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“He drove up in this little sports car, drums were hanging out from every corner.”

I love the story about Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson first meeting Neil Peart, who just passed away at 67.

“He was very tall, lanky,” said Lee. “And he had short hair. All of us had major hair. He had spent two years living in England before that. We didn’t know this. But he had just moved back home and given up his dream of playing in a rock band. And he was working for his dad’s farm equipment store. He drove up in this little sports car, drums were hanging out from every corner. He comes in, this big goofy guy with a small drum kit with 18-inch bass drums. Alex [Lifeson] and I were chuckling – we thought he was a hick from the country. And then he sat down behind this kit and pummelled the drums, and us. I’d never heard a drummer like that, someone with that power and dexterity. As far as I was concerned, he was hired from the minute he started playing.”

I had a brief Rush infatuation in high school, and owned Permanent Waves for a few years. Though my tastes moved elsewhere, I still enjoy a handful of their songs from the early 1980s. And I love hearing Maddie play “The Spirit of Radio” on guitar. 

I didn’t know Peart was the band’s lyricist, which seems somewhat unusual for a drummer. (As goes one of the jokes in fellow drummer Chris Mars’ Gratuitous Drummer Jokes collection: “Q: What is the last thing a drummer ever says to his band? A: ‘Hey guys... how 'bout we try one of my songs?’”) How fitting, then, to have attended a Blackhawks game this past week with Maddie, and sang along to “Tom Sawyer” when it was played over the PA system during a break. 

January 11, 2020 in Music | Permalink

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