When I was fifteen the band Styx was my favourite group and I was just learning how to play drums. I had a few Rush records and I played them along with other albums by groups like Triumph, Supertramp, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and a lot more. I liked it all. Then `Moving Pictures' came out and everything changed for me.
“Who is this Neil Peart guy?” I asked at the time.
Even though I had just started to learn how to play the drums I knew enough to realize that this guy was excellent. The power and precision of each note he played was intimidating. He did a lot more than just keep time.
And it wasn’t just him. The band also played with technical brilliance.
I went back and re-listened to the three Rush Albums in my collection; `2112’, `A Farewell to Kings’ and `Permanent Waves’ and heard them in a new light. These guys were striving to be great musicians. I went out and bought the other three albums of theirs that I didn’t have. I was hooked.
And it wasn’t just their music that captivated me. I bought into their basic philosophy, too. They vehemently strived for perfection in their music and their live shows. They set the bar at an almost impossible height and when they reached that level they moved the bar higher again. This philosophy I soon adopted to not only my own drumming, but I soon found myself applying it to every aspect of my life. My goal was to always improve, no matter what it was, and not to rest for too long at any one level. This approach was reinforced in me by Neil Peart, who spoke about it in many interviews and books he wrote. I didn’t know it at the time, but when `Moving Pictures’ came out I had just connected with one of the biggest influences of my life.
So, while watching my lifelong influence, for probably the last time, I felt a juxtaposition of emotions. Yes, I was sad, but I was also grateful that I had discovered Mr. Peart and his two coworkers. Years ago I embraced their mission not to settle for mediocrity, which is something that I have tried to apply to all aspects of my life, and I feel that I am a better person for it.
So yes, Neil Peart has been a major influence on me and even though he isn’t the only one, he may be the most influential. To use a term that he prefers instead of hero, he is a good exemplar. In today’s world of idiot pop stars and other questionable people that society puts on a pedestal, I say that Mr. Peart is a great exemplar! Thank goodness for `Moving Pictures!’