Keeping Up With Neil Peart

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There are occasions when the world does, as the saying goes, seem to be a small place. Little glimpses into the personal details of other lives remind you that there are many connections between us that we may not often think about.

It was with some surprise and a few small smiles of recognition that I read the latest news posted by Rush drummer Neil Peart on his personal website. As a Rush fan of many years, I always find interesting the little tidbits of information concerning their recent activities, and if I might say with regard to some of Neil’s motorcycle stories, antics.

Neil has taken to discussing many of his personal experiences and feelings about music and sometimes a lot more, on his website in recent months. It’s no surprise that the primary lyricist for Rush can put a few words down quite effectively and I always enjoy reading what it is that he decides to share with the world.

Apart from a few updates on song-writing activities with his Rush band mates, a new “recording” drum set and the fun he has been having writing music and recording with a fellow by the name of Matt Scannell form Worcester, Massachusetts (I’m originally from Massachusetts myself, a few towns northwest of Boston), Neil mentions a few things of the sort that kind of make you go: “Wow, really?”

The first was his mention of his long-time passion for the fragrance of the lilac flower. I too, since childhood, have been particularly fond of that aroma that makes itself available for a few short weeks in late May or early June in this part of Southern New Hampshire.

I believe that my fondness for the lilac flower began in fourth grade when I had a hopeless crush on a girl in my class who wore perfume (or something) that reminded me of that very fragrance. Each year in May, I, as Neil once famously penned “commit my yearly crime,” (yes I know Neil actually wrote “weekly crime” and to him, I extend my apologies) and pull my pick-up truck (its height is better suited for this caper than the car) up to a stand of blossoming lilacs on some local road and break off a small branch with a cluster of flowers.

The lilacs occupy a vase in a prominent spot on the kitchen counter for a few days so that I may stick my nose into them occasionally as I pass by and be transformed again back to my fourth grade classroom. They never last long enough, either on the counter or in the ground and are gone too soon, leaving me without that particular pleasure for another year.

In another passage, Neil mentions that he is not much of a sports fan. Something else the rhythmic Canadian and I have in common and something that makes me feel a little more alienated from the public-at-large each year. Locally, it is a rarity for the weatherman on TV to complete a forecast without at least a brief mention of the conditions that are expected for the Red Sox game. It might just be me, but it seems as if people are more sports-crazed now than ever.

Finally the fact that I am an aging drummer, although I hesitate to use that word in association with my abilities in an article that features so prominently the legendary Neil Peart. Still, after almost 20 years since last sitting down behind a set of drums, I one day hope to make some room for a kit of my own to play purely for the enjoyment of it.

Neil’s writings are well worth keeping abreast of for any Rush fan, and it’s amazing to me how these little glimpses into his life reveal a few similarities to my own. Thanks, Neil and please, keep on writing.

[tags]neil peart, rush, matt scannell[/tags]


  1. Peter September 16, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    The title “Keeping up with Neil Peart” is an oxymoron.

  2. Real Rock News September 16, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    A well-deserved compliment for Mr. Peart.

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