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Watch a Puppet Totally Nail Rush’s ‘Tom Sawyer’

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You’re about to see the most rock ‘n’ roll thing that’s happened in puppetry since Animal’s wild-eyed solos on the old Muppet Show. In the above video, New Jersey artist Ricky Syers has combined the ancient craft of marionette building with the more recent tradition of prog rock to create a very entertaining version of Rush‘s “Tom Sawyer.”

Syers, who earlier built a contraption that allows him to play guitar and drums at the same time, began constructing puppets purely for fun. That led to some pretty high-profile gigs, including a Super Bowl pre-game appearance and a McDonald’s commercial. At club dates, he’s used his guitar/drum device to present fun cover versions of favorites by Pink Floyd and Tom Petty.

None of it is anywhere near as cool as this, though, as this featured marionette does a masterful, if miniaturized, version of Neil Peart‘s legendary cadence.

You’ll notice that the puppet, who’s named Chops, takes Peart’s ’70s-era facial hair to the extreme, ultimately coming off as someone more closely resembling Tommy Chong. But, giving credit where it’s due, Chops completes this classic rock-radio staple from 1981’s Moving Pictures with a kit roughly half the size of Peart’s.

The only thing that kind of ruins it for us? Chops — or Syers, making a puppet drum — is actually better at this than we are. In fact, he’s moving so fast at about the 2:30 mark, you worry if his little wooden arms are about to pop all the way off.

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