Fans of intricate hard rock were despairing when it seemed Rushs drummer had hurled in the towel. But the bands Geddy Lee says parties got it wrong

On 7 December, when the storey proceeded viral across various music websites, the headlines were definite. Rush drummer Neil Peart has withdrawn, said Metal Injection, ended with tongue-in-cheek Bummer Alert :. For followers of the multi-million exchanging Canadian ensemble described by Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett as the high priests of conceptual metal this was indeed a bummer of epic proportions.

Neil Peart is no everyday drummer. In the areas of heavy stone, Peart is, by popular consensus, second only to the late John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. And just as Bonhams death in 1980 was the end of Led Zeppelin, so the whiz Peart is irreplaceable to the band he has provided as drummer and lyricist since 1974. If the storey is the truth, that was it for Rush.

The source was an article that the 63 -year-old Peart wrote for Drumhead periodical, in which he referred to comments made by his young daughter. Lately, Olivia has been introducing me to new friends at academy as My dad hes a retired drummer. True to say, funny to sound. Peart will continue to be paraphrase a line he wrote for a 1982 Rushed ballad. It does not sting me be recognised that, like all contestants, there comes a is high time to give yourself out of video games. I would rather give it aside then face the quandary referred to in our psalm Forgetting It( Sadder still to watch it die, than never to have known it ).

The response from Rush fans on social media was an outpouring of hopelessnes, mixed with a certain degree of uber-fan one-upmanship: I experienced them back in 78 at Newcastle City Hall. Ive understood 102 Rush gigs. The kind of material that geeks revel in and fans of Rush are notoriously geeky.

But was Peart actually saying what they thought he was saying? In the absence of public officials explanation from Peart, it was Rush bassist/ vocalist Geddy Lee who set the record straight, when he “ve spoken to” Prog magazine on 8 December. According to Lee, what Peart said was merely a confirmation of what he has said frequently in recent years that he is no longer willing to tour for months on end, as Rush have done throughout their 40 -year career. Simply, that Peart is retreat from touring, but not from the band. I thoughts Neil is just excusing his reasons for not wanting to tour with the toll that its taking on his torso, Lee said, alluding to the tendonitis the drummer now suffers from.

There is, nonetheless, another factor in all of this Pearts dedication to his family. As Peart said in 2012: Frankly, beings dont realise the relinquish you make as a touring musician. Being away when children are growing up and when your partner necessities you guys later, its wrenching.

The truth of the matter is that Peart did retire from Rush in the late 90 s, in accordance with the death of his daughter Selena in a auto accident, and the loss of his first partner Jacqueline to cancer. It was exclusively after he remarried in 2000 that he was influenced by his new bride, photographer Carrie Nuttall to return to the band.

Since then, Rush have enjoyed a later-career renaissance. For a ensemble that has sold more than 40 m albums, they have remained a religion phenomenon for the purposes of the radar, as guitarist Alex Lifeson introduces it. But the bands 2012 album Clockwork Angels was a huge hit: No 1 in Canada, No 2 in the US. And in 2013, Rush were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, connected on stagecoach at the ceremony by the Foo Fighters, who performed a classic Hurry-up sung, The Overture, from the 1976 book 2112, while wearing wigs and the kind of flowing grey satin robes that Rush wore back in the 70 s.

Foo Fighters president Dave Grohl whose work with Nirvana sealed his honour as the most significant rock drummer of his generation told you he screamed after assembling Neil Peart for the first time. Another famous drummer, Stewart Copeland, formerly of the Police, described Peart as the most air-drummed-to drummer of all time.

Geddy Lee tells the Guardian what it is that realise Peart so good: Neil compounds a few occasions that you dont often find in one drummer. He blends powerful rock histrionics with an incredible compositional feel more suited to a classical musician. He has the chops and ability to switching into a jazz-like improvisational mode at any time. The other thing is the pure physicality of what he does. When you look him play live their lives three hours, there are very few people on Earth than can play at that tier for that length of time. Like he says, My job is like moving marathons while solving equations.

Lee feels that Pearts comments about retirement have been misconstrued and sensationalised. Thats how it goes in the media, he says. Talking about something when theres good-for-nothing to talk about. He is adamant that Peart, and Rush, will carry on. But for how long, he cannot say. The wear and tear of age is likewise telling on Lifeson, who has arthritis. What Lee said in May 2015, in an interview with Classic Rock magazine, still holds true. Can we go on eternally? Clearly not. And if it is the end, its going to happen in bits and pieces. If we cant used to go and do a massive tour in the future because everyone cant agree on that, theres nothing to say we cant do another account or one-off shows here and there.

Neil Peart has not adjourned. Not yet. But Geddy Lee knows it wont be long. All we can do, he says now, is enjoy what time we have left.

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