Archive for June 20, 2015

neilpeartI know I’ve written about him many times before, but as he embarks on what may be his final tour, I wanted to share a few things about Rush drummer Neil Peart. Ostensibly the greatest rock drummer of all time, he was once on a very different trajectory. Serving as parts manager at his father’s International Harvester dealership, the opportunity to audition for Rush came up. I recently watched an interview where Neil’s dad realized that if his son didn’t try, he would always wonder what might have been and gave his son his blessing, saying there will always be a parts manager position for you if it doesn’t work out. The rest as they say is history.

I wonder if we would be that charitable. For most parents, the idea of their children working in the arts is a pipe dream to be discouraged and I’ll be the first to admit it, the odds are stacked against us. Yet for those who work and persevere, the outcomes can be fantastic. We may never be regarded as the best there has ever been, but a living can be made in the arts and for some of us, this is what we were born and created to do. Maybe we’d be better off giving permission to try, especially if the person you’re giving permission to try is yourself. Hone your talents and audition, submit your work. The worst that can happen is people will say no (Neil Peart’s bandmates, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson almost did. Seeing his shorter hair, questioned whether he would be “cool enough” for the band. That would have been a huge mistake.) and even that does not have to be the end. Self-publish your work, find your audience and see what happens.

I believe we were all created to create. The possibilities are endless and too many artists have been sacrificed on the altar of practicality. I’m not saying be irresponsible and I’m not saying you shouldn’t do what it takes to support yourself. I’m saying explore the possibilities and give yourself permission to try. You never know what will happen.

Sometimes the parts manager becomes the greatest drummer in rock and roll history.