“Today, the world lost a true giant in the history of rock & roll,” Grohl said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “An inspiration to millions with an unmistakable sound who spawned generations of musicians (like myself) to pick up two sticks and chase a dream. A kind, thoughtful, brilliant man who ruled our radios and turntables not only with his drumming, but also his beautiful words.”
Grohl continued, “I still vividly remember my first listen of 2112 when I was young. It was the first time I really listened to a drummer. And since that day, music has never been the same. His power, precision, and composition was incomparable. He was called ‘The Professor’ for a reason: We all learned from him.”
As Grohl told Rolling Stone in 2013, ahead of Rush’s Rock Hall induction, it was Peart’s work that inspired him to pick up the drumsticks. “When I got 2112 when I was eight years old, it fucking changed the direction of my life. I heard the drums. It made me want to become a drummer,” Grohl said.
The Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer also reminisced about meeting Peart for the first time during rehearsals for the Rock Hall ceremony. “I was coming to rehearsal and I was meeting Neil for the first time, and this man was as influential as any religion or any hero or any person in someone’s life. He said, ‘So nice to meet you. Can I make you a coffee?’ And he made me a coffee, man,” Grohl said in 2013. “And later on that night, I went to dinner and had a couple glasses of wine, and I started fucking crying because my hero made me a fucking coffee. It was unbelievable, man. So that’s kind of how this whole experience has been.”
Both Peart and Grohl landed in the upper echelon of Rolling Stone‘s list of the 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time. Grohl, like many drummers in rock, paid tribute to one of the greatest to ever play the instrument. “Thank you, Neil, for making our lives a better place with your music. You will be forever remembered and sorely missed by all of us. And my heartfelt condolences to the Rush family,” he wrote. “God bless Neil Peart.”
Grohl’s Foo Fighters bandmate Taylor Hawkins had a more succinct, yet equally poignant, statement. “Neil Peart had the hands of God,” he tells Rolling Stone. “End of story.”