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Neil Peart - Anatomy of a Drum Solo
Neil Peart - Anatomy of a Drum Solo
Actor: Neil Peart
Director: Matthew Wachsman
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Special Interests, Educational
NR     2005     3hr 20min

'Anatomy of a Drum Solo' a two-disc set, presents newly-recorded, in-studio footage of legendary Neil Peart discussing his approach to soloing. Using a solo recorded in September, 2004 in Frankfurt, Germany as a framework,...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Neil Peart
Director: Matthew Wachsman
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Special Interests, Educational
Sub-Genres: Pop, Rock & Roll, Special Interests, Educational
Studio: Hudson Music / Rounder Records
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 12/12/2005
Original Release Date: 12/12/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 12/12/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 3hr 20min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Incredible insight into a master's mind
Karlton Kent | Roswell, GA | 02/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Although some have reviewed this DVD and stated that it is not an instructional video, that's not exactly true. A good bit of this 2 DVD set is talking about the approach and concepts of creating a drum solo to inspire us to create our own. Another good bit is showing us how Neil came up with his own solo material.

My favorite is the "waltz" section. This is by far the defining moment of the DVD where you go, "oh. I see. A master." To watch Neil playing a waltz beat with the alternating bass drum / tambourine trigger with his feet (Boom Ching-Ching, Boom Ching-Ching)and then on top playing a multitude of independent times with his hands (7/8, 4/4, etc) is truly inspiring and unbelievable. I tried to learn to do this, but I can't. It's interesting to note that he couldn't either, at first. And THAT'S one of the inspirational bits of this DVD. He didn't just pick up the sticks and do everything we see today all on natural talent. He refused to give up and worked at it until he mastered it.

I always liked that part of his solo but I never realized what he was trying to say with it. He is completely free of time constraints in his mind, and it's really almost hilarious to see the complexity of what he is playing paired with how effortless he is making it look. Unreal...

So the DVD is instructional in the sense that, if you already know how to play drums and you are looking for ideas to push you to the next level, then this can do it for you. There's no rudiments here, no sticking exercises. But, there is an answer to the long-discussed debate about why the traditional grip he touted in "A work in Progress" was dropped in favor of using mostly matched grip and sometimes traditional grip.

