Neil Peart
September 12, 2009 6:53 PM   Subscribe

When not sitting down at his drum kit, Rush's Neil Peart often sits down to write thoughtfully about his life. A look into the current world of an atypical rock musician, who's moved on after some considerable pain.
posted by davebush (17 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Dude, this is perfect. Growing up, Rush was a major part of my life, and Peart's lyrics were a not insignificant reason. I always said, "I can't wait until he writes books. I can't wait until he writes books." He has written some books, and they are awesome. Again, thanks for this post.
posted by jbickers at 7:01 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Peart's prose has long been a mainstay of the hardcore Rush fan, thanks to the tour programs and his writings therein. The journey he underwent due to the death of his daughter and wife led to two of the best Rush albums yet (although count me amongst those who want to see Vapor Trails remastered from the ground up -- great songs, horrid production.) Snakes & Arrows is as bold a statement about faith and life as is found anyplace in literature.

I cannot wait to see where the band goes next. They've been part of my life's soundtrack for as long as I've been listening to rock-n-roll, and they continue to amaze and inspire.

Thanks for posting. I forget that Peart has a website where he writes. I still tend to wait for the next tour program to read his stuff. Not any more!
posted by hippybear at 7:16 PM on September 12, 2009

Here's the page on his publisher's website for The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa.

This is kind of a self-link, as I do their web design.
posted by joannemerriam at 7:17 PM on September 12, 2009

Today is Neil's Birthday. Happy B'Day, Professor!
posted by jazon at 7:24 PM on September 12, 2009

Well, I'm just glad that so far this post is free of anti-libertarian snark...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:29 PM on September 12, 2009

Well, ZMT, I don't want to disappoint you, but I discovered Rush The Band during my own dabbling with Libertarianism, and even back then I found their lyrical messaging at times to be as heavy-handed as some of those Bleeding-Heart-Liberal-Folkies. If anything, their music has grown on me over the years. It also helps that their politics seem to have been thoroughly eclipsed by others far more batshit insane, so I'll put my vote in for "not really worth discussing here".
posted by wendell at 7:41 PM on September 12, 2009

I'm digging his stuff, thanks.

And judging from this:

A writer I have long admired and often quoted, Wallace Stegner, wrote that national parks were “the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” America’s only other comparable idea, perhaps, was philanthropy—another great invention that was unknown to wealthy Europeans

he's feeling a lot less "Rand-y" then he was a younger man.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:38 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm reminded of Peart often during the spring and summer - I live in his hometown and walk almost every day to Lakeside Park.

Drinking by the lighthouse
Smoking on the pier
Still we saw the magic
Was fading every year

I've done some serious thinkiing and reflecting on that pier.
posted by davebush at 9:54 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

America’s only other comparable idea, perhaps, was philanthropy—another great invention that was unknown to wealthy Europeans

If that's the quality of his historical understanding I think I'll give it a miss.
posted by rodgerd at 11:51 PM on September 12, 2009 [5 favorites]

America’s only other comparable idea, perhaps, was philanthropy—another great invention that was unknown to wealthy Europeans

does this man wear a helmet on his motorcycle
posted by vanar sena at 12:02 AM on September 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

If that's the quality of his historical understanding I think I'll give it a miss.

But it's true. All those ancient London hospitals are just figments of our imagination. Organizations like the Truss Society, established in the 18th Century was really a pre-capitalist plot to put shackles on the working poor. The Cadbury's, Rowntree's and the Fry's didn't really build model cities so that their workers could live in a decent environment, or campaign for prison reform. There was never, ever such a place as New Lanark, and Andrew Carnegie was actually *born* in Pittsburgh.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:19 AM on September 13, 2009

PeterMcDermott, Cadbury's did stop pubs being built in their model village, and even banned alcohol. I'm not sure I'd call that charity.
posted by Dysk at 3:55 AM on September 13, 2009

I liked Rush from the time I was a wee tot in the 1970s, and I was very excited to read Ghost Rider when it first came out. I wish I could say I liked it, but... I should probably just stop there. I will say that, even if I don't like the newer records (that would be everything after Hold Your Fire or thereabouts), I'm glad they're still making music together.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:07 AM on September 13, 2009


(family guy)
posted by Afroblanco at 7:43 AM on September 13, 2009

I'm not a big fan of Rush (I think they peaked with 2112) but the passage from one of Peart's memoirs where he discusses Schopenhauer while suffering from a mysterious tropical fever is absolutely brilliant.
posted by ovvl at 8:06 AM on September 13, 2009

When I read Neil's writing, I was interested to see how his formative experiences mirrored my own -- how he grew up rural, had to fight his way through school, dressed like an oddball, worked for his dad, was painfully shy, and had a hobby that his parents didn't understand but supported anyway. (I got an Apple II instead of a drumkit.)

I suppose that's kind of an archetypal biography, and I don't claim a special kinship with Rush because of it. But my teenage years sure didn't seem archetypal when I was living them. And now, twenty-odd years later, I'm blown away at how he made music that spoke directly to me when I was dealing with the exact same shit, without resorting to lazy autobiography.

(excepting Circumstances or Fly By Night, I guess)

You can say what you want about his angry young Rand phase. I'll always have warm feelings for Neil's music and writing, because back in the cold, unhappy times before we nerds ruled the Earth via our interweb, he spoke to me in my language.

Also: welcome to planet Earth, Olivia Louise Peart!
posted by Sauce Trough at 1:01 AM on September 14, 2009

also2: a memorable (to me, anyway) bit from Neil's Roadshow re: perspectives on Rush's politics.
"The listing for our two nights at Wembley Arena described us breezily as "Geddy Lee's longhaired right-wing Canadian prog-rock heroes." Well, they got one thing right: we were Canadian.

"The right wing nonsense had persisted for over twenty-five years, at least in the British music press ... Around 1977, a pasty, scruffy, humorless, left-wing "intellectual" had written a sensationalized expose', portraying us pretty much as standard-bearers for the Hitler Youth. To my shock and horror, he twisted the libertarian notions of an idealistic twenty-four year old drummer and lyricist into the darkly sardonic words about the gates of many Nazi concentration camps, Arbeit Macht Frei.

"In future interviews in Britain, we dryly informed the other journalists that sure, we were the only Nazi band with a Jewish bass player. In fact, Geddy's parents met at Aushwitz."
posted by Sauce Trough at 1:15 AM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

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