Rush members Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson have been quick to downplay published rumours that long-time drummer and the band’s chief lyricist, Neil Peart had announced his retirement from the group.
“You have to know when you are at the top of your particular mountain, I guess maybe not the summit but as high as you can go.”
Ole general manager, Andy Curran, speaking for the U.S based company which had just purchased the band’s Anthem/SRO Entertainment operation, offered a curt “It’s just a rumour as far as I know” in response to coverage from The Toronto Star and other news media. Curran confirmed that Rush has a live recording and concert film of their R40 tour scheduled for release and the band is committed to at least one more studio project.
A published article by Peart in latest `Drumhead magazine, has sparked the current controversy. In the article, Peart is quoted as saying “The reality is that my style of drumming is largely an athletic undertaking and it does not pain me to realize that like all athletes, there comes a time to take yourself out of the game.”
In the same article, he quoted as saying; “You have to know when you are at the top of your particular mountain, I guess maybe not the summit but as high as you can go.”
These rumours were also fuelled by comments from his 6 year-old daughter Olivia who has been referring to her dad as the `ex-drummer’ of Rush but Lee and Lifeson both feel there may have been a misquote as there has not been a meeting between the members to discuss Peart’s retirement.
Certainly Rush’s recent R40 tour, named to mark Peart’s 40 years with the band, was considered to be the band’s last major road jaunt although they never said it was going to be a final tour – unlike Black Sabbath’s current finale of dates. And Peart’s comments may refer to such touring commitments but don’t say he’s curtailing his studio activities with the band.
And it wouldn’t be the first time Peart had announced his retirement from Rush. Following the tragic death of his 19-year-old daughter Selena Taylor on July 4th 1997, as a result of a single-vehicle auto accident near Brighton Ontario and the subsequent passing of his common-law wife Jacqueline 10 months later, the 63-year-old Peart told Lifeson and Lee at Selena’s funeral that he was quitting the band and then took off on an 88,000 kilometre bike odyssey around North and Central America as detailed in his book, “Ghost Rider – Travels On The Healing Road”.
That experience was healing enough for Peart to re-commit to the band and rejoin them for their Vapour Trails release in 2002 and he has continued to be the creative force in the creation of subsequent studio releases such as Feedback (2004) Snakes And Arrows (2007) and Clockwork Angel (2012).
Since joining the band as a replacement for John Rutsey in 1974, Peart has been the band’s central lyricist, helping Rush to sell over 30 million records in a career which has seen them inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994 and The Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame in 2013.