Nicko McBrain has spoken about the passing of Neil Peart, calling the Rush drummer; "a true diplomat for the instrument, a wonderful human being, and a phenomenal player". The Iron Maiden drummer made the comments while talking to eonmusic at the NAMM Show in Ahaheim, California, on Friday (17th January 2020).
Peart, who passed away on 7th January 2020 after a three year battle with brain cancer, was recalled fondly by Nicko, who spoke of the one time the pair met.
"I only met Neil once, at a show way way back in the late '80s", revealed McBrain. "We were playing in the same city - i think it was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, somewhere like that. They were doing a show, and we went to their show, got to meet them, and I got to sit and talk with Neil"
He continued; "[he was] a wonderful, articulated man. He was quiet, he was very reserved, but when you sat down with him, my impression of him was of a very articulated, very educated kind, and I liked him very much. And I loved his playing".
The Drum One owner went on; "When I opened up Facebook, it was straight there: "we've lost Neil", and friends were phoning me; "Oh my god, have you heard the news?" My immediate thought was for his family, and [bandmates] Geddy [Lee] and Alex [Lifeson]. I thought; "Oh gosh, how must they all be feeling?", because they were really his family. Not to take away from his wife and his kids".
Nicko, who was at NAMM Show with the British Drum Company, then revealed that the news had prompted him to think about his own health matters, stating; "And then I thought of my own mortality. For crying out loud, we're the same age. The next thing I think: "Christ, I'd better go and see the doc, get myself checked out!" No, seriously!"
Going on to talk about Peart's legacy, the player said; "I've influenced players, but I think Neil reached a lot more youngsters than perhaps myself because of the way he played."
Summing up, his thoughts, McBrain concluded; "yeah, the drumming community has lost a true diplomat for the instrument, and a wonderful human being, and an absolutely phenomenal player. He'll be sorely missed".
Nicko joins his Maiden band mates when the band play a brace of British dates in June, at Download Festival on Friday 12th, and Belfast's Belsonic Festival on Monday 15th June.