The 16 Favorite Drummers of the Greatest Prog Musician of All Time

Houndog

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Quoting from On Neil Young and Ayn Rand (https://mutant12.wordpress.com/english/156-2/):

That common theme – the bridge between Ayn Rand’s work and Rush lyrics – can be perceived in many Rush songs throughout the 80s and the 90s. Here are a few quotations by way of illustration:

from the obvious His mind is not for rent,

to perverse Those who know what’s best for us must rise and save us from ourselves,

to Everybody got to elevate from the norm,

to I’m not giving up on implausible dreams,

to Curves and lines of great designs,

to A spirit with a vision is a dream with the mission,

to Show me don’t tell me,

to I’m young enough to remember the future and the way things ought to be,

to my favourite: Hero is the voice of reason against the howling mob.
???????????
 

JohnnyVibesAZ

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Very cool to see Geeno at the top of Peart's list! I have his duet album with Buddy. Listen to Krupa rolling around the toms. It sounds like one drum changing pitch! Amazing control by the master.

 
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P D Siddall

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No doubt, decades from now there will be doctoral candidates focusing their studies on the lyrics and musicianship of the late great Neil Peart -- much like Talmudic scholars who spend their entire lifetimes unearthing the hidden and direct meanings of a single book.

Then, there's also journalists focused on creating attention-grabbing headlines by piecing fragments of the few interviews Peart participated in amalgamate his thoughts on the drummers who influenced him in to a list of the 16 drummers he mentioned in a positive light.

At this point, I'd like to pause in order to break the hearts of those fervently hoping that the names Lars Ulrich and Tommy Lee would be judged to be among The Professor's Top 16. They were not. The one who divorced his wife via fax is! View attachment 462666

With that said, there's nothing left except to share the actual text from an unfamiliar news outlet named Far Out Magazine:

"Known as ‘The Professor’ of drums, Rush’s sorely departed, and ultimately legendary drummer Neil Peart, was still more than happy to take a lesson or two from his contemporaries. With a career that spanned over four decades, he had more than a few too. Below, we’ve got a complete list of Neil Peart’s favourite drummer of all time, it makes for a truly inspiring list.

It’s hard to put into the context just how vital Neil Peart was to Rush and, by proxy, to the music industry as a whole. A man as able to craft out and meticulously play some of the most complex drum fills the rock world has ever seen, was able to thrash through an entirely improvised set without missing a beat. Speaking to Modern Drummer in 1993, Peart once said, “One thing I have come to learn about influences is that although copying one style can never be original, copying many styles often is original… The best advice for someone who wants to develop an original style is: Don’t copy one drummer, copy twenty! I copied a hundred.”


We can’t bring you all of the hundred drummers and musicians that influenced Neil Peart but we can bring you a selection of his most favourite. When speaking in 2007, Peart said of gathering up influences along the way: “It will be understood, I hope, that the idea of being inspired by other drummers like that isn’t to ‘get ideas.’ It’s more about listening to great players and thinking to yourself, ‘That’s how good I want to be.’ You get fired up to try to raise your game.” Judging by the list, he certainly gathered up all the fire he needed.

Pulled together by Andrew Olson, we’re bringing you not only the perfect list of percussionists but also an educational playlist to get you into researching too. It’s a list jam-packed with incredible talent all of which deserves some extra attention.

“Gene Krupa was the first rock drummer in very many ways. Without Gene Krupa, there wouldn’t have been a Keith Moon,” and, it would seem, no Neil Peart too. Speaking to Zildjian in 2003, Peart went further to describe seeing such a powerhouse drummer. “The first time I remember feeling a desire to play the drums was while watching the movie The Gene Krupa Story, at the age of eleven or twelve,” remembers The Professor.


“I started beating on the furniture and my baby sister’s playpen with a pair of chopsticks, and for my thirteenth birthday,” recalled Peart, “my parents gave me drum lessons, a practice pad, and a pair of sticks. They said they wouldn’t buy me real drums until I showed that I was going to be serious about it for at least a year, and I used to arrange magazines across my bed to make fantasy arrays of drums and cymbals, then beat the covers off them!”

There is also, of course, room on the list for the influential jazz drummer Buddy Rich, who, we would bet, has influenced nearly all of your favourite drummers of all time, “I would often see Buddy Rich play on television, on the ‘Tonight’ show, but I would just shake my head—he seemed too far out of reach. As Gene (Krupa) said about Buddy, ‘There are all the great drummers in the world—and then there’s Buddy.'”

While Gene Krupa can be held accountable for the furious introduction of Keith Moon, The Who drummer can be widely seen as one of Peart’s major influences too, despite not possessing the same maniacal style. “It is certainly true that Keith Moon was one of the first drummers to get me really excited about rock drumming,” Peart told Modern Drummer. “His irreverent and maniacal personality, as expressed through his drumming, affected me greatly.”

