I really don’t know what else to say at this time. Sort of starts to shine light on your own mortality when one of the most influential musicians in your life passes away.
It was reported today that Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist of Rush, passed away from glioblastoma. He had apparently been fighting this for the past 3.5 years or so. That the band managed to keep this quiet says so much about their respect for their friend and brother.
Rush was my first music love. They were the first concert I ever went to (Roll The Bones tour, 1992, Delta Center), the first CD I bought with my own money after getting a CD player (Chronicles), the first band I ever travelled a distance to see (driving from Durham, NC to Charlotte, NC to see them for the R30 tour), and the first band I ever worked to make sure I had all their albums (19 studio albums, 10 live albums and then multiple compilations).
So, yeah, influential.
Even though I found myself not listening nearly as much as I used to, I never stop respecting the hell out of the band, their music, and each individual member. They were one of the most talented bands ever, with each member truly being one of the very best on their respective instruments.
With the addition of Neil Peart on their second release, Fly By Night, Rush entered and entire new era. Suddenly the songs were more complex, the lyrics more fantastical, the songwriting leaps and bounds above the (still really solid, but Led Zeppelin derivative) hard rock of their debut release. I don’t feel it is at all out of line to say that, had Neil not joined the band, Rush would have faded to obscurity as yet another 70s rock band that didn’t survive. The fact that they continued to write and perform new music right up until 2012 speaks volumes to their dedication, creativity, and hard work. Add to that the fact that their last album is probably one of their best (top 5 for sure), well, not many veteran bands can match that.
Seeing them live, seeing interviews, it was obvious the respect and love that the members all had for each other. The fact that they lived entirely out of the spotlight, with no scandals or drama, again speaks to their character and dedication to their craft.
I knew Rush had called it quits, but there was always that hope. Now, we simply will relish the wonderful music and legacy they leave behind, as there is no Rush without Neil, Geddy, and Alex together. Neil was a true legend, a true genius, and will be missed for sure.