Chad Smith Recalls The Life-Changing Moment Of Discovering Neil Peart And Rush


Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith shared an Instagram story featuring a video of him taken last year to celebrate Rush’s late drummer Neil Peart‘s 70th birthday.

Neil Peart, who died on January 7, 2020, after losing his long battle with brain cancer, is regarded among the most technically proficient drummers of all time. The drummer made essential contributions to Rush’s sound during his nearly four-decades-long tenure in the band. Not surprisingly, the late musician has always greatly influenced the younger generation of drummers, including Chad Smith.

Last year, the RHCP drummer joined a conversation with Drum Channel to reflect on Peart’s artistic brilliance and the legacy he left behind. In the roughly 10-minute video, Smith explained that his drumming style started to take shape when he began listening to Led Zeppelin and tried making John Bonham’s moves. Then, his life-changing moment came when he met Rush’s music and Peart’s drumming.

The video surfaced again to honor the legendary drummer on his 70th birthday when Chad Smith shared it in his recent Instagram story. In a conversation with Drum Channel, Smith revealed that he would constantly listen to the band’s classic album, ‘2112,’ and try to play like Neil Peart.

Speaking of Peart, the drummer stated that his drumming style perfectly fit the band’s music. His drum parts were so musical, besides their outstanding technical quality. The late musician’s drumming style was such a significant influence on Smith that it led him to change his drum kit. He bought new equipment similar to Peart’s complex drum set.

Smith said the following about Neil Peart:

“I was trying to do all the Bonham triplets and make it feel like him. And then, I get turned on to Rush, 1976 or 1977, and it just changed my life. Neil’s drumming was… the parts he came up with, and his style just fit the music so well. It was so musical and amazing technically, obviously, but it seemed like those were the drum parts that were supposed to be in those songs.

I learned them all, and I would go down to my basement; I wouldn’t go to school and put the headphones on and listen to ‘2112,’ play along with it and pretend like I was in the band. I changed my whole drum setup. I got three Rototoms and two-three racks, the splash, and cowbells. It was like a real poor man’s version of Neil’s kit at that time.”

It has been two years since Neil Peart passed away, but he is still in the minds of his former bandmates, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. In a recent Instagram post, Geddy Lee commemorated his late friend by saying that he and Lifeson were reminded of Peart’s passing during the Taylor Hawkins tribute show.