For all those pointing out the vast differences in style between the two, it wasn’t something that went unnoticed by Peart himself, saying, “To me, he was the kind of drummer who did great things by accident rather than design. But the energy, expressiveness and innovation that he represented at the time was very important and great. It is ironic that I wanted to be in a band that played Who songs and, when I finally got into one, I discovered that I didn’t like playing drums like Keith Moon.”

Another inclusion from a sixties mainstream act actually came from about six of them, the mercurial talent of Hal Blaine. In 2011, Peart told Gibson, “When I was growing up, I played along to the radio, so I played along to Simon & Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, The Association, and The Byrds, and I was really playing along to Hal Blaine. He played on all of those records and so many more. There was another drummer who said that he was shattered to find out that his six favourite drummers were all Hal Blaine.”

A stand out member of the sixties set was certainly Jimi Hendrix and while he gathered up plaudits for his innovative style, Peart was attracted to his drummer Mitch Mitchell instead. “One Saturday morning during my drum lesson at the Peninsula Conservatory of Music in St. Catharines, Ontario,” Peart told Zildijan. “I remember my teacher playing a record, then telling me, ‘this changes everything.’ It was Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced?, with Mitch Mitchell’s artful and innovative drumming.”

Among the sixties clan, Peart has also picked out Cream’s iconic percussionist Ginger Baker as an unstoppable influence on his career. “His playing was revolutionary,” Peart told Rolling Stone in 2009, “extrovert, primal, and inventive. He set the bar for what rock drumming could be. I certainly emulated Ginger’s approaches to rhythm — his hard, flat, percussive sound was very innovative. Everyone who came after built on that foundation. Every rock drummer since has been influenced in some way by Ginger — even if they don’t know it.”

John Bonham may have begun int he sixties but it was his rollicking performances with Led Zeppelin in the seventies that captured Peart’s attention. He claimed: “When I was starting out, very young, John Bonham and Led Zeppelin were new in those olden days, and John Bonham did always the big triplets with his giant bass drum.” It’s an expected inclusion for any ‘favourite drummer’ list and there are a few more to boot.

As well as Bonham, there are also spots for The Police’s Stewart Copeland, King Crimson’s Bill Bruford, Phill Collins, Freddie Gruber, Carl Palmer and more. It makes for one of the most comprehensive lists of influential drummers you’ll ever come across and now, with the perfect playlist to go with it too.

If it’s true that Neil Peart picked out his style from a range of hundreds then we’d suggest the names below is the first place to begin.

Neil Peart’s favourite drummers:
  • Gene Krupa
  • Buddy Rich
  • Keith Moon
  • Hal Blaine
  • Mitch Mitchell
  • Ginger Baker
  • John Bonham
  • Terry Bozzio
  • Michael Giles
  • Bill Bruford
  • Stewart Copeland
  • Carl Palmer
  • Phil Collins
  • Freddie Gruber
  • Manu Katche
  • Peter Erskine
I remember reading 30 years ago (I actually thought it earlier than 1989) that Neil (RIP) really thought Kevin Wilkinson from China Crisis to be a great drummer - I thought I'd read it in the UK magazine Rhythm but I've seen it attributed to a piece that appeared in Modern Drummer:-

There's an English pop band called China Crisis, and the drummer plays very simple patterns with very few fills, but again, what he plays is so elegant, and right for the music, and you can tell he has confidence. When he plays difficult patterns he plays them with such authority that they just flow by you smoothly. Many drummers try to pull off a more difficult pattern or fill, and it comes off slightly less than smooth. I've been guilty of that myself certainly! The really good drummers make what they're playing sound effortless-not labored. When you have drummers who have spent a lot of time learning, ad a lot of time practicing and playing different styles of music, when they do set themselves to play simply, they have a certain authority and a uniqueness to what they are doing that sets them apart. They're not just playing the only beat they know. And that's what a lot of so-called simple drummers are guilty of. They're playing simply because that's all they know. That's sad in one sense because it's so limiting. They are victims to the "less is more" approach because they don't understand exactly what it means. You have to know what you want to play and what you want to leave out-not just play the only beat you know. A lot of times, less is less. (Modern Drummer, December 1989)
 

pgm554

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You wasted $$ on your education then .
You don't seem to get the notion that no matter how good some musicians are in their own niche,going outside that comfort zone is just not gonna fly.
Itzhak Perlman is a fantastic violin player when playing classical music,saw him try to play jazz one time and it was just awful and awkward.
Why should Peart be the exception?
 

