Sunday, May 11, 2008

Roadshow: Landscape with Drums: A Concert Tour by Motorcycle by Neil Peart

One thing I can say for myself, the longer I am out of university, the more non-fiction books I have been reading for fun. I do not really have to challenge myself to read them, I just pick them up. I do read more memoirs than straight non-fiction, but it is not like I am closed off to anything, just depends on what I am in the mood for. I enjoyed being able to ramble on about books to someone, so I ended up reading this book faster than I originally intended. Now, back to books that do not really interest any of my friends. Sad, really! While I was reading this book and Ghost Rider, I could talk freely.

Neil Peart is an internationally acclaimed, bestselling, and award-nominated author, and for more than thirty years has been the legendary drummer and lyricist for the band Rush. For decades, Neil prepared and waited to write a book about the biggest journey of all in his restless existence, his ultimate travelogue - a concert tour. Finally, the right time and the right tour: Rush's 30th anniversary trek -- 9 countries, 57 shows, and 500,000 fans.
This book covers the 30th anniversary tour for the band Rush. Being his newest book, it was available in all the bookstores, so that was my criteria for what I read next by him. The 30th anniversary for the band was almost exactly four years ago now, but you learn a lot reading this book. After Ghost Rider, I obviously knew that Rush got back together after a five-year hiatus, but when Neil Peart was living the events he covered in that book the future seemed unclear. For fans all over the world, I am sure they were happy that Peart rejoined the band and they carried on making great music. The first thing that really surprised me about this book was that they only did two shows in Canada. Considering it was their 30th anniversary and they are a Canadian band, you really think they would have done more shows here. That's what happens, though.

Anyways, during the course of this book, Neil Peart talks about what it is like to be a musician on tour with a band as recognized as Rush is, but he also talks about the landscape of his travels, reminises on his past with the band, and inserts humourous asides that made me laugh a long. One of my friends is a drummer and he had lots of drumming jokes mixed in with the story, so if my friend wasn't there, I would grab my cellphone and text message him the jokes. He said some of them made him laugh at work, and work is a better place with laughter! Actually, as I was finishing up the book early this morning, Neil Peart had one last joke, so to coincide with being finished I sent that to my friend as well. I decided to share it here as well.

A drummer was dancing around, celebrating, when the guitarist came in.

"What's up?"

"I just finished this jigsaw puzzle," the drummer replied. "It only took me six months!"

"That's not very good," the guitarist said. "Why are you so excited?"

"The box says two to six years!"
With it being mother's day, I haven't talked to my friend today, so I have no idea what he thought of that early morning piece of wisdom. It made me laugh. He said all he is doing is missing playing the drums. He doesn't have a place to set them up, so while he informs me he is in fact a drum player, I have never actually heard him play before.

Moving on. Some of the things that I pointed out to my friend, so obviously they were the things that stood out to me, were for example, the fans of Rush are mostly men. That does and does not surprise me. It explains why my female friends think I am nuts for listening to Rush, for example. Peart says it might be because they have an aggressive sound, but for whatever reason, the majority of people that listen to them are men. I like being untypical once again. Me and my friend had a big discussion about this topic actually, with him pointing out that women generally like dance-music, and Rush is not really the easiest band to dance to. I think Peart might have made the same observation. He also points out (Peart, not my friend) that the women that do listen to his music tend to understand it on a deeper level than the male fans because they actually pay attention to the lyrics. He quotes a lot of his songs in this book and explains the inspiration for sentences and things that I did not pick up on when I listened to the songs, so while I might know the lyrics to a lot of Rush's songs, it really surprised me what Peart was thinking when he wrote them.

I thought it was really interesting to read about all the planning that went into this concert. Not being a musician, I have obviously never had any experience in this avenue, so I was never really sure what happened to turn a bunch of musicians into a touring success. It takes a lot of work! Peart explains all the different people that it takes to put this plan into action, as well as how the three actual band members work together to make each night a success. I was very surprised at how little time the band actually spends together. Geddy and Alex travel in a plane together, so they see each other, but since Neil travels by motorcycle they only spend a little part of each day with him. Considering how meshed together they are when they walk out on that stage, they obviously have something that has come together seamlessly after all the years together.

I really enjoy the humour in this book. Neil includes church sign sayings, and I have to say, a lot of them were pretty funny! Some of them I did not get at all, but I imagine they mean something to someone. The interaction between Neil and his riding partners Michael and Brutus is also hillarious. He is with Michael the majority of the book and when he recounts stories you cannot help laughing at their antics. Brutus played a big part in Ghost Rider, so it was nice that he was actually in this book and not just included in the "Letters to Brutus" section. There are so many other things I can talk about in regards to this book because there are so many other things that Peart talks about. I really like his writing style, though I can understand it is not for everyone, and I strongly recommend reading him at some point and time.

This also another read for the themed reading challenge. Apparently I only challenged myself to read four books and this is my fifth, so here I was done that challenge and did not even know it! Yay to slacker me finishing a challenge!


  1. I can relate. When I was in school, I had no interest in nonfiction outside of the texts I had no choice but to read, but each year I've added to the variety of types of nonfiction I indulge in. There's quite a bit of interesting nonfiction out there.

  2. I enjoyed the drummer joke very much! Nice blog!

  3. Reading nonfiction for fun is the only way to read it in my opinion...being forced to read something, as in school, still gives me shivers all these many years post-graduation! :)

  4. Great puzzle joke. There was a time that all I read was nonfiction. Still do read some but mostly fiction these days.


Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

I am so sorry, but I turned anonymous commenting off. I have had it from the very beginning, but that is how the spam is getting by my spam filter at the moment. If it is a big deal I will turn it back on and moderate all comments. I also changed moderation from older than 14 days to older than 7.