You don’t get a nickname like ‘The Professor’ without knowing your stuff, and Rush percussionist Neil Peart certainly knew his way around an extensively large kit. One of the undoubted icons of the instrument, as well as being regarded as one of the best, what Peart couldn’t do with his sticks in hand wasn’t worth attempting. Below, we’re revisiting one of his memorable moments with the isolated drum track of Rush song ‘Natural Science’.
With a career that spans over four decades and 19 studio albums, Peart’s time with the band was expansive. While he is considered one of the most technically proficient rock drummers, he also flourished when under the spotlight. Below, we not only have the isolated drum track for ‘Natural Science’ but also some rare drum cam footage of Peart performing the song live.
Sadly passing away in 2020, Neil Peart’s precision and power will always be at the forefront of his legacy. Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl led tributes, saying: “An inspiration to millions with an unmistakable sound who spawned generations of musicians (like myself) to pick up two sticks and chase a dream. A kind, thoughtful, brilliant man who ruled our radios and turntables not only with his drumming but also his beautiful words.
“I still vividly remember my first listen of ‘2112′ when I was young. It was the first time I really listened to a drummer. And since that day, music has never been the same. His power, precision, and composition was incomparable. He was called ‘The Professor’ for a reason: we all learned from him.”
Some of what Grohl says can be found in ‘Natural Science’. Of course, the song is written by Peart, extracted from his previous attempts to make an epic song around the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, so it is flecked with the wondrous lyricism he was blessed with. But it is also drenched in Peart’s unique timing, using odd 7/8, 6/8 and 3/4 time signatures which would leave most percussionists baffled.
Peart, however, not only keeps his cool when faced with such a myriad of musical maps but traverse each journey with assertive collectedness. It is a mark of his stature as a professional musician and performer that during such a song he can not only deliver every note but do it with a little swagger in his step.
Below, watch footage of Neil Peart performing the Rush song ‘Natural Science’ alongside the isolated drum mix.