Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Random Thoughts On Neil Peart

Purt? Pee-YART? Pyuh-ee-rght? Was there an unvoiced fricative in there somewhere? It doesn’t matter now.

Mistuh Peart, he dead. Mistuh Peart dead, suh.

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What did the cool kids listen to? Fucked if I know; I didn’t go to cool kid parties. I was in the marching band. We listened to Rush. At least 75% of the crowd at a Rush show used to be in the marching band.

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Imagine being the best in the world at something, anything.

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It’s YY-Zed, not YY-Zee. Get it straight, hoser.

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Neil wrote the words, and very few of them were about his dick. Most bands let their singers write the words, and all singers think about are their dicks, and so most rockyroll songs are about the singer’s dick: where it had been, and what its plans were, and how well pleased it did make all who encountered it. Mick Jagger sang about his dick so much that that the one time he didn’t (Waiting On A Friend), he is forced to spend the entirety of the lyric assuring you that it is not a ruse, that the song is not secretly about his dick, but instead sincerely about waiting on a friend.

Hell, even Dylan wrote about his dick. He just high-faluted it.

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40 years without succumbing to Band Bloat. No black-up singers, no horn section, no utility guy covering keys and rhythm guitar and harmonies, no Ray Cooper on percussion. Just the three of ’em. Trios either self-destruct or last forever; there’s nowhere for assholes to hide in a trio.

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I oppose the Solo Solo on principle, that spotlight ten minutes where the rest of the band leaves so the individual instrumentalist can show the crowd just how hot his licks are. It’s usually just an excuse for the singer to get a beej.

Neil’s were different:

He didn’t play the drums. He played music, on drums. Listen to his tom-toms: they’re tuned to a pentatonic scale.

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I don’t know why he’s dressed like Aladdin in that clip. He just is.

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He could take a punch. Daughter, 19 years old, dead on the highway. Wife a year later, cancer. He quit the band, rode his motorcycle for a while, rejoined the band, got remarried. Lot of folks would’ve taken up drinking.

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Neil Peart was better than John Bonham because he didn’t employ any goons. Neil Peart was better than Keith Moon because he never, ever dressed up like a Nazi. Neil Peart was better than Ginger Baker because he wasn’t such an asshole he was forced to flee multiple countries. Neil Peart was better than Ringo Starr because c’mon now.

Neil Peart was not better than Charlie Watts.

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Read this.

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Christ, I’m getting tired of remembering dead Rock Stars.

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You could be in a band when I was in high school. It was an identity, like being a jock or a theater kid or smart. Mostly, you jammed in your drummer’s basement and then drove around town discussing what the stage would look like when you played MSG. On occasion, there was the Teen Center.

And here’s how you judged bands when I was in high school: Can they play Rush?

My band could not play Rush, and did not even try. We stuck to Cheap Trick tunes.

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Only the armless do not air-drum to Rush.

9 Comments

  1. JES

    After his wife and daughter died (Jeezum Krow, The Universe . . . Really? I mean, REALLY???), I never thought we would hear from him/Rush again.

    So when they came back, I was SO stoked to get the album, and I think it is no accident that the first moments of the first song of the post-hiatus era are all Neil, and then the lyrics that follow are just soul-crushing when you think about what was behind them.

    Here ’tis. Not as famous as “YYZ” or “Tom Sawyer” or “The Spirit of Radio,” but an UTTERLY essential Rush moment to these ears . . .

    https://youtu.be/rMYDuPWHFAo

    • Jeremy Berg

      I knew what song that was going to be. Well-played.

      • JES

        Thanks. Like Sr TotD, I feel like a ghoul at how often I find myself writing about dead heroes these days. Though I suppose that means I am out-loving my peer group, so that is preferable to the alternative . . .

        • JES

          Out-loving = out-living. My fingers don’t work as well as they once did . . .

  2. sp

    “black-up singers”? yiiiiikes.

    and even though Rush didn’t write songs about their dick or their rod or their johnson its lovely you bring it up.

    highlight: “Trios either self-destruct or last forever; there’s nowhere for assholes to hide in a trio.”

    no one was or will ever be better than john bonham

  3. Tor Haxson

    Can we just say the quiet part out loud..

    He was Canadian..

  4. PC

    I’m still trying to figure out how to feel about living in a world without Neil Peart somewhere alive and active in it. He was hugely relatable to me since I was around 12.

    Thanks for acknowledging his passing so quickly. And I’d love to see what more you might have to say about him if you’re ever moved.

    • Chester

      I too would love to see what more you to might have to say about the good doctor. Was The Trees merely inadvertently allegorical?

  5. JES

    When I called him for the phoner referenced above, he answered the call saying “This is Neil Peart,” with his last name sounding the fruit “Pear” plus a T. So . . . . . . “Pairt” in the mix?

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