BEST BAND EVER: Keyboardists; Round 142, Top 32

Vote for your FAVORITE keyboardist(s) IN BOTH MATCHUPS:

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Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Meh, I disagree with that framing. Portnoy is part of a lineage, yes, but so is Peart (you could make the case that he is that generation’s Keith Moon). In the end though it doesn’t matter because this isn’t a contest of who is the most influential or who came first.

Portnoy has done enough on his own with a large enough variety of people that he doesn’t have to live under the shadow of any other drummers. He has a recognizable style, skills as an arranger, and a pretty large bag of tricks. Peart is more famous maybe, but Ringo Starr is even more famous.
 

Yax

Ancient Mariner
Meh, I disagree with that framing. Portnoy is part of a lineage, yes, but so is Peart (you could make the case that he is that generation’s Keith Moon). In the end though it doesn’t matter because this isn’t a contest of who is the most influential or who came first.
No, it's pretty clear. It's "vote for your FAVORITE drummer". :p
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
You mean in terms of fame/influence, right? 'Cause I don't see a lot of similarities, but maybe that's just me.
No, Keith Moon was a huge influence on Peart and you can really hear it especially in the early days. Similar explosive energy, similar types of fills (although Peart is of course much tighter and more precise). Here, Peart talks about Keith Moon as well as his own lineage: https://www.npr.org/2015/01/06/375171736/mystic-rhythms-rushs-neil-peart-on-the-first-rock-drummer

More on influences: andrewolson.com/Neil_Peart/drums/influences/early-rock-influences.htm

I seem to remember that the Keith Moon sound is also what turned Alex and Geddy on to his playing, but I might be making that up.
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
Neil Peart absolutely started out as a disciple of Keith Moon, but (and surely because of his relative longevity) he surpassed Moon in a ton of ways. He fused in jazz and big band into the hard rock performances of Moon, adapted rhythms best suited to Geddy Lee and drove the conversation in methods hereto unknown. That's why there's a bit of a lineage back to Moon, but Peart surpassed him in just massive ways.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Neil Peart absolutely started out as a disciple of Keith Moon, but (and surely because of his relative longevity) he surpassed Moon in a ton of ways. He fused in jazz and big band into the hard rock performances of Moon, adapted rhythms best suited to Geddy Lee and drove the conversation in methods hereto unknown. That's why there's a bit of a lineage back to Moon, but Peart surpassed him in just massive ways.
And many drummers have surpassed what Peart did. On this forum especially, it’s important to remember all the extreme Metal drummers who have really taken drumming to new heights. Often building off the groundwork of Moon, Peart, and many others. I’m not sure if Portnoy is the one to represent them (many have come since and surpassed Portnoy as well), but I think Portnoy is a worthy competitor for the innovations he’s made in modern progressive Metal. Basically, I reject the idea that it ends with Peart.

That’s not to say he isn’t a top three drummer for me though.
 

JudasMyGuide

The very model of a modern Major-General
That's all really interesting. Only goes to show my limitations in discerning the drummers. I've always taken Moon as a polar opposite to Peart, being joyful and mischievous when's being subtle

(possibly my favourite Moon performance)

and being a crazy-ass almost-Brann-Dailor-but-with-less-cocaine when's he's going all out


and I can hardly connect Peart to either (but I believe you! Really!), because neither "playful" or "hectic" are the adjectives I'd ever use for him or his playing style. But okay, I admit my inadequacy.

On the other hand, I wouldn't overstate the "influence" aspect - Peart claims to be influenced by Collins and Portnoy by Peart and I have a hard time believing either (well, no, I do believe them, it's just that I don't hear it). 'Arry never admitted being influenced by Boston, but I have a hard time believing that as well.

But then again, what do I know. But like I said previously, Peart ain't got no groove, man. My mama no raise no dummies, but I don' dig his rap. Motherfucker's white like Martha's Vineyard. Need mo' mojo, bruh.
 
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Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
On the other hand, I wouldn't overstate the "influence" aspect - Peart claims to be influenced by Collins and Portnoy by Peart and I have a hard time believing either (well, no, I do believe them, it's just that I don't hear it)
I don't know what to tell you, the influences you mention all seem pretty clear as day to me (Collins was also a devotee of Moon). For some examples, check out Fountain of Lamneth. At about 3:00, the riff is pretty heavily influenced by Watcher of the Skies by Genesis. Both are passages that are heavily tethered to the drum patterns.

