Neil Peart, born Neil Ellwood Peart on September 12, 1952, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, is a Canadian-American drummer and author, best known for his drumming, lyrics, and in-concert drum solos with the iconic rock band, RUSH.
Neil first became interested in the drums at a young age — by the time he was thirteen he received a pair of drumsticks, a practice drum and a series of drum lessons. One year later, for his 14th birthday, his parents bought him his first drum kit and he began taking drum lessons from Don George at the Peninsula Conservatory of Music. That same year Neil had his first experience performing on stage at the school’s Christmas pageant in St. Johns Anglican Church Hall in Port Dalhousie. His second appearance performing in front of an audience was with his first group, The Eternal Triangle, at Lakeport High School, where the group performed an original tune titled “LSD Forever” and Neil performed his first drum solo.
Peart traveled to London, England at the age of eighteen after struggling to achieve much success as a drummer in Canada and hoping to further his career as a professional musician. After eighteen months of playing in a number of bands and doing some occasional session work, Neil felt that his music endeavors and progress had reached an impasse — he put his desires of becoming a professional musician on hold and moved back to Canada.
Upon his return to North America, Peart played drums on the South Ontario bar circuit with a St. Catharines-based band known as (ironically) Hush. He later got an audition with a Toronto-based band, Rush, which needed a replacement for its original drummer, John Rutsey. Peart officially joined the band on July 29, 1974… just two weeks before Rush’s first US tour.
Besides his credits on numerous RUSH albums as a drummer and lyricist, Peart is also the author of five non-fiction books, the most recent being released in September 2012.