Saturday, June 9, 2007

Neil Peart - Book Review

In the summer of 2006 I was in the local Barnes & Noble looking for a new book to read. I had looked through the Andy Summer book One Train Later which looked interesting. However, right next to it was Neil Pearts' Roadshow: Landscape and Drums A Concert Tour by Motorcyle. I decided to go with the Neil Peart book.

I think that my decision was based on my fascination with the whole idea of music/entertainment touring. I usually like reading the tour blogs that you often see on websites. My feeling was that this would be better since it would have some editing which would make it a better read.

The premise of the book is that Mr. Peart and a friend (acting as body guard, personal assistant and guide) would ride BMW motorcycles between each show on the Rush R30 tour. The tour would cover most of North America and would end in Europe. Mr. Peart would have the support of a tour bus that would be towing a trailer.

The book is a great summer read. Mr. Peart's writing is a lot like his drumming which is one of the things that make it interesting. It is obvious that he has a lot of interests and is trying to make his life as interesting as possible. While Mr. Peart's bandmates get a mention here and there the book concentrates on the rides between shows (Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee have a chartered jet that they travel on).

The book is detailed and interesting. Mr. Peart is also opinionated and at times grumpy. I think both of these points give the book its charm. In the end I had the urge to invest in BMW road bike. However, that feeling has long sinced passed.

While I have never been a huge Rush fan I have come to appreciate their music. After reading this book I started to investigate the music of Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. I even discovered Anita O'day which was kind of interesting since she passed away a couple of weeks after I downloaded her music.

I also bought the Rush R30 DVD and downloaded the soundtrack from iTunes.

Since I enjoyed the Roadshow book I decided to read another book by Neil Peart called Ghost Rider Travels on the Healing Road. This book is similar in that it revolves around a motorcycle trip. However, the premise of the trip is much different.

Mr. Peart lost both his daughter and wife within a year of each other and the motorcycle trip is an attempt at getting away from the memories and making some since of his life. For the most part the trip is a solo one. One of Mr. Peart's friends was supposed to join him but because of legal reasons he was not.

The trip spends a great deal of time in Canada, the US and Mexico. While I would not want to experience the tragedies that befell Mr. Peart the roadtrip itself appears kind of glamorous. Mr. Peart is financially secure enough that he can walk away from his resposibilities and take a trip that many would dream abouth. He has office workers in Toronto that take care of his finances and pay his credit cards. He is able to concentrate on the ride.

Again the book is detailed and while the ride itself is somewhat random. However, Mr. Peart does set goals and makes plans to visit his friends in various locations. He takes some risks and pushes himself to see what he can do.

Again I strongly recommend this book. However, it is a much darker read.

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