I honestly don’t know how the man does it. He drew his very first breath seven or so years before I did and still manages to rack up thousands of miles on his trusty BMW motorcycle as he travels between concert venues. I find myself getting a bit worn out after just a few hours in the car! As his latest “News, Weather and Sports” update makes clear, the rock star lifestyle isn’t always as much fun as some of us might imagine. I think most of us still might like to give it a try, however!
Peart & Co. ran into their share of trouble during the month of August as they worked their way through the second leg of their Time Machine tour. Peart’s behind-the-scenes revelations may tarnish the rock star image just a little, but I suspect that would be just fine with him.
Although most of the trials and tribulations chronicled in Peart’s most recent update are of the nuisance variety – things like broken down buses, inebriated panhandlers and flat tires, his most serious brush with mortality was also the most fleeting.
The time it took for Peart’s front wheel to pass within inches (perhaps less!) of the hind legs belonging to an Idaho doe of respectable size would probably be measured in nanoseconds, but the experience seemed to be a stark reminder that it all could have ended for him if the timing had been just a little bit different that day.
Having had another close call near his home in California not long ago, Peart’s latest stroke of good (or bad, depending on how you look at it!) luck prompted him to reveal that he was left: “…’reckoning’ on that near-death experience for some time after—still am.”
I always hesitate to venture too far into the realm of the “spiritual” or whatever term it is you want to use to describe things that we just don’t understand, but perhaps Peart’s brushes with Bambi’s relatives could be construed as a message.
Maybe it’s time to give up the bike, and maybe that’s what all his “reckoning” is about. Perhaps the time is right to join Alex and Geddy on the bus, jet or whatever other mode of transportation the other two-thirds of Rush have chosen.
I was once a motorcyclist, albeit for a very short time. I was probably twenty or so, and was intrigued by the fast-moving adventures of two friends who enjoyed zipping around our suburban environs on motorcycles during the all-too-fleeting months of summer here in New England.
As someone who went from approximately zero experience on a motorcycle to a brand-new Suzuki 750, two things struck me immediately. The first was that motorcycles are fast! The second was that when you are on a motorcycle, cars look very large. What I was struck by, on the other hand, was how a seemingly harmless patch of sand can put you on your side before you know what hit you!
As an inexperienced rider, it didn’t take me long to lay it down. It wasn’t serious, and damage to both myself and the bike was minimal. However, it did set me to “reckoning” about my future as a motorcyclist. Partly due to the risk involved while sharing the road with so many larger vehicles and partly due to a need for cash to replace a car with a dead motor, I sold the bike and never looked back.
Call me a wuss, but for me the enjoyment I derived from the vastly different sense of “freedom” experienced by motorcycle travel wasn’t worth the risk of cashing in my chips so early on in life or losing a limb or two because some kid with a learner’s permit didn’t look both ways. Oh, I get it. I rode long enough to find out that taking the bike out for a ride on a cool summer evening was a hell of a lot more enjoyable than going by car, but I’m just not the enthusiast that Neil Peart obviously is.
I’ve probably already turned this post into more of a “biker” post than a classic rock post, so I guess I’ll simply say that my reading of the tea leaves suggests that Peart may not be traveling by motorcycle during the next Rush tour, presuming there is one. Just for the record, my money says there will be one.
Although Neil Peart is sometimes perceived as the “grumpy” one who doesn’t smile all that much on stage and may be more uncomfortable than Lee or Lifeson when it comes to meeting fans face-to-face, his willingness to share his thoughts and feelings by way of his website and remind us all that he is as human as the rest of us is evidence enough for me that he is neither pretentious or “grumpy.” The “Professor” thing I am willing to buy, however – this guy obviously knows too much about too many things!
Peart has, in his lifetime, has experienced incredible highs (who doesn’t want to be a rock star?) and incredible lows, and at this point in life perhaps Bambi is just trying to remind him that he should start thinking more about doing what he can do to minimize the lows. I think he might be contemplating the notion of writing future “News Weather and Sports” updates from a cushy seat on the bus while watching the landscape pass by the window on the way to the next gig.
Even without the bike, I have no doubts about Peart’s ability to compose interesting material from his experiences on the road with Rush, cross-country skiing in Canada or fussing over a nest of hummingbirds in his yard. Fans – at least this one – love reading his stuff.
Maybe I’m all wet and we’ll see Peart keep on biking, but your thinking does change as you move on in life (there are exceptions!), as do priorities. Thanks for keeping us updated, Neil. Whatever it is you decide, it’s hard to imagine that a guy so sharp and who has been through so much will make the wrong decision.