I have to admit, losing Neil last week has hit me kinda hard. For whatever reason, I’ve been on a big Rush kick for the last few months. Over Christmas break I even watched the “Beyond The Lighted Stage” documentary. I wrote a blog about my top 3 drummers back in October. You can guess who I picked as #1.
It seems weird that we’re now in a world without Neil Peart. What’s almost stranger is that it’s been that way for almost a week, but nobody outside the band knew until Friday.
One of my biggest Rush memories was taking my younger brother to go see them on a cold, very snowy night in the early 90’s. I recall that my car wasn’t working so my parents let me use theirs. They knew how much it meant to me to not only take him to his first concert, but to take him to see a band that good!
Another memory is interviewing Paul Rudd and Jason Segel before their movie “I Love You, Man” came out in 2009. In the movie, these two guys become best friends based upon their love for Rush. They told me how they explained a scene that the band was in, to the guys. Paul said that he told them during the scene, Jason’s and his character were mad at each other, and that’s why they were watching the band with their arms folding across their chests. Geddy Lee responded, “Oh, so it’s going to be like every Rush concert ever!”. Hysterical!
When they came through town in 2012, I met Steve Black at the Palace. We went to the meet and greet before the show. Of course, Neil never felt comfortable doing those kinds of things, so he wasn’t there. The tour manager explained to the entire room of fans that he wouldn’t be showing up because he was working on a quilting project! LOL
“Living in a fisheye lens
Caught in the camera eye
I have no heart to lie
I can’t pretend a stranger
Is a long awaited friend”
It’s interesting to look back and listen to the interview I did with Geddy over the summer. I suspect he knew about Neil’s diagnosis when he was talking with me. We did talk about Neil a little bit. What always struck me was the genuine love these guys all have for each other. I don’t recall ever hearing anything negative about their relationships. That’s very rare in this business.
In closing, it’s been inspiring to see all the musicians that posted on social media over the weekend about their love and respect for, possibly, the greatest rock drummer ever. Many listeners have reached out to me and have shared their stories and thoughts, too.
Even though I never met him, I held him in very high regard. The best of the best, the likes of which we may never see again in our lifetime.