Neil Peart was born in Canada on September 12, 1952 . When he was 18 years of age, he journeyed to England with music on his mind. Once he got there, he quickly became forced to sell trinkets to tourist in order to support himself. However, he did discover a book called The Fountainhead, written by Ayn Rand, while he was there. Rand's writing has influenced Peart's writing throughout his career. The most obvious influence can be heard in the lyrics of 2112.
Quote by Neil taken from Modern Drummer: " I went to England with musical motiviations and goals. But when you go out into the big world, as any adult knows, you're in for a lot of disillusionment. So while I was there I did a lot of other things to get bread into my mouth...When I came back from there, I was disillusioned basically about the music business. I decided I would be a semi-pro musician for my own entertainment, would play music that I liked to play, and wouldn't count on it to make my living. I did other jobs and worked at other things, so I wouldn't have to compromise what I have to do as a drummer."
Quite oddly, Neil Peart was in a band called Hush, before he joined Rush. Neil showed up to the audition for Rush in a beat up car carrying his drums in trash cans. After jamming for a bit, Neil was convinced that the whole audition was terrible, yet Geddy was won over by Neil and the two immediately hit it off. Alex was not so sure and Geddy had to convince him to let Neil into the band.
Quote by Neil taken from Rush Visions: "It was funny because Geddy and I hit it off right away. Conversationally we had a lot in common in terms of books and music...so many bands that we both liked. Alex, for some reason, was in a bad mood that day. So we didn't have much to say to each other. Playing together, we did what eventually became 'Athem'. We jammed around with some of these rhythmic ideas. I thought, 'Oh this is awful'."
Neil has stayed with Rush up to this day. Together they have produced twenty(Studio&Live) albums. After the Counterparts tour, Neil sought out a drum guru named Freddie Grubber and took up lessons with him. The most obivous technique Neil gained from his lessons with Freiddie are his grip. Before, Neil almost always used match grip, now, at least for the songs on Test for Echo, he uses traditional grip. When they came to Polaris, here in Columbus, Ohio for the TFE Tour, I am fairly certain that I saw Neil playing matched grip on some of the older songs. However, he has applied these new found techniques to his drumming, and this new combination can be heard on Rush's newest album, Test For Echo.
To anyone interested in Rush history as whole, check out "Rush Visions:The Offical biography" by Bill Banasiewicz. It is hard to find, but it is a great book. Unfortunately it was published back in 1988. So it is missing 10 years. Hopefully Mr. Banasiewicz would update it soon.