On the 10th of January, it was announced that Neil was passed, and I couldn’t believe it. I just still can’t believe that the title of this article is related to Neil and is in the past tense.
Rush has sold more than 40 million records worldwide. If you ask people what are the most popular or the bestselling bands no one will say to you that Rush is one of them. That will give you an idea that Rush fans are few, but the ones that are fans are truly committed and willing to spend money on Rush’s music.
I think that Neil was great, and he was an influence on an uncountable number of other musicians because of three main things:
He was a songwriter: the most likely thing to happen is that the frontman of a band is the one who writes the lyrics. The drummer is the one sitting behind that keeps the beat of the music, you know… Not for Neil, he was not just one of the responsibility for writing the songs, but he also added the words to them. The curiosity on Neil in books and novels gave to the music of the Canadian band a pretty interesting and dark side.
He was noble: there are not so many interviews of Neil out there, but in the few ones that you can find you could tell with Neil answers that he was a guy with his feet on the ground. He was aware of his legacy, but he knew that he could always be better. Being noble makes you better because you practice your technique in order to always be better.
His technique: people look at drums as an accompanying instrument, and that is the truth. Nevertheless, you could stare at Neil playing a drum solo for over 10 minutes and never feel like you needed something else. He created that because of his technique, he was not repetitive but created an ambient where he involved the audience like no other drummer could. He had electric pads on his drum kit that gave him a bunch of sounds to experiment with (video of the pad)