Neil's Letter of Thanks

Modern Drummer, October 1992

With deep sincerity, I wish to thank all those who voted for "Roll The Bones" as the "Best Recorded Performance" in this year's Readers Poll. It is always the greatest honor to be appreciated by other drummers, but I am especially proud of this recognition for my most recent, and perhaps hardest-won, piece of work. I put a lot of thought and sweat into that record, and consequently this appreciation from other drummers means a lot to me.

The first time I appeared in the MD Readers Poll - many years ago - I felt the most intense mixed emotions: a strange combination of exaltation and unworthiness. No other award would ever equal that first one, as I'm sure anyone can understand. But still, the thrill of pride doesn't really fade. Even after 25 years of playing drums - and the good fortune to have been appreciated for it - I remain humble before all the master drummers of the past, present, and future. And though I've learned a little bit about drumming, there's still so much more to know. We can all be inspired by those masters to work toward more knowledge, greater accomplishment, and true excellence.

While searching for a capsule definition of "excellence," which is described by Robert Pirsig as "quality" and by Aristotle as "arete," I tentatively defined it as "doing something well enough that other people who do it admire your work," I think that nails it reasonably well - for a drummer, a bricklayer, or just a life well-lived. And certainly my own quest for excellence continues. While fully aware of all my faults, in music and in life, the eternal consolation is: "Hey, at least I'm getting BETTER!" I happily remain a "work in progress."

And so, for all these reasons I very much appreciate this honor from the readers of Modern Drummer. I thank you sincerely, and send you all my favorite salutation: "Happy Drumming!"

Neil Peart

Toronto, Ontario, Canada