Billy Corgan on Not Being Allowed To See Neil Peart Of Rush

In a recent talk at the GRAMMY Museum, Billy Corgan expressed his respect for the late drummer and lyricist for Rush, Neil Peart. He discussed the impact Peart had on other musicians and recounted being turned down for a meeting with the drummer. Corgan noted that Peart faced backlash from rock reviewers for mentioning his influences in the 1970s. He observed: “In terms of a writer who received a lot of criticism from rock writers in the 1970s because he dared to cite Ayn Rand as an influence, Neil Peart of Rush comes to mind. The throng of Marxists certainly adores him at this point. That is also a joke among friends. Despite this, Corgan found Peart’s ability to express some of the ideas he employed in Rush songs to be compelling: “He just blew my mind with the way he could express suburban malaise, the yearning of a young person, feeling that ‘Yeah, my life is fine, but there’s something more, but I don’t know what it is,’ and his articulation of that in song after song.” Despite his respect, Corgan later admitted that he had never met Peart: “I regret that I was unable to meet him.

He was infamous for being quiet. It was always like, “You weren’t allowed to go see him,” if I went to a show. But his verbal prowess is astonishing. Peart’s influence was felt not only in the music industry but also in talks about the more general themes of individualism that Rand’s works explored. Rush’s guitarist Alex Lifeson previously remarked that the band’s eight-movement work from their album “2112” was influenced by Rand’s writings on the value of the individual. However, Peart’s viewpoint changed with time. He discussed his early love of Ayn Rand’s writings in a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone, referring to himself as a “bleeding heart libertarian” and outlining the development of his ideas and knowledge of libertarian concepts. The Smashing Pumpkins, meantime, released ‘ATUM: A Rock Opera in Three Acts’ this year, their 12th studio album, which contains 33 songs divided into 3 acts. Corgan wrote and oversaw the production of the album.

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