Bob Salvati

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Interesting. There are a few relationships on his list. He studied with Erskine and Gruber, he was the Godfather of Nicky Rich so a family friend of Cathy's & everyone lists Gene out of pure respect for what he did in bringing the drums to the forefront. I do know he loved Moon and that shows in his playing. He loved Stewie, but Stewie has swing & did even as far back as Curved Air. Mitch, Ginger, John, Terry, Bill & Peter were all jazz drummers first. For a guy that names alot of drummers that could swing, not sure Neil ever got the feel for it. I know Neil knew Max Roach & Joe Morello too, but I've never read him speak of Roy, Philly Joe, Elvin, Tony or Jack. I have no idea if he heard those guys or not. What a shame if he didn't.
You know, I think he could owe his great odd time playing to Collins and Bruford.
 

Houndog

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You don't seem to get the notion that no matter how good some musicians are in their own niche,going outside that comfort zone is just not gonna fly.
Itzhak Perlman is a fantastic violin player when playing classical music,saw him try to play jazz one time and it was just awful and awkward.
Why should Peart be the exception?
I owe you an apology, I am sorry for my idiotic comment .
I see your point clearly now .
 

Houndog

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I’m not a blind Peart fan boy , but he was huge for me in many ways . I just get really tired of the he can’t swing talk . That’s all .

I can’t really pull off many Rush tunes correctly . I’m just not that interested in trying either . And for a long time I never really mentioned him as an influence because Dammitt everyone did . And I sure didn’t play like him .
His lyrics and character and thoughtfulness is what really taught me and that never realized until he died .
And I still find myself very sad that he died .
 
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Tornado

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You don't seem to get the notion that no matter how good some musicians are in their own niche,going outside that comfort zone is just not gonna fly.
Itzhak Perlman is a fantastic violin player when playing classical music,saw him try to play jazz one time and it was just awful and awkward.
Why should Peart be the exception?
You are right, but a lot of people use this almost universal truth as a reason to single out Neil. Just because wasn't like Vinnie who can apparently do anything and everything while eating a sushi roll doesn't mean he wasn't great.
 

pgm554

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You are right, but a lot of people use this almost universal truth as a reason to single out Neil. Just because wasn't like Vinnie who can apparently do anything and everything while eating a sushi roll doesn't mean he wasn't great.
Growing up with him and given your fondness for rudimental drumming,you should see him playing Tornado or 2040's Sortie.
I remember ordering the sheet music for 2040 because it was for PMEA Honors band,remember showing it to him and he sight read it on the spot.
WTF?

He was the youngest member of Honors band ever selected by the way.
 
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nk126

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I like the fact that Neil went out of his comfort zone to do Cottontail and go traditional grip in his later years. True, it wasn’t great, but the fact that he did it at all speaks highly of the man.

I’d actually love to hear Bonham do Rush. I think a little swing (a little!) from John might have sounded pretty good and made Rush music less chop driven, made it groove a bit and made them open up to a wider audience, but we’ll never know...
Not saying John Rutsey was in Bonzo's league, but that first Rush album sure sounds like they'd been listening to Zep!
 

nk126

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I remember reading 30 years ago (I actually thought it earlier than 1989) that Neil (RIP) really thought Kevin Wilkinson from China Crisis to be a great drummer - I thought I'd read it in the UK magazine Rhythm but I've seen it attributed to a piece that appeared in Modern Drummer:-

There's an English pop band called China Crisis, and the drummer plays very simple patterns with very few fills, but again, what he plays is so elegant, and right for the music, and you can tell he has confidence. When he plays difficult patterns he plays them with such authority that they just flow by you smoothly. Many drummers try to pull off a more difficult pattern or fill, and it comes off slightly less than smooth. I've been guilty of that myself certainly! The really good drummers make what they're playing sound effortless-not labored. When you have drummers who have spent a lot of time learning, ad a lot of time practicing and playing different styles of music, when they do set themselves to play simply, they have a certain authority and a uniqueness to what they are doing that sets them apart. They're not just playing the only beat they know. And that's what a lot of so-called simple drummers are guilty of. They're playing simply because that's all they know. That's sad in one sense because it's so limiting. They are victims to the "less is more" approach because they don't understand exactly what it means. You have to know what you want to play and what you want to leave out-not just play the only beat you know. A lot of times, less is less. (Modern Drummer, December 1989)
I remember that! Neil also said something similar about Phil Gould of Level 42 - how he really liked his simple, play for the song approach.
 

pgm554

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Who cares if Peart can't swing. Buddy can't rock. RUSH isn't prog jazz, it's prog rock.
The problem was Neil wanted to be Buddy at one point.

He was still taking lessons from Erskin in order to learn how to swing.

My best guess is that there are times when learning a style diminishes as we get older(developmental psychology).

Colaiuta was playing in stage band charts by Kenton and Buddy when he was about 15.

Top that off with playing in combo bands in the area.

You played rock,polkas ,swing and a variety of other styles at every gig.
We used to kid Vince about having a 2/4 feel from playing too many sets of polkas.
 


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