Rush’s Neil Peart: Keep playing because miracles do happen

Neil Peart
Neil Peart (Image credit: Getty)

Neil Peart says while it’s difficult for musicians to make a living from playing, he urges up-and-coming artists to stick with it as “miracles do happen.”

The Rush drummer’s comments are featured in Pete Vassilopoulos’ upcoming book Recording Drummers (via Drum Magazine) in which Peart reflects on his career behind the kit – from his early days recording demos for J.R. Flood in Toronto, to selling out stadiums across the world with his Rush bandmates Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson.

Peart says: “Times are tough for musicians starting out – but they clearly were for me in southern Ontario in the 1970s, too. Miracles do happen. Maybe you will be one.

“In any case, whether or not your music supports you, it can still nurture you. It is not given to every aspiring musician to make a living at it, never mind fame and fortune, but it can still be a rewarding lifetime pursuit.

“I know several ‘non-professional’ drummers who find joy in playing the instrument, sometimes with friends, and gradually getting better at it.”

Peart advises aspiring musicians to “practice, practice, practice” and urges them to play live as often as possible, and adds: “Nothing teaches you more about where the nexus lays between what makes you excited, as a player, and what excites an audience.

“If the ideal is to play music you like, and have other people like it too, then the definition of luck fits perfectly – where preparation meets opportunity.”

He continues: “You really cannot play too much, on your own, with a band, and onstage. As Picasso said, ‘Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.’

“The more you are practicing your chosen art, the more likely you are to stumble upon inspiration in that work. It’s probably safe to say that more inspiration is stumbled upon than delivered from on high.

“One related bit of wisdom I have acquired, in music and in life, ‘Magic happens – but it often requires some planning.’ Determination, too.”

Last week, bassist and vocalist Lee said he’d “accepted” that Rush touring days are over, following their R40 US trip earlier this year.

Guitarist Lifeson said that was “okay” as they consider what to do after drummer Neil Peart accepted a description of himself as “retired”.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.