Neil Peart – Ten Lessons from the RUSH Drummer

Hey everyone!neil peart

Welcome back or welcome to the page.

Today I would like to take a bit of a sideline tour, if you don’t mind.

Let’s get started.

RUSH – The Band

Early in January, the world lost one of the best, if not the best, drummer. Neil Peart was the backbone of the band RUSH. He was the main writer of the songs and on-third of the band. Yes, RUSH only had three members: Neil Peart, drummer, Geddy Lee, singer, bass guitar, keyboards. and Alex Lifeson, lead guitar.

These three musicians were able to play music like bands with twice the number of members. At times, Geddy would sing and play the bass while playing keyboards with his feet. Alex had several guitars at his disposal, and would switch them up between or even during songs. And Neil’s drum set was like no other. A full 360 degrees of drums and percussion instruments. Unbelievable.

They have sold over 30 million albums, been nominated for seven Grammy Awards, won several Juno Awards and have won the International Achievement Award at the 2009 SOCAN Awards. They were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Over their career, which started in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1968, they have been acknowledged as being the most proficient players on their respective instruments, with each band member winning numerous awards in magazine reader’s polls.

Neil Peart, as I mentioned was the band writer, of both music and lyrics. He also wrote several books, mostly travel guides that he put together on his numerous cross-country motorcycle rides. He was a brilliant mind, and his unique interpretation of modern society, fantasy, and science fiction came through in the lyrics of the songs he wrote for RUSH.

Neil was a gifted speaker, and never turned down an interview. He spoke well, and throughout his career, he was asked many questions about not just music, but his inspiration and how he could continue to come up with the music and lyrics that the world loved.

Below I will try to summarize the things that Neil said into ten rules, or suggestions for success; not just in music, but life in general. If you would allow my indulgence into this area, let’s go!

Earn Your Audience

We shouldn’t take for granted that everyone is going to like what we do. Neil reminds us that we need to give the best showneil peart drums of our lives every time, in order to justify the time and expense the audience has given to be there. Now, in our lives, people may not spend money to be where we are, but they are giving of their time. We need to remember that we should respect everyone’s time, and not take them for granted. We need to earn their trust every time.

Be Restless

Being restless is a great way to alleviate boredom. If we are willing to find things to do, different things, things that interest us, all those things will lend to our success. One of Neil’s hobbies is reading. He had a voracious appetite for the written word. He would take a book with him wherever he went, so as not to be bored. He would read. This reading led to his vast knowledge and his ability to become one of the greatest lyricists of all time.

He was also restless in his determination to be the best drummer he could be. By his own admission, he may not have had the most talent, but he had the most determination and that led him down the path of playing all the time and growing his talent through practice.

His restlessness in all areas led him to be the best he could be, doing the most excellent things he can do.

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

If we stay in our comfort zone, we will probably never improve at whatever we are doing. We will become complacent in what we are doing if we don’t challenge ourselves to be better. We need to do more than just practice. We need to challenge ourselves with something new and uncomfortable.
comfort zone

If you play a sport, you should be learning new techniques to be better and faster and stronger. If you play an instrument, you should be pushing yourself to play songs that you have never played before. If you are a writer, you should be challenging yourself to write more and more complex story lines than ever before.

Whatever it is that you do, you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone to get better and better.

Learn From Others

This is the greatest place to be. You need to be watching and learning from other people. Whether these people are involved in the same profession as you or not, we can learn from them. Also, we don’t need to meet these people to learn from them. We can read about them and watch videos about them and we will learn. So much of who we become will be from the observations of others we admire. We will learn what we can do to get it right, but we may also learn what not to do to get it right.

In my own life, I have learned from every teacher I taught with and from every administrator of the buildings I taught in. Whenlearn I became a principal, I put all that knowledge into practice to be the best principal I could be.

You need to do the same. Read and watch and learn form others, and then put your own spin on all the learning and be the unique individual that you are becoming.

Create What You Like

If we want to be successful and happy for the long run, you need to find something to do that you love. It has been said that if you can find that something to do that you love, you will never work a day in your life.

In Neil’s case, he and the band just created music that they loved, made it really good, and hoped that everyone else would love it as well. We did!

We need to do the same. Find our passion, and do what we can to make others love it. That will allow us the freedom to never work a day in our lives and be happy and successful at the same time. I’m not saying that this will be easy, and we may need to work at a traditional job until we can make our passion profitable. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.

Work for someone else during the day, and work at your passion in the evenings and on the weekends, and soon enough your passion will sustain your life.

Infect People With Your Fire

Enthusiasm – Infected with the god. If we are enthusiastic about our passion, we will infect others to be enthusiastic along with us and then we will be able to share our happiness. We need to be careful to not become a soap box preacher about our passion topic. We need to live the enthusiasm and infect people with our actions, not our words. Let them see our joy, and they will want to join us.

They may not join us in our passions, but if we can inspire them to be passionate about their own desires and dreams, then we can all be happy together.

Don’t Read Reviews

Neil reminds us that if we believe the good reviews, we will need to believe the bad ones as well. The same can be said for people’s opinions of us. We need to remember that if we are living our lives the way we want, then it shouldn’t matter what others are thinking of us. It reminds me of the saying: When I was young, I cared what others thought. As I grew older, I cared less about what others thought. And then, as I got older still, I realized that people weren’t even thinking about me at all.

Keep that in mind. Live your own life, and try not to get hung up on what you think others are thinking or saying about you.

Create For Your Ideal Audience

Who are you trying to influence with your life? That is the question. That is the audience that you want to keep in mind. As an example, I live my life for my wife. She is the most important person in my life. Everything I do and say, I keep her in mind. I am creating a life for her; a life that she can enjoy and be content in.

You need to find your audience, and then create your life to satisfy them. Hopefully your audience will appreciate what you are doing for them, as my wife does, but if they don’t, you need to continue to pursue your life in a way that the audience will appreciate. Eventually, the audience that you are creating for will be around you and will come to appreciate you and all you do for them.

Find Your Inspiration

If you want to continue to grow as a person you need to find your inspiration. What drives you? What makes you happy? If you can find your inspiration, you will find your reason to continue to create and be passionate. Your ability to create will be based in your inspiration.inspiration

If you desire and dream to be the best drummer, then you need to find someone to aspire to, perhaps Neil. If you wish to be a great writer, then you need to find an author that inspires you to be the best writer you can be. If you want to be the wealthiest person in the world, then perhaps you need to find wealthy people to inspire you.

Your passion, whatever it is, grew out of some thought or experience you had. Seek that inspiration out, and find a way to continue to be motivated and move toward your goals and dreams.

Never Stop Experimenting

Your passion will continue to grow as you continue to experiment with various aspects of the subject. In Neil’s case, the experimentation of working in a three person band continued throughout RUSH’s career, and the music continued to get better.

Perhaps you need to read another book about your passion, or watch more videos for inspiration. Whatever it may be, you need to continue to try new things and perfect your craft as you grow in experience and motivation.

Keep the passion alive by trying new things.

Last Words

Well, there it is. A bit of a rambling about Neil Peart and some of his thoughts on his and the band’s success over the years. If you would like to enjoy a Neil Peart solo, click here.

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts today. I would like to thank Evan Carmichael for his inspiration for this piece.

Thanks for allowing me to step out of the Keto and Exercise mindset for a minute.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.neil peart

See you in the next post.

Have a great day!


Tom Fitzsimmons

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