Neil Peart On Music Radar
I recently read a very good interview with Neil Peart on musicradar.com. They caught him in New York preparing for his appearance on Late Night with David Letterman show. He was to finish off "Drum Solo Week" on the show and he had some problems to solve. Not the least of which was how to pare down a nearly nine minute drum solo to four minutes or less. Obviously, he had to do some editing in his self-described "tiny poo brain"(hahaha).
The article is fairly long and has some very good youtube videos accompanying it. He talks extensively about how he goes about building his drum solos and how he has become a much more improvisational player than he used to be. I remember myself it used to be if you saw his solo in one city it would be nearly identical wherever you saw it.
That's because he painstakingly constructed it and drew enormous comfort from knowing what to expect when he was to perform it. Much like a symphonic player would be. Not to say it was identical but it was for the most part so. I for one am glad he is getting into more improvisation stuff because I've always felt he was an incredibly gifted and creative player. It made me sad sometimes to hear nearly the same performance of a live song years later.
A New Take
Now, he seems to really enjoy the process of not knowing exactly what to expect when he sits down for a live performance. I mean, obviously somebody with such a huge repertoire to choose from has to have some safety and can't spend 2 1/2 hours making stuff up. But making small variations here and there can keep it fresh for himself and his audience.
Check Out Anatomy of a Drum Solo
So, go read the entire article and get a much better look inside what makes Neil Peart tick. The video from "Anatomy of a Drum Solo" helps you to understand exactly how much effort he puts into making his drum solos memorable. Don't shrug off the Joe Morello video either. He didn't have an effect on Neil by accident. Listen to what he does with and without sticks. Quite masterful!
Here's a Hudson Music trailer from the program.
Check out "Anatomy of a Drum Solo" on Amazon
(Click the graphic to be taken to Amazon)