Rush drummer Neil Peart solos on Late Night With David Letterman tonight
Who’s the greatest rock drummer in the world? Well, ever since September 7, 1978, when the Who’s Keith Moon departed this mortal coil, I’d say it was Neil Peart. And the folks at Late Night With David Letterman would tend to agree, as they’ve chosen the Rush member to perform tonight on the finale of the show’s “Drum Solo Week”.
Peart follows fellow drummers Anton Fig, Sheila E, and Roy Haynes, who've already played their solos on the program. As he explained to musicradar.com recently, the 58-year-old skinbasher's biggest challenge was making the solo fit the allotted TV time.
“My regular live drumo solo is about eight-and-a-half minutes,” he said, “so I decided I’d have to do a mental edit, accelerate the changes and minimize the improvisational parts and so on. At the rehearsal, during my first attempt, I had it down to about four minutes and 50 seconds, and the producers were giving me these worrisome looks.”
Peart eventually pared the solo down to just over four minutes, as fans will see tonight. And those who don’t feel like sitting through Letterman—I’m a Conan man, myself—can always wait and see the real thing in the flesh when Rush plays Rogers Arena three weeks from today. It will be the band’s first appearance in Vancouver since its wicked show at the same venue in May of 2008, when it was performing on the Snakes & Arrows tour.
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