[This was my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca. -AC]
An old drummer joke has been circulating all week:
Q: How many drummers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Five. One to do it and four to talk about how much better Neil Peart would have done it.
There’s so much truth in that. Peart’s skills were among the best — maybe the best — the drumming world has ever seen.
I discovered Rush as a nerdy high schooler. When me and some buddies sat down one lunch hour to discuss forming a band, I went first, renouncing my time with the accordion and demanding to be the drummer. I took lessons, eventually acquired a stupidly large kit, and became a drum teacher during my university years. And the guy I tried to emulate the most? Neil Peart. It was always Neil.
I and millions like me studied his style, envied his precision, and marvelled at his coordination. How did he do all that?
But if you’re not a drummer or a musician of any kind, you may not understand why people made such a big deal about his abilities. Let me try to break things down for you.