Neil Peart has once again updated the news page on his website with a story titled Witness to the Fall (contains tour setlist SPOILERS). Neil chronicles his travels between stops on the 2nd leg of the Clockwork Angels tour, including a little political discussion inspired by the Presidential election and the array of political signs he encountered. He also describes a meeting with Don George - his very first drum teacher - before the first Toronto show last month. It was the first time he'd seen Don in 45 years:
... In 1965, at the age of thirteen, I started drum lessons with Don at the Peninsula Conservatory of Music in St. Catharines, Ontario. When he stopped teaching there a year or so later, I didn't see him again until the day of that first show in Toronto, on October 14, 2012.
In recent years Don and I had been in touch by mail and email, and he sent me videos of his current teaching ideas and methods. I was pleased to see that he was obviously still a gifted and dedicated teacher. For his part, when talking about this long-ago student, Don was once quoted, "Neil didn't have another teacher for thirty years, so I must have done something right."
And he did - Don gave me a strong enough direction toward what I needed to know that I could follow it through those decades. Most of all, he gave me the encouragement that I could be a drummer, if I worked at it. Essentially, Don kept me climbing that mountain for three decades, until I needed Freddie Gruber and Peter Erskine to guide me to higher elevations. ...
Neil also relays his recent struggles with tendinitis, his foray into social media with the West Side Beemer Boyz Twitter feed, he and Michael's attempts to stay one step ahead of the Frankenstorm, and the untimely death of Shane Danniels - son of Rush manager Ray Danniels - earlier this month. Shane was diagnosed with a brain tumor a few months ago and passed away on November 1st:
... It was the day of our show in Atlanta, and that night Geddy gave a subtle reference to Shane in his introduction to "The Garden," which had been one of Shane's favorite songs.
Two nights later, after the final show in that leg, in Tampa, I flew to Toronto with the other Guys at Work in their "bus" (Challenger C-605), and spent some time with Ray. I knew how it felt to lose a child. After fifteen years, I think of Selena every single day, and from time to time (birthdays, black anniversaries), I am still rendered helpless with grief at that unbearable loss.
Before heading for the airport to get back to my own (second) family in Los Angeles, I attended the memorial gathering, and it was achingly sad and hard for me to bear. My sorrow must have been obvious, because it seemed like Ray was comforting and supporting me.
And in the following days I received messages from several friends asking if I was okay. ...
He ends with some more political talk and his reaction to the outcome of the election, attempting to explain his current political beliefs:
...this was an anxious election for those of us who worry about true individual rights (key question, perhaps: "Does a woman own her body?"), compassionate government, and the separation of church and state.
I define myself as a "bleeding-heart libertarian," unwilling to let people suffer unnecessarily (even if it's "their own fault"), so I am repelled by the cold-hearted and crypto-racist attitudes of the so-called "Christian" right. Michael is what Republicans call a "RINO," or "Republican in name only," which can probably be defined as "right-wing liberal" - politically conservative, socially liberal, and not sympathetic to religious influence on society at large. As he clarifies it, "I'm a registered die-hard Republican. I only seem liberal because I believe hurricanes are caused by low barometric pressure and not by gay marriage. My party left me!"
Generally, while believing in individual rights and responsibilities, we favor the classic liberal values of generosity and tolerance, and fear the religious oppression that has wormed its way into modern Republican platforms. (And that is a good metaphor.) ...
Be sure to read the entire update at this location.