Neil Peart’s Greatest Sacrifice For Rush

Rush frontman Geddy Lee told Rolling Stone in 2018 that the band would not perform together again. Neil Peart died two years later from a kind of brain cancer, effectively ruling off the possibility of the trio reuniting. However, before things came to an end, the drummer was involved in a number of Rush projects. With his help, ‘Fly by Night’ became a commercial success, and the band went on tour across the United States and Canada in the mid-1970s. Rush then issued five albums in four years, touring extensively for each one. During an interview with the Boston Globe, Peart referred to this period as ‘a dark tunnel.’ The late musician, on the other hand, saw these undertakings as an opportunity to develop as an artist. In an interview with Modern Drummer in 1989, he stated that he had worked for many years to perfect his drumming for the band’s songs. Peart stated that his playing couldn’t get any better, saying: “It’s a funny thing to say because it won’t read the way it’s meant to.” It took me 20 years to gain even a modicum of confidence. I’m not talking about being a virtuoso, a master, or anything of the sort.

It took that long for me to believe I might be able to play, and I believe the previous five years have solidified that belief.” He also noted how touring with Rush helped him grow: “This has required a lot of inner reflection and soul searching, because I had always lived on input and growth.” At the end of a tour, I always felt like I’d learned so much new stuff, and each record signified a big expanding of my talents and technique choices.” The drummer continued, saying: “Now I feel like I’ve reached my full potential.” Making any technical improvements in my playing would take too much time, and playing a faster paradiddle doesn’t mean as much to me right now.” In terms of gaining confidence and learning new talents, he added:”I spent 20 years working on technique and learning the finer points of keeping good time, developing tempo and shadings of rhythmic feel, and keeping my mind open to other ethnic music and other drummers, and it was all just pouring into me.” All of this came together when I finally gained confidence in my playing. For me, confidence was crucial.” Then he discussed how his thinking shifted along the way: “I was never a confident player; I was flamboyant and overplayed, but never confident.

” I had to take a step back from my 20-year knowledge quest and ask myself, ‘Do I truly love utilizing all of this stuff?’ My general consensus was that, while I enjoy being able to draw from all of the projects I’ve worked on, my conceptual approach to it needs to alter.” Peart had a rationale for all of this transformation, as he revealed: “The center of everything for me, and what I most enjoy doing, is what we – the band – have just gone through, which is the process of writing and arranging new songs.” This entails practicing drum patterns and recording the parts as rapidly and accurately as possible.” He went on to say: “That has been the nexus of it, having to change my mental attitude toward what I do and re-evaluate what is important to me about it in the true sense of values.” It’s not enough for me to simply declare, ‘I want to play my axe.’ I’ve spent the last 20 years doing that, and now I have other goals and interests in life.” Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson did not perform as Rush after Neil Peart died. They did, however, appear in 2022 at the ‘South Park’ 25th anniversary performance in Colorado and the Taylor Hawkins tribute shows, with other drummers filling in for the late band member.

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