Neil Peart Tribute

Missing Neil Peart

Suddenly … you were gone … from all the lives you left your mark upon.

Sadly, today was inevitable.

I did not know him personally nor did I ever meet him. However, outside my parents and brother I have known no one longer than Geddy, Alex and Neil Peart.

My secret, hoped-for wish that Rush would return to the stage was, unbeknownst to me (and anyone else with similar aspirations), all but dashed a mere year or so after their Final Show as Neil Peart succumbed to brain cancer on Jan. 7, 2020 following a three and a half year battle.

The first dreadful headline I saw was in a dirt bike forum I peruse for work. “RIP Neil Peart.” The sudden rush of disbelief and grief weighed heavily as I entered the thread.  The linked website from the CBC confirmed the news. I quickly gathered my things and left for home. They wouldn’t understand.

Shortly after, texts from friends…

Tribute to Neil Peart

Neil Peart has been in my life for nearly 40 years – though my timeline proves a bit foggy –  sometime after Moving Pictures was released, as I found the joy of Rush via my brother.

As the years went by, I discovered a shared a lot in common with Neil Peart but truthfully, I would have not gotten along with Neil. Or at least, he would have not gotten along with me. Never meet your heroes, as they say.  Over the years, it was clear we had fundamental differences in major life philosophies – particularly religion. Some of the rhetoric written in his personal blogs and in his books likely would have persuaded me to wish him well and go our separate ways.

But I still loved him… much like a lifetime childhood friend.

Just as my faith calls me to do. But with Mr. Peart it was more than loving my neighbor as myself.

I miss him terribly now.

I cannot believe he is gone. I don’t want to believe it.

Rush informally ended on Aug. 1, 2015 but officially and permanently ended on Jan. 7, 2020.

May it never be!

Writing that leaves me in disbelief. It’s strange to live in a surreal moment and recognize it for what it is. A surreal moment undoubtedly true. It is true. It is?

Neil Peart has passed away. The Professor.

Rush has and always will be my favorite band. Rush is the greatest band to ever exit stage left and no one will ever convince me otherwise. Indeed, Neil Peart had much to do with that. Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart put forth a rare, perhaps unprecedented, and unique symbiotic relationship that magnified their individual talents to produce extraordinary rock music. Check that: Remarkable music. Rush was not Rush without Lifeson’s guitar, Lee’s bass and vocals, and Peart’s lyrics and technique on the drums.

There will never be another Rush.

Neil Peart died on Jan. 7, 2020 from glioblastoma (brain cancer) at the age of 67 exactly as he wanted – we had no idea.

As word permeated the internet everyone finally knew on January 10th. Neil was an intensely private man and clearly his friends, family, Geddy and Alex carried out his final wishes – to die in peace away from the limelight.

I don’t know if I will ever listen to Rush. I haven’t much since the Final Show. If I do, certainly not in the same way as before, as that is something I will be unable to experience again. Knowing the man, who articulated those drum lines emanating from the speakers, no longer walks among us puts a rather large pall into a nearly 40 year listening experience with the constant hope of future material and subsequent tours.

I lost a friend – and in some respects a family member – this week whom I have never met. In some ways I envy those who don’t get Rush because you can’t understand the loss or detect the emotion. But I also pity them.

If you didn’t get Rush you never will and nothing can be said to convince you otherwise.

It’s enough already. Tonight I raise a large dram of The Macallan – 15 Years.

Goodbye Neil.

We’re only immortal – for a limited time.


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