'This Drummer Is At the Wrong Gig' Guy Talks Rush's Neil Peart
What do you think of the way Neil uses electronic drums in his arsenal?
One thing that I've always really respected about Neil -- Neil has always been very big on reproducing the sound live. In other words, you'll go see some band, they'll use loops or backing tapes and play along with that. Some drummers use electronic triggers to get their bass drums to sound exactly the same whether it's a big room or small room. It's a very controversial thing. Some people use the term "cheating" because a lot of the extreme metal guys will trigger their bass drums because the sound is very articulate and clear and a little easier to keep consistent. And people go, "Oh, well, if he didn't have the triggers he wouldn't sound as good." But Neil, he has a lot of pads and a lot of triggers around his set, but when he's playing the show he's hitting all of those pads live and he's not trying to pull a fast one or anything like that. It's just to accentuate what he does -- everyone knows he's able to play just about anything without the help of electronics, that's why he's such a legend. And to incorporate that [with acoustic drums] the way Neil does, it's certainly an art. Because otherwise it's like dropping a brick on a cushiony pillow.
So ultimately, can you imagine him scaling back his kit, maybe simplifying things a bit?
I'm sure he'll always keep learning and experimenting with his instrument -- the drums and hardware he uses and how much of it he uses. That's what the great masters like Neil always do, and that's why he's thought of as one of the greatest drummers in history. I don't know how much he wants to change. Some people look at [their drums] as tools, but a lot of people look at it as an extension of themselves. They look at their snare drum no different than they would look at their left leg. "That's my snare drum, that's my sound, I know exactly what that drum will do and I know what I can do when all my drums are set up like this." And when they hit them it feels the same as hitting their foot or their leg. Not to sound geeky, but it's truly an extension of themselves. That's how in touch they are with the energy of that instrument. It's hard to say whether deep down Neil ever wants to scale it back. Look, there's days you don't want a steak dinner and you don't want the appetizer and the baked potato and the nice dessert -- you just wanna go grab a corn dog. And there's nothin' wrong with a corn dog!
Rush plays American Airlines Center on Wednesday, November 28.