Drummer and Lyricist Neil Peart of Rush Dead at 67
Peart was known for both his intricate drumming and his lyrics for the band
Among the most memorable aspects of Canadian power trio Rush’s music were the group’s intricately-written songs and their heady, philosophical lyrics. Responsible for both was Neil Peart, whose contributions to the group went far beyond his technical skill as a musician. Rolling Stone reports that Peart died as a result of brain cancer on Tuesday in Santa Monica, California, bringing one of the most singular careers in rock history to an end.
Together with bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson, Rush recorded a host of complex, bombastic albums — including 1976’s 2112 and 1981’s Moving Pictures. Some of Peart’s early lyrics were inspired by the writings of Ayn Rand, and the group’s imagery often featured forays into science fiction. Peart also worked with author Kevin J. Anderson on a science fiction novel inspired by the band’s album Clockwork Angels.
He announced his retirement from Rush after the band’s 40th anniversary tour wrapped up in August of 2015. At the time, he cited chronic tendonitis along with shoulder and foot injuries, which had plagued him throughout the tour, as the reasons for his retirement.
Peart’s life had taken a tragic turn years before: his daughter Selena and his wife Jackie both died within the span of 10 months in 1997 and 1998. Peart published a book five years later about his grieving process — Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road — where he broke his silence on the subject, according to an interview with MTV.
Despite his status as an iconic drummer for decades — or perhaps because of it — Peart sp0ke openly in interviews about continuing to take lessons throughout his career to hone his craft. “What is a master but a master student?” he told Rolling Stone in 2012. “And if that’s true, then there’s a responsibility on you to keep getting better and to explore avenues of your profession.” It’s an inspiring sentiment from a singular life.
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