I wanted to post this to my own site, largely because it’s something I wanted to keep.
I’ll try and keep this brief, everyone and their uncle is posting their thoughts and impressions on Neil Peart in these early days after his passing.
Rush was quite precisely the 3rd Band that I dove deeply into. Like so many other peoples lists the Beatles were first, and that was an intense journey occupying 6 months of listening to the 6 or 7 studio and compilation albums I could get my hands on. Part way through my 13th year, I expanded to another British invasion group and become an avid follower of The Who. I’ve tried before and I can never remember who exactly threw me towards Rush, but I do remember that at the end of my little speech about the ground breaking contributions of Pete Townsend and Keith Moon, an older and wiser person told me I should listen to Rush, the Canadian version of gritty blues based hard rock. The next several years were fairly intense, Permanent Waves had just been released and I spent the next 2 years working my way through the catalogue, attaching special consideration to the hits and to many of the deeper cuts. I wasn’t alone, I quickly learned that my fellow Rush fans were equally enamoured with the majority of the cuts on every album instead of just a select few denoted by chart appearances. That’s one thing that has never changed, my favourite Rush songs are all but unheard of by the passing music lover, “The weapon”, “Analog Kid”, and “Witch hunt” have never even been within sight of a best seller chart.
I could wax on tell a story for just about every Album this band has ever released. every album has stories and favourites and memories. But those are mine and no one wants or needs to hear them now.
I’ve read page after page of articles denoting Neil Peart’s undeniable influence to the world of drumming and even non Rush fans can surely deduce by now that he was the King of drums, or at-least a part of the triumvirate . I’m not a drummer I can’t comment from any authority, but I will say that he’s the only guy that could ever keep me hanging in anticipation through 7, 8 10, 12 minutes of Drum solo, his solos were like a fireworks show, they evolved , the carried a harmony a melody a hook and usually signature bits that entire stadiums could revel into.
One day, after a few years of working just about every job (crappy to inspirational) in the realm of tasks described by many as “roadies” . I found myself not working for Rush as I had dreamed of, but next best thing, working for a company that was providing some of the gear on Tour. 14 dates , 14 nights of concert bliss, 14 inter-city trips, 30 or more meals of un-rivalled quality around a catering table, dozens of opportunities to observe the golden trio in their relaxed pre-show atmosphere.
My fan status preceded me and I was warned ever so severely to leave that fan-boy shit at home, I was there to do a job, be cool . don’t make anybody feel weird. It was hard to do, really hard to do. I’ve never hyper-ventilated but I came close a few times during the first day. I spent the better part of the next 3 weeks getting to know some of the other legends of the Rush touring organization, Liam Bert, Skip Gildersleeve, Jack Geranios. For me these guys were every bit a part of the legend, they shared a few stories and quickly saw through my cool exterior, I was branded and endured more than a few jokes about my glassy eyed daze when any of the trio came within earshot or sight. But I worked my gig and never slipped up and by the time my time was done I felt like I’d had my glimpse, I”d seen behind the curtain, just enough.
Decades have passed, but these 3 guys will always remain a force in my character. It breaks my heart to even think that the professor is no more, will never again amaze with his drumsticks or his pen. Part of me is hopeful that the art inside of Alex and Geddy will find another avenue, I’ll be there and I know it will be familiar, that’s just what they have always been.