I hoped I wouldn’t have to write something like this for a long time. Those close to me know how big of a Rush fan I am, and how much they inspired me to become LightningSFM and create my own music. Granted, my music is much, much different from Rush, or any other bands that inspired me, but I grew up listening to Classic Rock, and later on got into Punk, Alternative and Rock. Even some Metal. But I digress.
On January 7th, 2020, Neil Peart left this world to be with the angels, including his 19 year old daughter, Selena, who passed in a car accident in 1997, and his first (common law) wife, Jacqueline, who passed ten months later. Their passings inspired him to write the book “Ghost Rider”, based on a motorcycle trip he took afterwards. To anywhere and everywhere. To find himself again. In a way, it was his journal, and he opened his heart to all of us in it, despite being a very private man. Once again, I digress.
The news of his passing didn’t come out until January 10th, at which point, people who I didn’t realize even knew I existed started sending me links on Facebook, as did my close friends. I really, really wanted it to be a hoax. Plenty of celebrities have “died” many times. Paul McCartney being the first one to pop up in my mind. He’s still very much alive. But Neil’s passing wasn’t a hoax, and I was shocked. It hurt me for a few reasons. The first was what took his life. An incurable brain cancer called “Glioblastoma”. Sadly, I know too much about it, as I lost my grandfather to the same thing in 2008. The second, of course, was for the same reason everyone else was shocked and saddened; our love for Rush. Neil has been dubbed “the best drummer of all time”, and it is so, so true. The other “hurt” I felt was not so much hurt, but rather a warm feeling, that even in death, his privacy was honored. I don’t think I’ve ever seen widespread news of a celebrity’s passing days after it happened. The fact that only his family, and close friends, including Rush band mates Gary “Geddy” Lee Weinrib and Alexander “Alex Lifeson” Živojinović knew about it, in order to allow them the time and privacy to grieve was heartwarming. Tears of joy in a time of great hardship.
I wanted to post here when I found out, but I didn’t know how. I could have reported in an emotionless, fact-only tone like most news sites, or I could have put feelings into it, like I do, but that didn’t feel right at the time. So instead, I stayed quiet. Now, a month later, I feel I can say what a lot of us are thinking: he isn’t dead, and he will never die.
Because legends never die.
I’ve seen a lot of concerts in my 33 years of life, but none have made me feel the way I felt at the three Rush shows I’ve seen. I saw them on the Vapor Trails tour, the Snakes and Arrows tour, and on their R30 tour. I’m so, so glad I did. I even got lucky with the Snakes and Arrows show, because we got third row seats, which, how the amplitheater was set up, actually landed us in the front row. Incredible. Those shows will forever stay in my mind, even when I’m old and senile. I’ll never forget them and how they made me feel, or even what they inspired me to do.
And that’s why he will never die.
My uncle is a drummer. He was heavily inspired by Rush. My mother is a singer, also inspired by Rush. My dad is a guitar player and singer, and yes, also inspired by Rush. Every single person I’ve met who loves music, young or old, musician or not, got some inspiration from Rush. Why? Because they are the best at what they do. And Neil was the best drummer of all time. Agree or disagree, but I think he will always be the best. I think even the best drummers out there right now would agree.
Yet another reason why he won’t die.
Neil Peart wasn’t just a drummer and song writer. He was an artist, an author, a private family man, a traveler, a wanderer. He was a legend. And legends never die.
As long as we remember his music, his shows, his love for his fans, his life, and his inspiration, he will live on forever. And that’s how it should be.
RIP to the best goddamn drummer in the universe. To the legend: Neil Peart. We won’t let you die. And thank you.