Brian McCollum of the Detroit Free Press reports: RUSH's Neil Peart is a drummer's drummer, a player whose high-end work has made him a legend among fellow musicians. He dominated Modern Drummer magazine's annual best-of polls so comprehensively during the 1980s that the publication eventually took him off the ballot and placed him on a special honor roll.
"He perhaps doesn't loom as large in the overall music world, or even in rock," says senior editor Rick Van Horn. "But within the drumming community, his stature is beyond iconic. No one has had this much impact for so long. He's influenced so many people and remained at the pinnacle of popularity for 30 years."
But even for casual listeners who wouldn't know a paradiddle from a pedal, Peart's skills are easy to discern. Muscular but fluid, geometric but colorful, his drumming can be akin to aural fireworks, and remains the perennial attraction even on such well-worn staples as the hit "Tom Sawyer".
Peart fan Bill Plegue of Chesterfield Township recounts the night in 2004 that his wife attended her first RUSH show.
"She's a classically trained piano player. She sings Broadway songs. Billy Joel is what she would consider rock 'n' roll," says Plegue, 50. "And she walked out of there amazed — 'That guy plays so fast, I can't keep up with the beats in my head. How does someone do that?' Whether you like RUSH or not, the musicianship alone is worth the price of a ticket."
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