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Rest In Peace, Neil Peart (Rush)


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Rush has been my favorite band for my entire adult life, and part of my adolescence. I saw their concerts by far more than any other band, only missing a couple of tours over all those years. Neil's music, lyrics, books, personality...so much about the man has been a part of the very fabric of my life...his loss somehow feels deeply personal to me. And realizing he battled a form of 'C' similar to the one that took my brother last January, and that they were both quietly fighting it at the same time...it's just hard to put into words.

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My bedroom used to front our old farmhouse and in the summer I'd open both my windows and sit out on the tin roof of our porch with my guitar plugged into a halfstack and the hifi blaring. While I mostly played guitar back then, I had a bass and learned a couple songs - the first one I remember working on was Tom Sawyer. I don't remember a lot about my childhood, but warm summer days are always associated with that roof and Moving Pictures cranked to zomg.

Soon after, we got our first 'real' drummer (school trained) and he (to this day) only played Rush. He helped us write and perform our originals, which was a huge honor, but he really opened Rush's catalog to me and it was those years when I fell in love with the bass and simultaneously realized I would always be a frustrated drummer in my head. He taught me so much about playing drums and how music worked as we'd smoke weed and hang out at his house, breaking down Rush tracks and trying to learn them.

At house parties, I'd usually end up with the drummers down in a family room somewhere watching spliced VHS tapes of the drumming greats and there was No Question who was The Master. Everybody bowed down to Peart, metal guys, rock, blues, pop, country, everyone.

And Neil was such a gentle and inquisitive mind. As a young dork, I connected with him at that level strongly, too. My singer was always rejecting my lyrics because they were too wordy and nerdy :D Neil's resilience and hungry mind were inspirational throughout my life, especially as we get older and the challenges become deeper and more poignant.

I'm thankful that I was able to drag the old lady out to see Rush play on the Moving Pictures tour a few years back. As I said, it was my memory of good summer days of youth. She never realized how much it was connected to her youth, as well...though she did get a bit weirded out as we got into the depths of fan tracks and the crowd all air drummed and went nuts, she said it was like being at a cult ritual.

Yes. The cult of Neil, Geddy and Alex. RIP to a true legend. He enters heaven bearing a gift beyond price, almost free.

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