41 Years Ago: Neil Peart Joins Rush

41 Years Ago: Neil Peart Joins Rush

41-years-ago Neil Peart officially joined Rush.

In the early summer of 1974, a 21-year-old Peart showed up at a tryout driving his mom’s Ford Pinto with drums in garbage cans.

”I remember thinking, ‘God, he’s not nearly cool enough to be in this band,’” says guitarist Alex Lifeson said in Beyond the Lighted Stage.“And then he started playing, and he pounded the crap out of those drums. He played like Keith Moon and John Bonham at the same time.”

Peart’s percussion skills won the band over and he officially joined the band on July 29. Peart was then given two weeks to learn the band’s entire song list before kicking off on an American tour. Rush made their American debut – along with Peart’s Rush debut – on August 11 at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena opening for Manfred Mann and Uriah Heep.

“Among the many memories of that life-changing experience, I would never forget standing on the floor beside stage left while Uriah Heep played ‘Stealin’,” Peart said in his 2006 book Roadshow: Landscape with Drums: A Concert Tour by Motorcycle. “The big dark building, colored lights on the heroic figures up on the stage, the roaring audience, the sheer electricity in that place. Halfway through their show, the retractable dome of the Civic Arena had peeled back, open to the summer night.”

Since then Peart has repeatedly proved himself to be one of the best-known dummers in rock, contributing not only with percussion, but with lyrical genius with his 1975 studio debut on Fly by Night.


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