Neil Peart

Neil Ellwood Peart, OC, is a Canadian musician and author. He is the drummer and lyricist for the rock band Rush. Peart has received numerous awards for his musical performances, and is known for his technical proficiency and stamina.
Peart grew up in Port Dalhousie, Ontario. During adolescence, he floated between regional bands in pursuit of a career as a full-time drummer. After a discouraging stint in England to concentrate on his music, Peart returned home, where he joined a local Toronto band, Rush, in the summer of 1974.
Early in his career, Peart's performance style was deeply rooted in hard rock. He drew most of his inspiration from drummers such as Keith Moon and John Bonham, players who were at the forefront of the British hard rock scene. As time passed, he began to emulate jazz and big band musicians Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. In 1994, Peart became a friend and pupil of jazz instructor Freddie Gruber. It was during this time that Peart decided to revamp his playing style by incorporating jazz and swing components. Gruber was also responsible for introducing him to the products of Drum Workshop, the company whose products Peart currently endorses.
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Within a ten-month period, Neil Peart suffered family losses so devastating that they left him a ghost — physically a man but with nothing inside: no hope, meaning, faith, or desire to keep living. One year after the first tragedy, Neil was choosing between life and his own death. Finally, all he could decide was motion. He got on his BMW R1100GS motorcycle, and over the next 14 months, rode 55,000 miles, in search of a reason to live. On a journey of escape, exile, and exploration, he traveled from Quebec to Alaska, down the Canadian and American coasts and western regions, to Mexico and Belize, and finally back to Quebec. While riding "the Healing Road," Neil recorded in his journals his progress and setbacks in the grieving/healing process, and the pain of constantly reliving his losses. He also recorded with dazzling, colourful, entertaining, and moving artistry, the enormous range of his travel adventures, from the mountains to the sea, from the deserts to Arctic ice, and the dozens of memorable people, characters, friends, and relatives he met along the way, and who increasingly contributed to his healing and sense of meaning and purpose. He begins the journey with nothing, "the Ghost Rider."

What he finally attains is joy, love, and indelible memories of the most extraordinary journey of his life. Ghost Rider is a bold, brilliantly written, intense, exciting, and ultimately triumphant narrative memoir from a gifted writer and musician, who started out as a man reduced to trying to stay alive by staying on the move.

For thirty years, drummer, author, and songwriter Neil Peart had wanted to write a book about “the biggest journey of all in my restless existence: the life of a touring musician.” Finally, the right time, and the right tour . . .

In the summer of 2004, after three decades, twenty gold albums, and thousands of performances spanning four continents, the band Rush embarked on a celebratory 30th Anniversary World Tour. The “R30” tour traveled to nine countries, where the band performed fifty-seven shows in front of more than half a million fans. Uniquely, Peart chose to do his between-show traveling by motorcycle, riding 21,000 miles of back roads and highways in North America and Europe — from Appalachian hamlets and Western deserts to Scottish castles and Alpine passes.

Roadshow illuminates the daunting rigors of a major international concert tour, as well as Peart’s exploration of the scenic byways and country towns along the way. His evocative and entertaining prose carries the reader through every performance and every journey, sharing the bittersweet reflections triggered by the endlessly unfolding landscape. Observations and reflections range from the poignantly, achingly personal to the wickedly irreverent. 

Part behind-the-scenes memoir, part existential travelogue, Roadshow winds through nineteen countries on both sides of the Atlantic, in search of the perfect show, the perfect meal, the perfect road, and an elusive inner satisfaction that comes only with the recognition that the journey itself is the ultimate destination.

The inner workings of the tour, the people Peart works with and the people he meets, the roads and stages and ever-changing scenery  — all flow into an irresistible story.

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