took me awhile to get back into them after they stripped it all back again because their songwriting still felt less sure and the production values still sounded thin and sterile.

But Snakes And Arrows came out and it seemed like they'd rediscovered their 'thing'. I had that one on infinite repeat for months. Interestingly, it wasn't so much Neil that drew me in as much as it was Geddy (sans vocals) and Alex. Love those guys to bits! I can still appreciate what Neil brings to the party, but my own drumming tastes are now just so far removed from where he is, it's hard to feel as excited as I used to feel about it.

Sorry Neil ... FWIW, you're still my biggest influence for what I think of as the drums' role in a kickass rock band - and you can't undo that. I love you, man! Haha
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Yes we have, Ian, and it's always fun! I really hope you're taking my takes on this, and my responses to you, in the intended spirit, which is not at all to ruffle your feathers. Maybe a lite ribbing tho :)
Well, of course. You're always cool in my book.


I think what really bummed me out about the mainstream latching on to the look and sound of grunge, is that it became the exact opposite of being liberated from a certain look and marketing strategy, just as you pointed out.
Indeed. Which is why I maintain Grunge was no different than hair metal to me. Sure, Kurt Cobain never indented for it end up that way, but it's what happened. A trend occurred, a bunch bands jumped on a trend, and the record companies road that trend until it reached comical (and tragic) conclusions, taking down plenty of innocent by standers with them both.

Which is why Dream Theater was so appealing in 1992, because they weren't wasn't hair metal or grunge, or alt rock or anything the least bit trendy at the time. Despite being a 90's band, they were the antithesis of just about everything else going on with 90's music.

Although in retrospect, I can see why my musical career never quite went the way I intended. I just struggled to buy into whatever was the trendy to the point I was never in position to get the gigs some of my friends that are successful did get.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
That's just it, Ian. I tend to like bands for several reasons:

i) They're distinctive. They have some kind of signature 'trait'. It might be that they change radically from album-to-album, it might be the lead singer's voice, it might be a certain sound palette. They also stand out from the scene in one way or another.

ii) They innovate and change their sound and approach, or try new things. Even albums that are abject failures because of this are great. Sticking with a formula is boring and bands that change that up are admirable.

iii) How they interact with my synaesthesia. That's very hard to explain.
 
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