There are also wonderful biographical insights. Mostly, though, it's watching his thought processes and what motivated the different parts of his solos that interested me the most. Of course, with all the parts broken down for you, it's much easier to pick up tips on playing more fluidly and smoothly, if not more creatively. So overall this is a great effort by Neil and a must for anyone who at least appreciates the intricacies of his solos."
Methodical Breakdown Of His R30 Solo - Crammed With Extras
Mr. Christopher Evans | Nottingham, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom | 12/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This 2-disc package contains so much. First, there's the preamble, in which Neil talks about the aetiology of the art of drum soloing, with the likes of Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa and the guys of the big band era. Then through to the rock solo greats, such as Ian Paice of Deep Purple, Bill Bruford of Yes, Carl Palmer of ELP, John Bonham of Led Zepplin etc... Neil discusses his early years of playing, the inevitable 'piano lessons' - which stood him in good stead for later years, and his experiences of his first bands as a youth.
Regarding examination of his 9 minute, 'tour-de-force' solo, what you get is a total 'scientific dissection' of the Frankfurt, September, 2004 R30 solo - up close and personal in the studio. Each segment is discussed, with interesting comment on inspiration, and why he added this particular piece, or what mainly influenced that: the tom-tom rhythms of Krupa, the attacking, explosive snare work of Buddy, the bass flams of Bonham etc...
Neil demonstrates his technique in playing the various sections of his solo and in doing so shows you close-up of how he plays each instrument; Pieces of 8 and Momo's Dance Party played on his electronic percussion, 'the drum also waltzes' Max Roach routine, also used by Bruford in 1985/6 in his solo, and so on.
***Bonus Material***
Disc 1. Der Trommler. Total breakdown and analysis of technique and method. There are then two 'sidebars'. Sidebar 1 has another solo: Ich Bin Ein Hamburger. A recording of another solo from the same tour, shot from above (a great angle). (This solo flowed so well). And sidebar 2 has 'Exploration #1". Here we sit and watch Neil going through not only his warm up routine, but also see how this takes him to new areas, the 'what if' thing. It has to be said, the quality of filming and audio of Paul Siegal and Rob Wallis is, as usual, first rate.
Disc 2. Exploration #2. O Baterista! solo from Rush In Rio. An interview with Lorne Wheaton, Neil's loyal drum tech, and Rush co-producer/engineer, Paul Northfield. Lorne Wheaton sets up Neil's amazing kit from scratch (including the rotating 'satelite' riser) and discusses it. 2 Rush - or rather 2 'Neil' - performances from the drum cameras on the R30 tour, (Subdivisions and Tom Sawyer are the featured tracks) - and there is also a never-before-released drum solo from the Counterparts tour, 1994 (in structure, similar to the drum solo on Different Stages).
In addition, Neil has included 2 audio tracks: Momo's Dance Party and Pieces of 8, and OH there is also the Show of Hands solo included, and also 'the making of' featurette for Neil's signature Sabian PARAGON cymbals!
This is an extremely comprehensive, well-crafted DVD...and I recommend it."
Unbelievable - I've been waiting forever for this!
C. Evans | Nottingham, England | 12/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD is a captured moment in time; I believe this will live forever as a record showcasing the genius of Neil Peart - the best and most popular drummer of modern times.
(Voted Modern Drummer Best Recorded Performance in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1997 and 1999 - and many, many other accolades besides).
I've been waiting for a long, long time for this DVD.
Work In Progress was a great insight into Neil's analytical mind, but this is just fantastic and way more enjoyable.
Okay. Firstly, Neil, moreso I think than on Work In Progress, comes across as a humble, amiable and genuine guy with a total LOVE for drums. His incredible R30 drum set is set-up from scratch here by Lorne Wheaton, his drum tech (whom is interviewed with Paul Northfield). Like Kieth Moon's old set (a set Neil craved as a youth) Neil's R30 set has icons set within frames on each drum, and each icon depicts a moment from Rush's 30 years. The hardware is 24 carat gold plated. Oh, the extravagance! :) His Sabian Paragon cymbals are demonstrated in a feature on this DVD as an extra, whereby we see the process of manufacture and the 'sweat and tears' that went into creating them, under the watchful eye of the 'Professor' himself.
In fact, this leads me to the extras. Oh boy. It's crammed. We got unreleased 1994 Counterparts concert footage, the Show Of Hands solo snippet, a solo recorded in Germany on the last tour but previously unreleased, with which one can compare and contrast subtleties that Neil makes to his solo each night (keeping it fresh), we got two 30 minute (and over) 'explorations' whereby we observe Neil at practice, simply exploring new concepts, fills, rhythms, ideas..."what ifs" - and we got a systematic piece-by-piece breakdown of Der Trommler; Neil's 2004 solo (which I was lucky to see live twice here in England).
I especially loved the chance to view Neil taking us through the sampled big band horn blasts triggered by his pads. Yep, he improvises here for us too too. He talks about 'being there' at the onset of sampling, mid-80s, when if leads were too long there'd be a delay, and when floppy cards were used in sampling computers.
Neil mentions Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Joe Morello, etc etc and basically cites these as key players, amongst many others, who have handed us down this wonderful concept of 'drum soloing'. Many drummers, such as Kieth Moon and Stewart Copeland, refuse to 'solo', but the message here is; let's celebrate the art and marvel at the creations of the wonderful showpieces of the craft - and keep drum solos alive! It's our duty as drummers.
I've followed Neil's playing ever since I can remember and what comes across in Der Trommler, to me, is a point in time where his solo (and drum kit) comprise everything he has done; we have waltz, march, freestyle, odd-time, and of course the homage to the Big Band masters like Buddy Rich. I have been lucky enough to see Buddy Rich 3 times. I've seen many great drummers, Vinnie Colaiuta, Alex Van Halen and so on...but hand on heart nothing ever compares to a Neil performance. Neil's father once told him to play to each audience as though it was the most special performance of his life. You never get short changed with him.
Basically, you have to buy this DVD. It's choc full of extras and is put together really, really well. There is much interesting dialogue and also Mambo's Dance Party and Pieces Of 8 on audio which can be accessed. There are two drum-camera perspectives of Tom Sawyer and Subdivisons from the Frankfurt concert in 2004 and also O! Baterista! is here too. Anything more needed??? (Well, I'd have loved the Grace Under Pressure solo and possibly the Exit...Stage Left and maybe a Power Windows Tour solo...but...we can't have everything can we? Although I hear the Grace Under Pressure tour footage is being made into a full length concert :)
Occasionally, when one really builds oneself up for a DVD release, the result can oftentimes be disappointing.
This isn't. It's incredible. Neil is a genius, a master (though he'd humbly refer to himself as a lifelong apprentice) and he's better than ever! SALUT!"
Terrific drumming video
Joseph C. Helton | 07/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I give this DVD an enthusiastic 5 stars. If you're into Rush at all, or a serious drummer, this is a must have. It focuses mainly on the art of solo-ing, something Mr Peart does well at, but there's enough material on the 2 discs to keep anyone fan or drummer interested. Well worth the money.