LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist of the Canadian rock group Rush, died in California of brain cancer, the group announced on Friday (Jan 10). He was 67.
"It is with broken hearts and the deepest sadness, that we must share the terrible news that on Tuesday, our friend, soul brother and band mate of over 45 years, Neil, has lost his incredibly brave battle with brain cancer, glioblastoma," they said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Rush was founded in 1968 and Peart joined in 1974, replacing John Rutsey, alongside singer and bass player Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson.
After starting out in hard rock and moving gradually toward jazz rock, Peart was known for his flamboyant style and very precise technique, which won him a legion of admirers among professionals and fans.
Rush entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. The band sold 25 million albums in the United States.
Questlove, the drummer for hip hop group The Roots, posted a black and white photo of Peart on Instagram sitting behind his imposing drum set, sending his condolences.
Danish drummer Lars Ulrich of Metallica also said on Instagram that Peart was a big inspiration for him.
Pearts lyrics transformed the bands songs into multi-section suites exploring science fiction, magic and philosophy, often with the individualist and libertarian sentiments that informed songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Freewill.”
And his drumming was at once intricate and explosive, pinpointing odd meters and expanding the bands power-trio dynamics; countless drummers admired his technical prowess.
In a recording career that continued into the 2010s, Rush headlined arenas and had more than a dozen platinum albums. He was also an author, writing books about his travels and his memoirs.
After a Rush tour in 2015, he retired from performing, citing its physical toll. According to the bands statement, he had been suffering from brain cancer for 3 1/2 years.
“His drumming was songwriting,” the Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins, said during Rushs induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. “It was just as musical, just as melodic, as any other instrument in the band.”
He also noted that Peart had “spawned a generation of air drummers for decades to come.”
Peart was born on Sept 12, 1952, in Hamilton, Ontario, where his parents had a dairy farm.
In 1980 he told Modern Drummer magazine that as a child he would “pick up chopsticks and play on my sisters playpen.”
He hadnt been interested in early piano lessons, but at 13 he began taking drum lessons and found that drumming was “pure pleasure,” he told the magazine.
“Id come home every day from school and play along with the radio.”
After playing in rock bands during his teens, he moved to England at 18. But in 1972 he returned to Canada, where he worked at his fathers farm-equipment dealership and played with local bands.
In 1974, an audition got him into Rush. He became the bands lyricist, he said in 1980, “just because the other two guys didnt want to write lyrics.”
He added that he considered the bands lyrics “secondary” to the music. “A lot of times you just think of a lyrical idea as a good musical vehicle,” he said.
Peart grew up as a fan of loud, flashy drummers like Keith Moon, Gene Krupa, John Bonham and Ginger Baker, and he was known for hitting his drum kit hard. But as his playing developed, he quickly earned a reputation for precisely conceived, meticulously executed drum parts.
He expanded the standard drum kit with double bass drums and a wide array of cymbals, woodblocks, bells and tympani, and he eventually added electronic percussion to his arsenal when it suited the music.
His recording career with Rush began with the bands second album, “Fly by Night,” in 1975. His approach immediately transformed the music from blues-based hard rock to compositions that were more demanding, ambitious and changeable.
Rushs 1976 album “2112” began with a 20-minute, seven-part title track. Rush built an audience through extensive touring and increasing FM radio airplay, and its early-1980s album, “Permanent Waves” (1980) and “Moving Pictures” (1981), both reacheRead More – Source