Neil Peart ― Discography: Solo and with other musicians

On this page, you'll find projects Neil Peart has played on as a solo artist or with other musicians.

With Jack Secret (unreleased)

White Flag (co-writer: lyrics) circa 1980s

Tough Break (drums; co-writer: lyrics) circa 1980s

Rush recorded this song with Jack Secret (an alias for Tony Geranios, a longtime Rush crew member) and Skip Gildersleeve (another Rush crew member). Here's more information about this song:

Neil Peart-Drums
Jack Secret-Voice, Bass
Alex Lifeson-Guitar
Skip Gildersleeve-Guitar
Geddy Lee-Keys, Backing Voice

In September, at Le Studio, Quebec, Peart jammed with the road crew on a song, and was joined by Lee and Lifeson. The song was recorded later by Rush and temporarily titled "Tough Break." From the Signals Tourbook:

"We were getting a little bored with inactivity. During the mixing of "Exit... Stage Left" there was really not much for us to do except say "it sounds good" or "it doesn't sound good."

"I had been working down in the little studio, cleaning and renovating an old set of Hayman drums that were kicking around, and had started working on a "Jack Secret" song with Jack and Skip from the crew. Geddy and Alex soon joined in on keyboards and rhythm guitar, and we later recorded the song ("Tough Break") up in the studio."

It's a musical snapshot of the band between "Moving Pictures" and "Signals," and you can definitely hear the keyboard ideas of "Subdivisions" and "Countdown" starting to form.

Also, you can hear how Neil's drumming changes a song that could be very ordinary. For example, listen to the hi-hat work in the second verse, as well as the snare placement.


Max Webster - Universal Juveniles, 1980

Neil, Alex, and Geddy played with Max Webster on the song Battlescar.

Max Webster often opened for Rush in the 1980s, and Max Webster's lyricist Pye Dubois co-wrote lyrics for several Rush songs, including Tom Sawyer, Force 10, Test for Echo, and Between Sun and Moon.

In the Moving Pictures Tourbook, Neil wrote: "Toronto, July 28, 1980. An intense thunderstorm raged outside all day long, while indoors a storm of a different kind was brewing. In the studios of Phase One, two complete sets of equipment crammed the room, and two complete bands filled the air with a Wagnerian tumult, as Max Webster and ourselves united to record a song for their album, called Battlescar."

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Jeff Berlin - Champion, 1985

Neil plays on the song Champion (of the World) and with Steve Smith on Mirabi. Note that Steve does most of the drumming on Mirabi.

Champion (of the World) shows off Neil's Rush chops, with some interesting side stick and bass drum syncopation at the beginning.

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Pieces of Eight - Modern Drummer Soundsheet, 1987

Pieces of Eight was a solo project for Neil to show off his new Ludwig drums (see "The Quest for New Drums") and was a sound supplement included in the May 1987 Modern Drummer.

This song showcases Neil's compositional abilities, with him playing his malletKAT and other assorted percussion. The result is dynamic and interesting, with echoes of Natural Science in the verses.

During the Hold Your Fire tour, Neil would add the "verse" section of Pieces of Eight to his drum solo as call and response between the malletKAT and his acoustic drums. On the Vapor Trails tour, he added the chorus section of Pieces of Eight.

In the May 1987 Modern Drummer article, "The Quest for New Drums" Neil wrote:

"Like many percussionists, I had long harbored a secret wish to create a piece of music using only percussion instruments, and this looked like the key to that dream! I practiced with the KAT for a few days and then, when I had a free day, recorded a "demo" of a marimba piece I had been working on over the summer.

...The piece is entitled "Pieces Of Eight" because of all the different time signatures it ended up meandering through. I hadn't thought about that too much just playing the marimba, until I had to learn it on drums! With only a day to record it all, I didn't really have time to play it more than a couple of times through, so that, too, was a good challenge.

I find it interesting as a drummer to work with a melodic instrument and think melody as well as rhythm. You can really get into some wild areas! In a way, I wish I hadn't been so obsessed with drums alone in the beginning and had acquired more knowledge of music theory. But I suppose in this day and age you do have to specialize!"

Credits:

Recorded and mixed at Elora Sound Studios Engineered by Jon Erickson

Technical Assistance by Jim Burgess, Larry Allen, and Tony Geranios

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Rheostatics - Whale Music - 1992

"Guns" (co-drummer), "Rain Rain Rain" (percussion) and "Palomar" (percussion)

"... the Rheostatics recorded with Rush's Neil Peart in 1992. He came down to Reaction Studios while we were making Whale Music and set up a little yellow jazz kit in the corner. The Barenaked Ladies were there, too; they'd laid in their background vocal to "California Dreamline" earlier in the day and together we watched Neil warm up, a chimeric figure in his beaded African hat under the low studio lights. Head lowered, torso centered, feet kicking, his hands glancing over the drums, Neil played all afternoon. His touch was soft when it had to be, but propulsive, too, like a distance runner tugging the flow of blood to his heart. It's one thing to see your hero perform from a distant seat in Maple Leaf Gardens, but it's something else to feel close to his work, as I did that day. At one time in my life, I'd dreamed of what it would be like to simply attend a Rush concert, and there I was at the studio, not 20 feet from where he was crafting a part for a song that would appear on our album.....As Neil commanded his kit, he painted my adolescence before me, evoking everything about it." - Dave Bidini, The Rheostatics (Toronto Star, Jan. 6, 2002)"

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"Momo's Dance Party" from A Work in Progress

