Mystic rhythms - capture my thoughts, carry them away...
a.k.a. "Pratt" and "The Professor"
Drums and percussion, lyrics
Born September 12, 1952 in Hamilton, Ontario, Neil Ellwood Peart (pronounced "Peert") started playing drums when he received drum lessons for his 13th birthday (after losing interest in the piano).
He played in several small-time bands in Canada and then England before coming back to Canada to join Rush shortly after the release of the first album. He replaced original drummer John Rutsey in 1974 on Geddy's birthday (July 29), just in time for the tour!
Neil's early drumming influences include Keith Moon, Buddy Rich, Carl Palmer, and Bill Bruford. Over the years he has developed a unique style which often includes flavors of African and Latin beats, as well as jazz. He is famous for his gigantic drumkit which includes all manner of cymbals, cowbells, toms, and everything else you could imagine.
As with his drumming, Neil lyrical style is truly his own. He took on the role of writing lyrics when he first joined Rush, "because neither Alex nor Geddy were very interested in doing it" and "it seemed to me that it would be fun." He often draws upon his vast literary knowledge in his lyrics, and has included references to the works of Ayn Rand, J.R.R. Tolkien, T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Samuel Coleridge, Shakespeare, the Bible, Greek mythology, and other great works.
Neil enjoys biking and motorcycling, and has published several accounts of his travels: The Masked Rider, Ghost Rider, and Traveling Music: The Soundtrack to My Life and Times. He has also written several other books: The Golden Lion, The African Drum, and Radiance Over The Rockies, and co-wrote a short story "Drumbeats" for the horror anthology Shock Rock II.
For Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road, Neil was a 2003 finalist for the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize from The Writers' Trust Of Canada.
His first wife Jacqueline Taylor passed away in June 1998 from cancer, and his only daughter, Selena Taylor, died in a car crash in August 1997 at age 19. An arts scholarship has been established in memory of Selena:
The Selena Taylor Foundation
189 Carlton Street
Canada M5A 2K7
In September 2000 Neil remarried to photographer Carrie Nuttall. In 2004 she published Rhythm & Light, a series of striking and intimate portraits documenting Neil at work in a Toronto recording studio.
Other Musical Projects
- Played a few tracks with Jeff Berlin and with The Rheostatics
- Recorded and produced Burning For Buddy, a series of Buddy Rich tribute albums
- Released an instructional video A Work In Progress in 1997
- Recorded Pieces of Eight for Modern Drummer magazine
Awards from Modern Drummer magazine
- Most Promising New Drummer: 1980
- Best Rock Drummer: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985
- Best Recorded Performance: 1981, '82, '83, '85, '86, '88, '89, '90, '92, '94
- Best Percussion Instrumentalist: 1982
- Best Multi-Percussionist: 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986
- Hall of Fame: 1983
- Best All Around: 1986
- Honor Roll: Rock Drummer, Multi-Percussion: 1986
Read more about Neil Peart at his website.