MKE Week 14: One Word Said Everything

Canada’s most successful musical export is the progressive rock power trio RUSH, my all-time favorite band. Since 1974 RUSH created fantastic music, a total of 20 studio albums, numerous live albums and videos, and performed over 5,000 concerts until their (sniff, sniff) retirement in 2015.

Rush has released 24 gold records and 14 platinum records (including 3 multi-platinum), placing them third behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band.

For Forty Three (43) years (I’m 62) I have enjoyed these three good-natured, down to earth, and hard working Virtuoso musician’s talents. That’s over 69% of my existence!

What is Super Impressive to me is that all those decades, RUSH’s live concerts were consistently damn near perfect. I should know, I have attended close to 100 RUSH performances starting with their first U.S. tour in 1974.

RUSH songs have complicated arrangements and intricate time signatures, which are extremely difficult to accurately perform. Dedication, hard work and raw talent had to be the band’s recipe for success.

Well, there is one more ingredient, one that came to mind recently during my MKE sit (daily 15 minute motionless, quiet reflection after reading a weekly Master Key Experience lesson).

Prior to RUSH’s release of their third LP “Caress of Steel”, I attend a June 1975 show at Santa Monica’s Starwood Club.

While hanging in the dressing room (see pic) with the trio I walked with drummer/lyricist Neil Peart to get a drink at the club’s upstairs bar. We paused and looked down the stage stairs to view the opening act “The Hollywood Stars”. They had Two drummers (huh?) and I commented, “Neil, you have more talent in your left pinky toe than those two guys combined”. A little embarrassed, he simply replied “Thank you”.

On the way back to the dressing room I asked my drum hero a question:

“Neil, how come you’re so good?”

His answer is one that every person desiring greatness being should pay attention to. This super human, mega talented drummer, future winner of umpteen drum awards was giving me his tip for awesomeness.

Neil, later to be nicknamed “The Professor” by his band mates, is a voracious reader with an extensive vocabulary. He wrote almost all the lyrics over his 41 year RUSH career. His interviews are very articulate and thought provoking.

Why was he so very great at his craft? What would help propel him to super stardom and millionaire status? What was the magic potion to this future rock god’s success?

A deep thinker, what would Neil Peart “The Professor” say was his source of extreme talent at then, the age of 23?

Neil’s highly intellectual, insightful and valuable answer: “Practice”

That’s it? A simple, one word response “Practice”? That is what it takes to be super great at something, Practice?

I guess it’s true. My parent’s, coaches, teachers were right. My hero said so too.

Practice, perfect practice makes perfect.

To get great at something… Practice!

Perhaps later, I’ll share some insight to my music hero’s art of “practice” in future blogs.

Keep On Keeping On! Oh…and keep practicing.


Me & RUSH #2

RUSH at The Starwood Club Santa Monica, CA June 1975                                                       (left to right: Neil Peart, yours truly, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson)

FYI…Below is a list of some of the awards Neil Peart has received over his stellar career.

Modern Drummer Magazine Awards:

Best Recorded Performance (with band RUSH):

1981: Moving Pictures
1982: Exit… Stage Left (Live)

1983: Signals

1985: Grace Under Pressure

1986: Power Windows

1988: Hold Your Fire

1989: A Show of Hands (Live)

1990: Presto

1992: Roll The Bones

1993: Counterparts

1997: Test for Echo

1999: Different Stages (Live)

2005: R30 (Live)

2007: Snakes & Arrows

2015: Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)

Drumming Categories:

  • Educational Book: 2014 – Taking Center Stage by Joe Bergamini and Neil Peart
  • MVP: 2013
  • Best Progress Rock Drummer: 2013, 2012, 2011
  • Best Educational Video
    • Taking Center Stage: 2012
    • Anatomy of a Drum Solo: 2005
  • Modern Drummer Hall of Fame: 1983
  • Best Rock Drummer: 1980,1981,1982,1983,1984,1985, 2005, 2007 (see Honor Roll below)
  • Best Multi-Percussionist: 1983,1984,1985,1986
  • Best Percussion Instrumentalist: 1982
  • Most Promising New Drummer: 1980
  • Best All Around: 1986

1986 Honor Roll: Rock Drummer, Multi-Percussion

Awards from DRUM! Magazine:

  • Drummer of the Year 2016, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007
  • Best Live Drumming Performer 2011, 2008, 2007
  • Best Progressive Rock Drummer 2009, 2007
  • Best Live Performer (Runner-Up) 2010
  • Best Progressive Rock Drummer (Runner-Up) 2010, 2008
  • Best Mainstream Pop Drummer (Runner-Up) 2008
  • Best DVD (Anatomy Of A Drum Solo) 2007
  • Best Drumming Album (Snakes & Arrows) 2007

Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame Inductee

RUSH Class of 2013


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