Drummer and lyricist for Rush, Neil Peart was born on this day, September 12th, in 1952. Neil is without a doubt one of the most influential drummers in history, and I’d say that eight out of ten drummers I interview site either him or John Bonham as their primary influence. Many people aren’t aware that Neil is not only amazing drummer but also an inspiring author who has suffered a ridiculous amount of personal tragedy in his life. In 1997, his teenage daughter died in a car crash and his wife passed away less than year after that. Soon after losing his family, Peart took a hiatus from Rush and traveled extensively throughout North America on his BMW motorcycle, covering 55,000 miles. After his journey ended, Peart rejoined Rush and wrote the memoir Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road, which I’d recommend reading if you’re looking to gain some perspective on what’s important in life. Neil is now remarried, and he and his wife have a baby daughter. Congratulations and Happy Birthday, Neil! Favorite Rush Song: “Limelight.”
Last night I went to see this new band called The Panic Channel, which is three members of the most recent incarnation of Jane’s Addiction, minus Perry Farrell, plus a new singer who’s a former VJ from MTV back when MTV still showed videos. Can you even remember that far back? It seems like a million lifetimes ago.
Anyway, there were Stephen Perkins, Dave “Nipple Rings” Navarro, Chris Chaney and Steve Issacs (!) on the stage of Avalon – which used to be The Limelight – and they were all rocking “the look” and obviously trying to be less than a total mortifying horrorshow of lameness, but all I kept thinking was, “Gee wiz, what a fucking waste of Stephen Perkins drumming talents!”
Because The Panic Channel is not a good band.
I can’t quite put my finger on why three awesome musicians and a pretty boy don’t add up to some kind of kick ass force of nature…but it just wasn’t happening. They reminded me of Stone Temple Pilots right about the time Scott Weiland got busted for smack for the third of fourth go-round and the other three members formed the band Talk Show so they could forget about their pain. If The Panic Channel were even a fraction as awesome sounding as their website would lead us to believe, they would sound like Led Zeppelin plus The Beatles plus the original Alice Cooper band or something. But no.
Another thing that made me sad was seeing how the new owners of Avalon have completely destroyed all the dark charm and wild spirit of the former Limelight, a righteous dance club built in an old gothic church on Sixth Avenue, where I spent many Sunday nights dancing my cares away to the songs of Siouxsie and The Banshees, LA Guns and Soundgarden, and feeling like some kind of god. Good times. Now the former “Rock & Roll Church” looks like a bowling alley or a free clinic or god knows what. How very very tragic. At least I got in for free.