There were rumors, but now those rumors have turned out to be true.
Neil Peart, one of — if not the — finest rock drummers ever, has decided he can no longer tour with Rush.
Alex Lifeson confirms Rush’s retirement from touring
Rush guitarist says Neil Peart is no longer physically capable of life on the road
by Alex Young
Rush billed last year’s “R40 Tour” as their last full-scale outing, a notion which was emphasized when drummer Neil Peart all but announced his retirement in an interview with Drumhead Magazine last December.
“… Lately Olivia has been introducing me to new friends at school as ‘My dad– He’s a retired drummer.’ True to say–funny to hear,” Peart said at the time. “And it does not pain me to realize that, like all athletes, there comes a time to… take yourself out of the game. I would rather set it aside then face the predicament described in our song ‘Losing It’ (‘Sadder still to watch it die, than never to have known it’).”
Now, in a new interview with Rolling Stone, Peart’s Rush bandmate Alex Lifeson has confirmed the band’s retirement from the road. While he and Geddy Lee would like to continue touring, Lifeson said Peart is no longer physically capable of participating in such extended outings.
Watch this video, and watch Neil Peart closely. He is 63 years old. Rush has been performing with Peart (as its second drummer) for 42 years. Hold that thought.
Continuing, from the article:
“He didn’t even want to do the [R40 Tour], to be honest with you,” Lifeson explained. “It’s been increasingly difficult for him, but he committed to the tour and we got through it. As far as he was concerned, that was the end of touring.”
“His shoulders were hurting, his arms were hurting, his elbows, his feet, everything,” Lifeson added of Peart. “He didn’t want to play anything less than 100 percent. He was finding it increasingly difficult to hit that mark on this last tour. So, all those things combined, I get it. I’m disappointed and I think Geddy [Lee] is very disappointed and we’d love to continue this tour a little bit longer, but we’re off now.”
Hearing about the retirement of Peart and possibly of Rush simply, admittedly, emphasizes my own predicament. I’m retired. I’m never going to be a cop again. I can watch deputies in cars on the street driving to their calls and I can’t help but wonder where they’re going and what they’re doing.
In other words, it’s another door closing. A reminder of how old I am My own heroes are going away, retiring, and even dying. I admit it.
But it’s not just Neil Peart; let’s also include this from Wikipedia about the band Rush:
On April 29, 2015, Alex Lifeson stated in an interview that R40 might be the final large-scale Rush tour due to his psoriatic arthritis and Peart’s chronic tendinitis. However, he did not rule out future projects with the band, including smaller tours and limited performances, and even stated that he would like to work on soundtracks with Geddy Lee. On December 7, 2015, Peart stated in an interview that he was retiring. Lee clarified the following day that Peart had only retired from touring and was not ruling out continuing work with Rush in other capacities. Lifeson confirmed in 2016 that the R40 tour was the band’s last large-scale tour.
The end of an era. But in truth, Neil Peart’s retirement is well deserved.
What most don’t know is that Peart has suffered major personal tragedies. He lost his first child, a 19-year-old daughter, Selena, to a vehicle accident in 1997. Then, in 1998, Neil Peart’s common-law wife of 22 years, Jacqueline, passed away of cancer. Peart attributes her death to the result of a “broken heart” and called it “a slow suicide by apathy. She just didn’t care.”
For those who have suffered their own personal calamities, I would recommend Neil Peart’s book “Ghost Rider: Travels On The Healing Road,” written as a result of those two terrible losses. Beautiful, revealing, insightful, cathartic.
Let us not forget: being a drummer is like working out for three hours straight, involving every limb you possess, sometimes twice a day with some inconvenient and unsatisfactory rest in between. Oh yes. For four decades.
Now add in the focus, determination, craft, style and personal drive for perfection of Neil Peart.
I am sad. But on the other hand, Neil Peart deserves both his rest and his accolades.
His body is crying: I have little left.
He must obey.