As I sit here grappling with the sad departure of Neil Peart, for good reason commonly called the legendary drummer and lyricist for the Canadian rock trio Rush, I’m less grief-stricken than I initially was and have become more reflective. Along with millions of other fans globally I cried hard in the first few hours after hearing the news of his death. It hurts bad, but the tears have subsided.
Rush has played such an essential role in my life it is impossible to imagine my world without those 3 guys. My first exposure to their music was sneaking my sister’s Archives album from her record collection. I would stare at their pictures and read the liner notes while listening to the unbelievable music on that compilation of the first three records: Rush, Fly By Night, and Caress of Steel. I was eleven. The following year, 1979, following the release of their fourth album, Hemispheres, my uncle brought my sister and me to see them at Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ. A cooler thing couldn’t have occurred to a twelve-year-old kid.
Though complex occasionally, the ideas presented in their tunes fascinated my young mind and made me think differently about things. They brought me hope. Somehow just knowing those 3 guys were out there made me feel much better. Wildlife Removal Round Rock
Their music holds a fee and the lyrics are beyond thought-provoking; they are expanding. Rush told us it was okay to care, to love, to be afraid, to wonder and be different. They made us think and feel. In the song Vital Signs they told us it is imperative:”Everybody got to deviate from the norm.”
With eleven Rush concerts under my belt I am far below level of several die-hard fans but that does not mean they have not had an effect. Rush has made more of an impact on my life than any other group, musically and philosophically.
When I think about it, why I am so saddened by Neil Peart’s passing is the very reason I am so inspired to continue and become better than the guy I was yesterday. Many people have been immeasurably influenced by Neil Peart’s words and his life. He told us, and really showed us, how important it is to fill up our”boxcars” with experiences and wonder. As my train rolls down the paths of life I’m going to be loading up them more than ever.
There will not be any more shows. No more albums. Rush is forever in our thoughts and in our ears. The last show my wife and I attended August 10, 2015, in row two of the R40 show in Philadelphia, 36 years after my first concert, and the year they declared it will be their final tour. Fans hoped there could be at least another album but that was the end. Four and a half years later Neil Peart is gone.
I often thought of what I’d say if I ever encountered Neil somewhere out and about on his journeys. He was a private person, place off and embarrassed by adulation. I figured if I ever struck him I would just say thank you. The same holds true for Alex and Geddy, just a thank you and a handshake. Maybe a selfie.
So there is just one thing to say today: Rest In Peace Neil Peart, and let you know.