April 20, 2011
Rush fans are likely to think of Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson as the public faces of the group since they are the guys that always seem to show up for the awards shows, interviews and various publicity events. Their easy-going demeanor, quick wit and sense of humor serve the two long-time friends well as the default spokesmen for the band, but every so often we hear more than usual from the third and most reclusive member of the group.
It’s been explained a number of times through the years for the benefit of fans who wonder why Peart isn’t quite as visible as his band mates. Referring to Peart as “reclusive” should not be interpreted in a negative way. I can relate to the man. I’m no celebrity by any stretch, but the fact that I live in the woods with virtually no view of any other homes is no accident. I simply like my privacy.
Even so, I do enjoy a visit to the city now and again to enjoy a good meal or take in other attractions that are found there. As an author who is about to release a brand-new book, Neil Peart may soon find himself a lot closer to his fans than he normally would. Then again, perhaps not. It’s pretty common for authors launching new titles to embark on a book tour and arrange the customary book signings at various retail locations around the country, but with Rush in the middle of yet another leg of their Time Machine tour that will take them to Europe for the month of May, it seems unlikely that we’ll see any Neil Peart book signing posters in the windows of our local book stores.
Frankly, I’m not sure if Peart has ever done a book signing. Although he has already authored four books, I ‘m not able to find any evidence that he ever has, but maybe it eluded me. He’s not the kind of guy that’s known for casual banter with random fans, so my search for any reference to a book signing was probably a wild goose chase. I think most fans are content to appreciate the man for who he is and what he gives us as part of Rush.
Beyond that, his book and online writings often reveal more personal details about his life than we know about the affable Lee and Lifeson. Peart’s medium is the pen, or perhaps the laptop, depending on his preference I suppose, and there’s much to be learned from his work beyond the basics of BMW motorcycle maintenance.
Peart’s new book, Far and Away: A Prize Every Time, is another travel diary which chronicles his motorcycle journeys through North America, South America and Europe, much, if not all of them experienced as he traveled from venue to venue while on tour with Rush. Rather than opting for the tour bus, Peart is well-known for his motorcycle adventures which he has written about on his personal website as well as in his previous book, Roadshow: Landscape With Drums, A Concert Tour By Motorcycle.
“When I write about history or nature or geology, it’s from a first-person point of view. It’s me riding past a town and figuring out why something is the way it is,” Peart said in a recent discussion with Canada’s National Post. It’s clear that he views the world through lenses of a different color than most people. He’s obviously not content in the role of casual observer. Peart wants to know why.
That intense curiosity might best be confirmed by his comment to the Post when he said: “Not to be a spoiler, but in this book I really do come across what I think is the reason for living, and why we all live the way we do. I worked on this for two years, and by that point I couldn’t find anything wrong with it.”
Spoiler? Ha! This is one book that’s suddenly landed at the very top of my reading list.