Neil Ellwood Peart
September 12, 1952 - January 7, 2020
Neil Peart, drummer for Canadian power trio Rush, passed away earlier this week on Tuesday. The news was confirmed by spokesman Elliot Mintz- who is also known for his association with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. According to Mintz, Peart died after a private three and a half year battle with brain cancer. Peart was 67.
Peart was born in Hamilton, Ontario to Glen and Betty Peart. He was the first of four children- with Peart's siblings being Danny, Judy and Nancy. At a young age, Peart had an interest in music. When Peart was 13, his parents bought him a pair of drumsticks- with Peart's parents promising their son a drum kit if he was still practicing after one year. By age 14, Peart had earned his first drum kit. Peart struggled in finding any success in his first few years as a drummer. At 18, he moved to London for a year and a half but with no luck. In 1974, Peart was asked by a friend of his to audition for a band called Rush. Their original drummer, John Rutsey, had just left the band and they were looking for a replacement. Peart auditioned for future bandmates bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson. In the end, Lee and Lifeson decided to hire Peart- officially joining the band on July 29, 1974. For the next four decades, this line-up would stick together. In Rush, Peart contributed his top-notch drumming skills to complicated pieces such as "2112," "Tom Sawyer," and "YYZ" just to name a few. Peart also served as a lyricist for the band, with his influences coming from the work of philosopher/author Ayn Rand and science fiction.
While Rush's classic line up would stay together until 2015, there was brief hiatus between 1997 to 2001. In 1997 shortly after the band's Test For Echo tour had concluded in August 1997, Peart's 19-year-old daughter Selena was killed in a single-car accident. Just ten months later in June 1998, Peart's common-law wife Jackie Taylor succumbed to her battle with cancer. Given his tragedy, Peart took a sabbatical and traveled around America for a long time- which was documented in his book Ghost Rider: Travel on the Healing Road. By 2002, Rush were back with their next album Vapor Trails. The band would continue to tour until 2015 when the band quietly retired.
Peart is survived by his wife of 19 years Carrie Nuttall and their daughter Olivia (born 2009).