Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist for Rush, has passed away after a quiet, three-year struggle with brain cancer. He was 67 years old.
If there was a Mount Rushmore of rock and roll drummers, Peart would be on it. Indeed, he’d probably be one of the few drummers universally agreed to be worthy of inclusion.
The Canadian power trio has one of the most loyal followings in rock, largely owing to the virtuoso skill of their instruments. And Peart stood out even among them, a man who could make his drums do whatever he wanted and embodied the spirit of rock and roll well into his years.
“It’s about being your own hero,” he told Rolling Stone in 2015. “I set out to never betray the values that 16-year-old had, to never sell out, to never bow to the man. A compromise is what I can never accept.”
Peart was also a gifted lyricist, whose rock and roll was influenced by everyone from Ayn Rand to Ray Bradbury to Stan Lee. Peart believed that rock’s rebellious spirit could be appropriated to more expansive subjects than just sex and drugs, pushing for more cerebral subjects that influenced generations of both sci-fi and rock fans.