For Portnoy and Peart, I mean, it's hard to find a single band that influences Dream Theater more than Rush. There's a lot of Peartisms on Awake, some on Falling Into Infinity (not to mention the Xanadu worship on Trial of Tears). The riff on The Great Debate is very similar to Natural Science. While not stylistically the same, I imagine Portnoy's drum solo in As I Am was meant as a subtle nod to Peart's in Tom Sawyer. Very lyrical phrasing, like a sing-along drum solo.

Maybe it's necessary to look beyond the obvious elements. You're not going to see these guys copping their idols' licks very often, but they might take a similar approach or use an aesthetic quality. For Peart and Moon, it's the phrasing and the explosive dynamics. For Portnoy and Peart, it's the technical precision and the lyrical approach to drumming. Boston uses twin guitars, but they also drenched their productions in overdubs. Steve Harris writes music that can be immediately translated live: two guitars, bass, drums, nothing else. Much more similar to the stripped down Thin Lizzy approach.
 

JudasMyGuide

The very model of a modern Major-General
Thanks, I'll try to play those parts you mentioned back-to-back later today. I have never been able to hear the connections - even when the influence is obvious (Limelight -> The Looking Glass) they sound like completely different bands to me.

Also, we possibly concentrate on different things. For example, it's not just the twin guitars with Boston - it's also the vocals and the slick production (and slight (pseudo-)prog leanings from time to time) vs. what 'Arry was trying to achieve from TNOTB on throughout the 80's. And it's not personal bias - I like both Maiden and Lizzy more than Boston. But Lizzy are the "down to earth street urchins" - I know 'Arry likes to stylise himself into that and they probably are that personally (well, not Bruce), but their music haven't been this working class for quite a long time, if you know what I mean. "Live feel in the studio" notwithstanding.

And like I admit - a lot of it is not analysis, but simply "gut feeling" - which is stupid and unprofessional, but sometimes you can't drown that one out. Probably why you don't know what to tell me. However thank you for trying to explain the connections, I'll try to do my best to see them also. And thank you for the time invested.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
This probably isn’t the thread for it, but I consider even 80s Maiden to be a very different beast production-wise than Boston. Yes the 80s albums are more polished (especially the last two), but the slickness you describe in Boston is quite different to my ears. Boston almost sounds too perfect, like it’s robotic. Maiden is polished but there was always some toughness around the edges, especially in the bass and drums.

I guess my point is that it’s not so much that the musicians sound similar. You’re right that Dream Theater is different than Rush, even on The Looking Glass. But the best bands imo are the ones who can take their influences and filter them through their own voice. They can blend them in a way where it becomes almost unrecognizable. That we’re having this discussion probably suggests that Dream Theater, Portnoy, Peart, et al. did a good job with that.

I appreciate the conversation, and @Night Prowler and @LooseCannon for facilitating these games which have been vehicles for some of the most interesting music discussions this forum has seen in some time.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
And many drummers have surpassed what Peart did.
That is simply not true. A ridiculous statement.
However technically perfect (and execution wise) some players have been over the last decades, that is not what drumming (or making music in general) is only about.

This forum happens to have some active DT fans and some less active Rush fans and a couple of active Rush haters.
That is the only reason why Portnoy may win this with a minuscule difference.
 
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Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Just one (involved in this game), judas. But his opponent is all what my vote is about now, this round.
 
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Zare

Automaton Sovietico
I voted on the merit of Portnoy being a metal drummer. Just like that.
You can put Paco De Lucia in the greatest guitarists contest and I would vote Dave Murray over him because we're not on an espana classics' forum.
 

Night Prowler

Customer Deathcycle Manager
Staff member
That is simply not true. A ridiculous statement.
However technically perfect (and execution wise) some players have been over the last decades, that is not what drumming (or making music in general) is only about.
That's just your opinion, it's not ridiculous at all.

This forum happens to have some active DT fans and some less active Rush fans and a couple of active Rush haters.
That is the only reason why Portnoy may win this with a minuscule difference.
That's also not really true; Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee are already in this game's band. So that means that maybe some Rush fans think that Portnoy is a better drummer than Peart. Like @Mosh, for example.
 
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