On the second anniversary of legendary Rush drummer Neil Peart’s death, percussionist Brandon Toews paid tribute to the beloved rock icon in the most fitting way possible: by playing an epic, 24-minute mash-up featuring snippets of every Rush song ever.
The mega-mix featuring 175 tracks was posted on the Drumeo platform, with Toews blitzing through the songs on an appropriately massive kit, beginning, in chronological order, with “You Can’t Fight It” from the band’s 1974 self-titled debut, and bashing along to all the original album tracks from the Canadian prog rock trio through their final studio album, 2012’s Clockwork Angels.
“Today marks two years since Neil Peart’s passing. Neil was one of my biggest influences growing up – I remember spending hours upon hours trying to learn @rush songs like ‘Tom Sawyer’ and ‘La Villa Strangiato,’ and watching all of the Rush concert DVDs over and over to study Neil’s playing,” Toews wrote on Instagram on Saturday.
“To honour Neil’s legacy, I wanted to put something together that showcased HIS revolutionary drum parts. This performance was prepared over 10 weeks and I wanted to try to get as close to Neil’s original parts as possible. Many sticks were thrown across the room, but if there’s one thing Neil taught all of us, it’s to keep persevering even when the task at hand isn’t an easy one. Despite the challenge, this medley was a TON of fun to work on.”
The impressive array set up by Toews — author of the book The Drummer’s Toolbox — includes different elements from kits Peart used during his 40-year career, including electronic pads, tubular bells and a gong drum. Peart died in January 2020 of brain cancer.
“It’s hard to believe that the world lost Neil Peart two years ago. We’re grateful that his legacy will live on through his incredible work with Rush,” read a statement from Drumeo. “Brandon Toews is a huge Neil Peart fan, so as a tribute to The Professor, he put together this drum medley over the course of 10 weeks. He recorded full takes in their entirety (nope…we didn’t just piece this together song by song) and used transcriptions available in DrumeoSONGS to learn the parts.”
Check out Toews’ mash-up below.