BC drummer plays 175 Rush songs in a 24-minute video tribute to Neil Peart

Why play a Rush song when you can play 175?

That was Brandon Toews’ approach to honoring the late Rush drummer Neil Peart.

The percussionist from Chilliwack, BC, performed a mashup of 175 Rush songs in a video as a tribute to Peart, who died two years ago of brain cancer.

Peart, honored by both fans and other musicians for his technical prowess, has had a huge impact on drummers who followed, including Toews.

SE | Brandon Toews plays all 175 Rush songs as a tribute to Neil Peart:

“Neil was known for really putting together some of the finest drum parts in history,” Toews said.

“Myself, like all other Canadian drummers out there, he played a big part in my personal development as a player. I remember as a youngster I was just trying to learn the parts he had on those Rush tracks. Anyone who knows him – even beyond his drumming – [knows] how dedicated and hardworking he was. That is the kind of approach I wanted to take while putting this together. “

Toews got the idea in July. He spent 10 weeks reviewing the band’s catalog, selecting moments in each song that highlighted Pearts’ tremendous skills, and rehearsing them before putting it all on video.

Musician Neil Peart from the band Rush will perform at the Nokia Theater on May 6, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Jesse Grant / Getty Images)

Toews’ tribute extends to his drum kit. Peart was known for using a massive drum kit that completely surrounded him, and Toews – with the help of Drumeo, an Abbotsford-based music education website where he works – did his best to copy it.

“It was probably up to 70 or 80 pieces, which was actually a lot more than he would tour live, but because we went through the whole 40-year-old catalog of Rush’s music, there were certain pieces that he only used in ’80. ‘s or only used in the ’90s, and all that should be available, “he said.

“There was electronics, there was classical percussion, of course standard drum set parts, just tons of drums and cymbals on the set. It was a lot of fun to play.”

Legendary Rush drummer Neil Peart performs solo

Neil Peart, the late drummer for the Canadian rock band Rush, performs a drum solo. 0:45

The tribute also includes songs from Rush’s debut studio album, which featured the band’s original drummer, John Rutsey.

Toews said he has received a lot of positive feedback since posting the video on Jan. 7, the second anniversary of Pearts’ death.

“Anyone who knows Rush knows that in a way they have a cult following, people who are very dedicated fans like myself and many, many others,” he said.

“These albums and these songs are a kind of soundtrack to people’s lives. So it’s been a really cool experience to see people react so positively.”

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