Neil Peart (you know, the drummer from Rush) granted an interview to Maclean's magazine while the band prepares for its upcoming tour in support of their latest album, Clockwork Angels. He talks about increasing the level of spontaneity in his own playing, the creative process behind the record, and his personal philosophies, among other things.
Peart says in the past, he wanted "to play with superhuman perfection in the studio and then reproduce that every night. Once I had defined myself as a compositional drummer, I thought, 'Well, I want to be an improvisational drummer.' I think in the recorded drum parts on this album, you can sense the excitement and danger: 'This guy never played that before, and he just barely made it.' I’m going to cut myself completely loose this tour; I’d always composed and choreographed a tour solo and then improvised within that framework, and this time, I’m throwing that out."
He also describes Clockwork Angels as less rigorously organized as previous Rush albums, despite its concept-album structure. "This started as a simple [idea]—the steampunk image and aesthetic I liked, I suggested to the guys as the basis for some kind of extended work. It built up to [the album] piece by piece by organic expansion. All the music was created by Geddy and Alex jamming in the studio, and many of the lyrics were just extemporized over email."
Peart claims he's less angry than he once was, something which shows up in recent Rush lyrics. "There’s still a lot I’m angry about, a lot of human behaviour that’s appalling and despicable, but you choose what you can fight against. I always thought if I could just put something in words perfectly enough, people would get the idea and it would change things. That’s a harmless conceit. With people too, you constantly think, 'If I’m nice to people and treat them well, they’ll appreciate it and behave better.' They won’t, but it’s still not a bad way to live."
There's much more, of course, all of it worth your time. Read the whole thing!