I just wanted to write a short post to mark the untimely passing of one of my heroes, Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist of the Canadian rock band Rush. A school friend who was part of our RPG sessions back in the early ‘eighties was a huge fan of Rush and got my brother and I into the band, playing albums like Power Windows before and after RPG sessions, and it stuck (just as another of the lads got us into the Alan Parsons Project- those were great, formative days).
For me the initial appeal of the bands music were Neal Pearts lyrics; whenever I got a new Rush album (whether it be a pre-Power Windows disc or those that followed it over the years) my first thing was pouring over the lyrics, even before actually listening to the music. As well as a supremely accomplished drummer who just got better and better over the years, Peart was extremely well-read, and it showed in his writing, brilliant at constructing elaborate lyrics full of ideas. Definitely an inspiration in my own (albeit inferior, ‘natch) writing over the years. In a similar way to the APP albums, the Rush albums each seemed to have seperate and unique themes: I was being submerged in Prog-Rock and like my love of Vangelis, in Rush and APP it would last my lifetime.
Rush unofficially disbanded in 2015, mostly instigated by Peart, partly due to health problems ensuing from age and 40 years on the road touring. So I’ve spent the last few years kind of getting used to that, and hoping that maybe his freinds and band mates Geddy and Alex might get Peart into the studio at least, for one more Rush album, someday. We fans are never content, we always want more. More Star Wars, more Rush, more Vangelis. Alas, his passing this week at the too-young age of 67 has finally put an end to such hopes (just as the passing of Eric Woolfson several years also finally put paid to ever seeing another APP album). The news broke late at Friday, and my brother and I shared shocked texts with each other. Peart actually passed on Tuesday, after over three years battling brain cancer- it is typical of the class and dignity of the man that none of us, fans nor the media, had any idea that he was so ill.
There is a curious synchronicity in the background to all this- Steve and I were watching YouTube videos of Peart just last weekend, and Steve got us tickets to go see a Rush tribute band for tonight (how poignant and emotional is that show going to be following this weeks event?). Its all purely coincidental of course, but I think Peart might have found it as curious as I do; Wheels within wheels in a spiral array, A pattern so grand and complex. A Farewell to the King then.
Another one gone: purely in a selfish way, this getting old sure does get old, increasingly losing all these heroes along the way.