Why Neil Peart?
[Be forewarned, this is a serious essay that leads to an advertisement. Proceed at your own risk!!!!]
A year ago, I had the great privilege of reading a fine history of Rush: Robert Freedman’s RUSH: LIFE LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE. It was a very satisfying read, and, as I finished it, I sighed to myself. . . “I wish I’d written this.” I don’t think my reaction was one of hubris, but rather one of joy. I was glad to see Peart taken so seriously at an intellectual level. All too often, even in a culture that can go utterly ga-ga over the most trivial things, Americans still tend to dismiss rock music as a fad or rock musicians as a low form of artist.
For those of us who love prog and art rock, we cringe at such slights, and yet, in our heart of hearts, we’re kind of glad that we are among the few who know—as almost a secret treasure we possess—that good rock as art most certainly does exist. Sure, we’ll argue until we’re blue in the face about what makes art good. But, in the end, we’re somewhat satisfied that we’ve chosen the past least taken.
I’m as guilty of this as anyone, and I know that much of my life, I’ve been a total music snob. Sure, being from Kansas, I can do it with manner and a smile, but I’m still a snob.
When the four editors of progarchy and I started this website, we dedicated ourselves to promoting—as widely as possible—the beauty of music in all of its forms. We’re each music snobs, of course, but we so want to make our snobbery general and widespread. That is, we’d love to have Big Big Train playing on every rock station across North America. Rock music is at a crossroads, and we think we can destroy the mediocrity and corporate vanilla the so prevails and gives rock a bad now. Now, this truly is HUBRIS on our part!
One of the persons I find most intriguing over the last half century is Neil E. Peart. Whether you agree with his political views or hate them, whether you think he’s a god among drummers or just a guy dealing with his ADHD, you have to give Peart credit for making his own way, no matter the cost and no matter the obstacles.
Just a few nights ago, Rush played their final show of R40. The chances are pretty good that that show will be the last normal Rush show ever played. After 41 years of constant success and considered artist endeavors, that’s huge!
[Remember, I warned you above!]
So, why Neil Peart? Well, I try to answer this very question in NEIL PEART: CULTURAL (RE)PERCUSSIONS. The biography comes out officially on September 15 from Kevin J. Anderson’s Word Fire Press. For another 9 days, however, you can get an advanced review copy of the Peart bio for $15 from Humble Bundle.
I’m biased, but I’m really hoping you’ll purchase a copy. I could explain to you that every time you buy a book, you put food on the table for my huge family. But, this isn’t quite true. Still, it would help for the college funds!
Mostly, though, I wrote this book to spread my love of all things Peart.
To be continued. . . .