Damn it. Neil Peart has died.
Neil Peart, the pyrotechnical drummer and high-concept lyricist for the Canadian progressive-rock trio Rush, died on Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 67.
The cause was brain cancer, according to a statement by the band’s spokesman, Elliot Mintz.
Rush was formed in 1968 but found its long-term identity — as the trio of Geddy Lee on vocals, keyboards and bass, Alex Lifeson on guitars and Mr. Peart on drums — after Mr. Peart replaced the band’s founding drummer, John Rutsey, in 1974.
Mr. Peart’s lyrics transformed the band’s songs into multi-section suites exploring science fiction, magic and philosophy, often with the individualist and libertarian sentiments that informed songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Freewill.” And Mr. Peart’s drumming was at once intricate and explosive, pinpointing odd meters and expanding the band’s power-trio dynamics; countless drummers admired his technical prowess.
(click here to continue reading Neil Peart, Drummer and Lyricist for Rush, Dies at 67 – The New York Times.)
Peart was one of rock’s greatest drummers, with a flamboyant yet utterly precise style that paid homage to his hero, the Who’s Keith Moon, while expanding the technical and imaginative possibilities of his instrument. He joined singer-bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson in Rush in 1974, and his musicianship and literate, wildly creative lyrics – which initially drew on Ayn Rand and science fiction, and later became more personal and emotive – helped make the trio one of the classic-rock era’s essential bands. His drum fills on songs like “Tom Sawyer” were pop hooks in their own right, each one an indelible mini-composition; his lengthy drum solos, carefully constructed and packed with drama, were highlights of every Rush concert.
(click here to continue reading Neil Peart, Rush Drummer Who Set a New Standard for Rock Virtuosity, Dead at 67.)
Rush was one of my favorite bands when I was a teenager. 2112, Hemispheres, A Farewell To Kings, Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, Exit…Stage Left received heavy rotation, Signals, Grace Under Pressure, All The Worlds A Stage, Fly By Night, Power Windows, Caress of Steel also were in my teenage music library, albeit not played as frequently. I listened to Rush less as my musical tastes broadened, but they still hold a special place in my musical ears.
I suspect quite a lot of Gen X musical icons are going to pass away this decade, as I mentioned recently…I’m trying to brace myself.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to play some air drums…