Neil Peart: ‘Oh, Great. Time to Practice.’

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Photo courtesy TheFamousPeople.com

SKF NOTE: This is from the transcript of one of my Neil Peart interviews. The back story is here. In answer to a question, Neil described his typical day when not touring with Rush. His typical day showed a man with many interests, so I asked Neil if he always had a variety of interests.

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Neil Peart: My interests became like an hour glass. As a kid my interests were wide. As a teenager my single focus was drums. A few years later my interests spread out the other way. I became interested in reading, for instance. I never read as a teenager. Just drums, drums, drums.

Scott K Fish: Were you a lousy student in school?

NP: After drums, yeah. Before, I was a great student. I was a voracious reader as a young kid. Then drums just took over when I was 13. I was well into my 20s before my life opened up with other interests.

SKF: Were those years, 13 into your 20s, years of heavy drum practice?

NP: Oh yeah. Mentally and physically.

At school I played on the desk. I got home from school and went on to the drums. I’d be thinking about drum beats lying in bed.

It wasn’t discipline, because I was so willing. It was more like an addiction. I think discipline is temperamental. I have the kind of discipline that brings the will that make you want to do it. There’s a difference. You’re not saying you should practice your drums. You’re saying, “Oh, great. Time to practice.”

It was a real desire. I don’t remember ever feeling forced to practice.

My parents were great. They started me at it so they had to put up with it. I could usually play for two or three hours a day between school and supper — and longer on weekends.

The neighbors were really understanding too. We lived where the houses were close together.

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