Buy at Amazon.com

Like Pieces of Eight, Momo's Dance Party is solo piece. Once again, the melodic instrument that he uses is the malletKAT. It was never formally released, except as the soundtrack over the credits of the DVD "A Work in Progress." You can listen to it at Neil Peart's MySpace page. The influences are African, as was the inspiration for the song. Neil writes of this song in Traveling Music: The Soundtrack to My Life and Times:

"One hot night in a village in Togo called Assohoum, in November 1989, I laid out my sleeping bag on an adobe rooftop and lay looking up at the bright stars in the perfect silence of an African night ― no traffic, no television, no radio, just scattered conversations of distant dogs. As I was dozing off, a drum rhythm echoed from across the valley, two hand-drummers playing an interlocking pattern, and it stuck in my head, only to emerge later as the basis for a rhythm I used in a Rush song called "Heresy."... Later, the same rhythm became the foundation of a solo piece I created in the early 90s to serve as a backing track while I practiced my marimba playing, called "Momo's Dance Party." A version of that little etude appears at the end of my instructional video, A Work in Progress.

Momo's Dance Party" was also inspired by a real-life experience on that same African journey, a trip with guide David Mozer and his Bicycle Africa tour group through Togo and Ghana, which ended with me cycling on alone to meet my family in the Ivory Coast, at (of all places) a Club Med. ... David had visited Agbo Kope once before, when he reconnoitered this tour, and had met Momo, and ambitious young man who had received some education away from the village. Momo seemed to be the only villager who spoke the colonial language of French, and he seemed to be trying to put his village on the tourist map.

...The woman of the village cooked nearby on clay firepits, preparing us the usual dinner of rice and "mystery meat" stew (which I had dubbed in Cameroon as "rice with junk on it"), and in the evening, the entire village gathered to put on a show for us... The grand finale was the village choir, the rich voices of the men and women, harmonizing beautifully, accompanied only by one man playing a shaker, and another playing a metal disc with a stick. This syncopated pattern hypnotized me at the time, and remains in my memory as one of the most music performances I have ever heard. Even fourteen years later, I can still conjure the aural image of those blended voices and that simple percussion accompaniment."

Since Neil wrote this song, he's performed the melody in his drum solo.

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Burning for Buddy - Volume I - 1994

Songs: "Cotton Tail" (drums) and Pick Up the Pieces (percussion)

In 1992, Neil participated in the Buddy Rich Scholarship concert, a move that astonished most in the drumming community. Neil is first and foremost a rock drummer, but with the Buddy Rich Band he was stretching into Jazz and doing pretty well. After that experience, Neil was inspired to play more music with a big band.

In an interview in the February 1995 Modern Drummer with William F. Miller (WFM below), Neil (NP) explained how the project came about:

"NP: ...It came around full circle for me, when, in 1991,
Buddy's daughter, Cathy, asked me to perform with the big
band for the scholarship show. While I was very intimidated by it sounded like an enormous challenge and an opportunity to actually play some of this music I loved. I went into that experience for that reason, basically as a good way to challenge myself. I hate when things get too safe.

WFM: But what led you from that point to getting so involved in a much larger project like Burning?

NP: Actually, to be perfectly honest, all I wanted was a very selfish thing—the chance to play big band music again! In my darkest little mean heart of hearts all I wanted was to feel the excitement of kicking a big band. I wished somebody would make a record so I could have the opportunity to play with Buddy's band again under more controlled circumstances than a live concert, and I guess I realized I was the one to do it! That truly was the germ of the whole thing."

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Burning for Buddy - Volume II - 1997

Song: "One O'clock Jump" (drums)

"Burning for Buddy - Volume II" was released after the first volume sold reasonably well. In all, thirty-nine songs were recorded for the Burning for Buddy sessions. Seventeen were released with Volume One and 13 were released with Volume II. (If you do the math, this means there are still nine unreleased songs from the Burning for Buddy sessions.)

One thing to note on this CD is that Neil actually went back in to the studio with Buddy's band after the original sessions and recorded One O'clock Jump. One reason for this was that Neil had studied with Freddie Gruber for over a year and wanted to mark his progress with a Jazz recording.   

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Burning the Days - Vertical Horizon: 2009

Neil wrote about his work on this album in this News, Weather, and Sports update from 2006. He collaborated on the lyrics for one song and played drums on three songs.

Go to the Vertical Horizon website for more information

The tracks include:

  1. "All Is Said and Done"
  2. "The Lucky One"
  3. "The Middle Ground"
  4. "I Believe in You"
  5. "Save Me From Myself" drums by Neil Peart
  6. "Carrying On"
  7. "Back to You"
  8. "Can You Help Me"
  9. "Afterglow"
  10. "Here"
  11. "Welcome to the Bottom" drums by Neil Peart
  12. "Even Now" Lyrics and drums by Neil Peart, Music by Matt Scannell


The Hockey Theme - 2010

You can listen to "The Hockey Theme" at Neil Peart's MySpace page. There are two versions available:

Also available: "The Hockey Song" (Classic)

At the end of 2009, Neil Peart recorded a new version of The Hockey Theme for TSN networks. For the recording and song, Drum Workshop built Neil a new hockey-themed drum kit. According to the DW drums article:

The set is airbrushed in Lacquer Graphics with NHL logos and ultra-custom Ice Blue hardware. DW Custom shop Artist, Louie Garcia comments, Neil told me he wanted to begin a new masterpiece with this kit. He really wanted it to represent the game of hockey, incorporating center ice and the face-off circles. And for the look of ice, we with went with a pearlescent color called Blue Frost. It really is a unique kit"

A new DVD was released in October, 2010, "Fire on Ice: The Making of 'The Hockey Theme'" (subscription required).