By xanadu 3 Comments
About 10 minutes ago I read that my childhood hero Neil Peart passed away. For anyone who doesn't know, Neil Peart was a Canadian Rock Drummer and one third of the powerhouse trio known as Rush. The band is primarily known for gaining a following through sheer force of will. Their songs were considered too long for radio in an era where the medium could make you an overnight success. They were unwilling to bend their ideals to corporate executives in a time where that was the only route to reach mass awareness. Instead they built their fan base through years and years of touring from city to city. Originally as an opening act for bands like KISS, Rush would soon become a solo touring act with a library of music so vast and dense, they never had a need for an opening act. To be honest, I'm not really sure why I am typing this right now. It's been a long time since I have posted anything to the forums and this is about as Off-Topic from video games as you can get. Surely, this will not speak to 100% of giant bomb users, but it's something I feel compelled to talk about...So I'm going to do that.
I'll never forget the first time I heard Rush. Bored on a random day during my summer break before heading into high school, I remember casually browsing my Dad's CD collection. Why I was there, I don't know. What I was looking for, I don't know either. I was probably just wasting time and enjoying the endless bliss of being responsible for jack shit until school started back up again. Nevertheless, I stumbled across one particular jewel case that caught my eye. Moving men in bright orange jump suits caring large framed paintings while onlookers weep as they pass. I had no idea what the hell I was looking at but the album art was none the less intriguing. The album I was so mystified by was Rush's Moving Pictures. Thinking upon it, I knew the name Rush sounded very familiar at the time. Playing drums in the elementary school band for the past few years, I was pretty sure that was a name I had heard some other classmates use before. Still not really knowing what to expect, I took the CD out to play through my stereo set system (you know the kind from the early 00's that every kid had in their room. A big ass base that could maybe hold up to 5 CDS anchored by two equally big ass speakers on either side). Needless to say, I was not prepared for what happened next. The Albums opening track, Tom Sawyer blasted through my system and hit me like a freight train. I was never the same again.
To say I instantly became a knew/better person through the power of song is obviously extreme hyperbole. However I can confidently say after that moment, I was never the same musician again. I stated earlier about playing in the elementary school band...Through this education I was obviously aware of the possibilities of music being more than just our average every day pop songs we hear on the radio. I had only just began to unwind the possibilities of odd time signatures and other advanced music techniques. And yet until then, I had only seen these practices applied to classical music. Of course, Rush is not the first progressive Rock band. Of course, Rush did not invent many of the odd time signatures or chord progressions they would employ throughout their 40 year collection of music. But it was the first time I heard these more advanced musical composition techniques applied outside the realm of classical music. I will admit, it may seem silly now to have revelations that music can be more than just our traditional 4/4, C Major, I-IV-V-I progressions. But in my younger age, these were topics I was never thinking about. Pop music was popular music. Classical music was what it was as well. And never should ideals from either two forms mix. Listening to Moving Pictures that day changed my perspective about all of that. Rush made me realize that music can be anything you want it to be. Neil Peart made me realize drumming can mean so much more than reinforcing a beat and keeping tempo for the rest of the band. From that day on, I would never be the same musician again.
I could write almost an entirely separate blog about my current relationship with music. But that's not the point of this blog right now. Without Rush and without Neil Peart I don't know if I would have found the love for percussion and music in the same way I do now. I was a strong enough drummer that I never had to practice my school parts at home. After Moving Pictures, I was obsessed with becoming the most technically proficient drummer I could be. While I would eventually move on and appreciate other drummers for their different talents, I always remembered that Neil was the first drummer that motivated me to be better. And now he's gone so suddenly and it really fucking sucks. It sucks more than I ever though it would. You never realize how important something is until it is gone. Thank you so much, Neil Peart. For everything. I bow my head and raise one drum stick to you, sir. Rest in Peace, forever.