His name may not be as well-known as drummers like Ringo Starr, Charlie Watts, Buddy Rich and Matt Briggs, but when Neil Peart passed away on Jan. 7 at the age of 67, it sent shock waves through the music world.
He had battled brain cancer for three years before he finally lost his battle with the terrible disease.
Peart was born in Ontario, Canada in 1952 and quickly became fascinated with drums. When he was 18 he moved to London to further his career in the music business.
After a disappointing year abroad, he returned home to Ontario and worked for his father selling tractor parts. He auditioned for the rock band Rush and officially joined the band on July 29, 1974.
Original drummer John Rutsey had quit the band due to health problems from advanced diabetes. Peart had two weeks to learn their songs before they started their first tour of America.
They played their first concert together on Aug. 11, 1974 in Pittsburgh opening for Manfred Mann and Uriah Heep. Almost immediately fans and critics noticed the difference with Neil behind the kit.
He brought the power needed for a rock band but with the finesse of a jazz drummer like his idol Buddy Rich. Peart was an avid reader and was a fan of writers like Ayn Rand and Mark Twain.
His first album with Rush was Fly By Night and it contained the hit “By-Tor and the Snow Dog,” written by Neil. By the time they released 2112, their classic fourth album, Peart was firmly entrenched as the band’s primary lyricist.
In 1981, they were at the top of their game and had two songs, “Spirit of the Radio” and “Tom Sawyer,” on all the rock radio playlists.
In 1997 Neil’s daughter died in a car accident and a year later his wife Jacqueline died from cancer. He took a five-year hiatus from recording and touring, finally returning to work in 2001.
He also met and married photographer Carrie Nuttall during this time. They had a daughter together in 2009 and Peart became a U.S. citizen in 2010.
Prior to his death, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him as the fourth best drummer in rock history. Rush were finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
The band had retired from performing about three years ago but thousands of hours of music remain that will ensure his legacy lives forever.
2020 Winter Bash at Watering Hole Saloon
If five hours of good classic rock and roll is your thing, then Saturday night at the Watering Hole Saloon is where you need to be.
For the small price of $5 at the door, you get four local rock bands, starting with Cadillac Drive at 8 p.m., I35 at 9 p.m. and Max Band at 10 p.m., followed by headliners 3 Man Front at 11 p.m. They are calling this night their 2020 Winter Bash and it’s a fitting title for the event. Our city is known for having marathon Americana festivals but rarely ones devoted to rock music.
Check out this show plus many more at WateringHoleSaloon.com.
13th Annual Blues Festival at Luckenbach
Luckenbach Dance Hall is another venue known as the home of outlaw country and Americana, but once a year they host a cool blues festival. This Saturday marks the 13th Annual Blues Festival at the historic hall.
It’s an all-day, family style event starting at noon with Elijah Zane & the Peacemakers. Scheduled to appear at the blues fest are Zach Day, Dylan Bishop, Eagle Eye Williamson, Ben Beckendorf, Hot Attacks and Sue Foley. Headlining the festival is Joseph ‘Mojo’ Morganfield, the youngest son of blues legend Muddy Waters. Tickets are $30 per person and kids 8 and under get in free. For a full schedule of the day, check out their website at LuckenbachTexas.com.
Statesboro Revue Return to the Local Live Series
Tonight is the third show in the Local Live series at the Brauntex Theatre.
The monthly series features local artists paying tribute to the bands that inspired them at an early age. Tonight’s show is a very special one because it features Stewart Mann and his band, Statesboro Revue. They were the very first local band to perform in this series when it started back in October of 2012.
They chose to pay tribute to the Allman Brothers since they took their band name from the song Statesboro Blues. It was a fantastic night of music and they set the bar very high for all the bands that followed in the series. For tonight’s show, they will pay tribute to southern rock, including hits by the Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker Band, Creedence, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Mountain, Blackfoot, Little Feat and many more. Stewart is currently working on songs for a new album that will hopefully be released very soon. He’s one of our most talented singer songwriters so be sure to catch his show. Tickets are available at Brauntex.org.