Neil Ellwood Peart, OC (/ˈpɪərt/; born September 12, 1952), is a Canadian-American musician and author, best known as the drummer and primary lyricist for the rock band Rush. Peart has received numerous awards for his musical performances, including an induction into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1983, making him the youngest person ever so honored. He is known for his technical proficiency and stamina. Peart grew up in Port Dalhousie, Ontario (now part of St. Catharines). 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.
In addition to being a musician, Peart has published several memoirs about his travels. Peart is also Rush's primary lyricist. In writing lyrics for Rush, Peart addresses universal themes and diverse subject matter including science fiction, fantasy, and philosophy, as well as secular, humanitarian and libertarian themes. All five of his books are travel-based non-fiction, though they diverge into his life and these subjects as well. Peart currently resides in Santa Monica, California, with his wife, photographer Carrie Nuttall, and daughter, Olivia Louise. He also has a home in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec, Canada, and spends time in Toronto for recording purposes. On December 7, 2015, Peart announced his retirement from music in an interview with Drumhead Magazine, though bandmate Geddy Lee insisted Peart was quoted out of context, and suggested Peart was "simply taking a break".
Peart is noted for his distinctive in-concert drum solos, characterized by exotic percussion instruments and long, intricate passages in odd time signatures. His complex arrangements sometimes result in complete separation of upper- and lower-limb patterns; an ostinato dubbed "The Waltz" is a typical example. His solos have been featured on every live album released by the band. On the early live albums (All the World's a Stage and Exit...Stage Left), the drum solo was included as part of a song. On all subsequent live albums through Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland, the drum solo has been included as a separate track. The Clockwork Angels Tour album includes three short solos instead of a single long one: two interludes played during other songs and one standalone. Similarly, the R40 Live album includes two short solos performed as interludes.