Neil Peart, visionary Hall of Fame Rush drummer, has died

R.I.P to one of the greatest drummers to ever pick up a pair of sticks

Neil Peart, the visionary drummer and lyricist for Rush, has died.

Confirmed by Elliott Mintz, a spokesperson for the Peart family, the 67-year-old passed away on Tuesday (January 7) after quietly battling brain cancer for the past three years, according to Rolling Stone.

Often considered one of the greatest drummers to ever pick up a pair of sticks, Peart joined Rush in 1974 along with singer/bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson. His flamboyant yet definitive style helped make the trio one of the key bands of the classic-rock era.

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Lee and Lifeson released a statement today (January 10), calling Peart their “friend, soul brother and bandmate over 45 years,” and said that he had been “incredibly brave” in his battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

“We ask that friends, fans, and media alike understandably respect the family’s need for privacy and peace at this extremely painful and difficult time,” Lee and Lifeson said. “Those wishing to express their condolences can choose a cancer research group or charity of their choice and make a donation in Neil Peart’s name. Rest in peace, brother.”

Aside from being the band’s drummer, Peart was also the Canadian band’s primary songwriter. He was also the author of numerous books, including his first, The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa, which written in 1996 about a month-long bicycling tour through Cameroon.

In 1983, he was inducted into the the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame, making him the youngest person ever so honoured. Rush were later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 by Foo Fighters.

Rush
Rush (L-R: Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart, Geddy Lee). CREDIT: Fin Costello/Redferns

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Peart announced his retirement from Rush in 2015. Following the announcement, Dave Grohl was asked in an interview if he would tour with Rush if Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson asked him to fill in for Peart. He replied: “I’d say ‘I’m not physically or musically capable, but thanks for the offer.’ Neil Peart, that’s a whole other animal, another species of drummer.

“I know the arrangements, but I’m like Meg White to Neil Peart,” he added. “And she’s one of my favorite drummers!”

In a new statement shared on Foo Fighters‘ Instagram, Grohl called Peart “a kind, thoughtful, brilliant man.”

“Today, the world lost a true giant in the history of rock and roll,” he said. “An inspiration to millions with an unmistakable sound who spawned generations of musicians – like myself – to pick up two sticks and chase a dream. A kind, thoughtful, brilliant man who ruled our radios and turntables not only with his drumming, but also his beautiful words.”

He added: “I still vividly remember my first listen of ‘2112’ when I was young. It was the first time I really listened to a drummer. And since that day, music has never been the same. His power, precision, and composition was incomparable. He was called ‘The Professor’ for a reason: We all learned from him.”

Tributes have begun to pour in for the Rush stickman.

Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson wrote: “just heard about Neil Peart passing. I feel real bad about this – he was way too young. Neil was one of the great drummers and he’ll be missed. Love & mercy to Neil’s family.”

Public Enemy‘s Chuck D remembered the night he spent with Peart following their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “At the end of a crazy @rockhall night in 2013 where @rushtheband & @PublicEnemyFTP were inducted. It was just myself & Neil PEart alone talkin & laughing low in relief the long night was over-a small table backstage sharing a unique moment without much word. Rest in Beats my man,” he tweeted.

Comedian Dave Foley said: “Over 20 years ago, one of my best friends John Kastner(@jeanguykastner) brought Neil Peart to my house in Laurel Canyon. We stayed up all night drinking whiskey and talking on more subjects than I knew existed. He was the friendliest curmudgeon in the world. We’ll miss him.”

He added: “Deepest sympathy to his wife Carrie and daughter Olivia and to Alex and Geddy. We’ll never see his like again.”

Comedian Rick Mercer said: “A drum lesson from Neil Peart was one of my best days on the job ever.” While CNN news reporter Jake Tapper added: “RIP Neil Peart, iconic drummer and lyricist for RUSH.”

Jane’s Addiciton drummer Stephen Perkins shared a clip from behind Peart’s drum kit, writing: “Long Live Neil Peart.”

Another tribute came from KISS’ Tommy Thayer who wrote: “So sad to hear about Neil Peart passing. My deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans.”

See more tributes for Neil Peart below:

It absolutely breaks my heart to pieces to get the news of the passing of one of my greatest heroes of all time. Neil…

Posted by Mike Portnoy on Friday, January 10, 2020

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