Photo via the Rush Facebook page.
Almost a year after his passing, Neil Peart’s friends and family spoke with Rolling Stone about the Rush drummer’s life and legacy, including how he lived his final years with “strength and stoicism.”
However, according Peart’s wife, his dire, 2016 brain cancer diagnosis did rip Peart away from domestic bliss (Rush stopped touring in 2015).
“He was living his life exactly the way he wanted for the first time in decades, probably,” his wife, Carrie Nuttall, told Rolling Stone. “It was a very sweet, content time… and then the gods, or whatever you want to call it, snatched it all away.”
Peart’s bandmates also revealed that it was his wish to not make a spectacle of his illness and to retain a level of privacy.
“Neil asked us not to discuss it with anyone,” Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson explained. “He just wanted to be in control of it. The last thing in the world he would want is people sitting on his sidewalk or driveway singing ‘Closer to the Heart’ or something. That was a great fear of his. He didn’t want that attention at all. And it was definitely difficult to lie to people or to sidestep or deflect somehow. It was really difficult.”
Added Rush bassist Geddy Lee, “He didn’t want to waste his remaining time talking about shit like that. He wanted to have fun with us. And he wanted to talk about real things right up to the very end.”
Peart also wished to share his passion for the drums with his young daughter Olivia.
“Neil immediately said, ‘She has it,’ ” Nuttall said, recalling how Peart gave Olivia a drumkit of her own. “She did inherit what he had. And of course, that thrilled him. … He made a huge effort not to make her feel intimidated by him — he didn’t sit there and stare at her having her lesson. He would be out of sight, but he’d be listening.”
Read the full feature via Rolling Stone here.