I’m a Music Designer and I have the good fortune of listening to a lot of music – new and old – on the job. Off the job, I tend to read. And I love to read about music. I love a well written biography of a musician I love or a well told story about music. In fact, a book I never fail to recommend to friends who like music is So You Want To Be a Rock & Roll Star by Jason Schlicter. I won’t go into it, find out about it for yourself.
What I will go into is the most recent musician’s book I’ve read: Travelin’ Music by Neil Peart. Neil Peart is the drummer of the rock band Rush. He has been one of my husband’s favorite drummers for 35 years. We went to see Rush when we were newlyweds so I could experience his drumming. But it wasn’t until I read his writing that I really became a fan of Neil Peart, the man. His book Ghost Rider is an incredibly open intimate travelogue of a heartbroken man.
Recently I read about Travelin’ Music (it was published in 2004) and had to read it. Like Ghost Rider, it is a travelogue of a trip Neil Peart took from California to the Big Bend of Texas. He’s not heartbroken anymore so the tone is lighter and happier, but the writing is still open, intimate, and honest. The framework of the book is the trip, but the music he chooses to listen to on the trip is, maybe, the roof and siding. The music is the way into his head as he drives and eventually writes. The songs bring back memories and stories of past tours, trips, his youth, his heartbreak. Peart has a way of weaving in the history of the location, the memories in his head, the song playing on the CD player, and the here and now. I couldn’t wait to get back to the book each night to go a little farther on the journey.
Neil Peart hasn’t written a true biography of his life or a history of the band Rush, but Travelin’ Music gives many of the details that would have to be included. But, whether you would care about his life or the band’s history or not, the book is interesting and compelled me to seek out some music I hadn’t heard before. It also set me to thinking of what songs and albums would go with me on such a journey. Maybe that will be the subject of a future blog.
– Submitted by Janice Williams, Music Design