Neil Peart, RIP

Total shock. Neil Peart has passed at age 67. From Rolling Stone: "The cause was brain cancer, which he had been quietly battling for three years, according to Elliot Mintz, a spokesperson for the Peart family. A representative for the band confirmed the news to Rolling Stone."

RIP, Neil Ellwood Peart, 1952 - 2020.

It's impossible to underestimate the importance of Rush on a Midwestern kid that grew up in the 70s. Everyone got into 2112 and All The World's A Stage when they came out. This heavy rock, this music that moved us, was from just across the border in Canada. The band wasn't pretty, in fact, they looked like we felt: awkward teenagers, boys growing into men. Yet Rush sounded like it came from outer space. Sure, it was riff-laden masculinity, with a high nerd-quotient, but it had everything that appealed to an adolescent boy: the riffs, the energy, the intrigue, all wrapped in the best band name ever, RUSH. Next, the three virtuosos - Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart - graduated into the wonderful "prog" era of Farewell to Kings and Hemispheres; two epic albums that solidified what we already knew: Rush were the greatest, right up there with best of our British heroes. Then, the unimaginable happened - hits, everywhere! Spirit of the Radio, Freewill, Tom Sawyer, Limelight, Rush were now everyone's band. As Rush relished in their "progressiveness," they climbed the charts - during an era where bands had to do the opposite! As the band entered the 80s, they continued to modernize and refine their sound. Both Signals and Grace Under Pressure adapted a keyboard-centric "synth" sound that fit perfectly in the "new wave" of the era. As the 80s turned into the 90s, Rush continued to excel; sure, nothing compares to the earlier era of the band, but nothing rocks like youth, right? Seeing the band live was a thrill second to none. Rush were always excellent and never offered anything less than a spectacle. Their catalog is unique in rock's canon: there is no close second, and they offered no also-rans, just a single-minded trail of excellency over each album.

Rush's place in rock history is simple. They never compromised. They rode their path to superstardom just by being Rush. Neil was the egghead, the athlete, the traveler, "The Professor," the quiet one... but above all, he was Neil Peart, drum god. No one before, no one after.

Farewell to the King.