My heart is sad as I sit here, listening to Rush, typing these words. Last week, we lost the best rock drummer of all time. In typical Neil Peart fashion, he quietly passed away on January 7. No one outside of his family and friends knew it until his bandmates, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, released a statement. Apparently Peart had been battling with brain cancer for over three years before succumbing.
Neil Peart joined Rush in 1974 and quickly set the bar for percussive virtuosity. Unlike the millions of teenage boys who dedicated decades of their life to the Holy Canadian Rock Triumvirate, I only discovered Rush a little over a year ago. My favorite song is "Subdivisions" but I also like "Limelight", "YYZ" and "Tom Sawyer."
Here is the first post I wrote about Rush.
In addition to being the best drummer in the world, Peart was also an author. He loved taking long road trips - first on his bicycle and then on his motorcycle. My favorite of these is The Masked Rider, about his bicycle trip through Africa. I also liked his Far series, about his motorcycle journeys across the US. Every time Neil went to a national park, he made sure to get his stamp. Following in his footsteps, this past fall when my husband and I visitied Fort Sumter - a national monument - I made sure to get my stamp. Just like Neil.
Check out all the Travels with Neil Peart.
In 2012, Rush released it's last official studio album called Clockwork Angels. Lyricist Peart teamed up with Kevin J Anderson to take the music and create two steampunk novels. I was skeptical, but ended up loving both books. It's fun to listen to the music while reading the novels.
As a musician myself, I have such great respect for Neil Peart. He made it his mission to study drumming his whole life, and was never content to rest on his laurels. I always thought it was so hilarious that instead of partying on tour, he would hole up somewhere quiet and read a stack of books. That's the kind of rock star I want to be friends with.
Rush might be officially retired, but The Professer will still be missed.
Rock on, my friend.
Neil Peart 1952-2020