Rush is a Band

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Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

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New Neil Peart news update at

Thu, May 31, 2012@8:24PM | comments removed/disabled

[NEWS, WEATHER, and SPORTS: June, 2012 - Where Words Fail, Music Speaks]

Neil Peart has updated the news page on his website this evening with a story titled Where Words Fail, Music Speaks. Neil talks about the recent Golden Gods Award show where he accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of the band. He reveals that Alex Lifeson was initially scheduled to accept the award but had to cancel at the last minute, leaving it to Neil to take up the reins:

... Clearly I would have to do it, that's all there was to it-it was the right thing to do. The only thing to do. Obstacles would have to be surmounted. Or ignored.

Alex felt terrible about disappointing everyone, and I felt a loyal obligation to bail him out. And besides, it would be too rude for none of us to show up. We are Canadians, after all.

So ... the day my family moved from one overcrowded house where we had lived-and collected junk-for eight years, to another house that was soon overcrowded with boxes to be unpacked and organized, I had to duck into a shower that worked, find some decent clothes to wear (leather crew jacket from our Snakes and Arrows tour-the closest I have to "rock clothes"), and go say a few words that I hoped would be courteous, appreciative, and gracious. ...

Included are some great photos along with Neil's written acceptance speech. Neil then goes on to describe last month's Governor General Awards gala and the events leading up to it. He describes meeting Pete Townshend backstage after the gala:

... We were ushered backstage ... into Pete Townshend's dressing room. Usually I don't care much about meeting celebrities, like the actors or athletes who come to Rush shows, but this was one meeting and photo op I was more than glad to attend. ... To briefly recap a long history, The Who were my first favorite band. ... To the teenage me, Pete Townshend set the example for what a rock musician should be: "He smashes guitars-and reads books!"

So ... meeting him now, forty-odd years later, I remained full of admiration, respect, and gratitude-for his example.

As we shook hands, I was pleased to tell him that my first concert, at age fifteen, had been The Who, with the Troggs and the MC5 opening. He smiled at the notion of losing my concert virginity to that mix!

Pete told us about some volunteer work he had been doing in a British prison, trying to encourage the inmates to explore music. He said, "All they want is decks"-meaning to be DJs, not musicians.

As we turned to leave, I made one last comment to Pete. "I also really enjoyed your prose writing-are you doing any more of that?"

He told me he was just finishing writing his life-which I took to mean in quotation marks, as "life," like Keith Richards' autobiography.

He went on, in his soft, sonorous voice, the accent melodic and pitched perfectly between Cockney and Oxbridge, "A lot of people thought Horse's Neck was about me, but it wasn't, really."
I nodded agreement with that observation. ...

Neil then discusses his collaboration with Vertical Horizon and a recent outing to see the Jack DeJohnette Trio perform at Catalina's jazz club in Hollywood, before ending with some musings on lifetime achievement:

... Well, great art never fails. And we can always try again-try to do better next time. There is always hope in the spirits of those who do try, in words, pictures, music, and everyday living.

"Lifetime achievement" is all about trying, really. The proper reward for any success is love and respect, and perhaps the only award for failure is the opportunity to try once more.

Even if it takes a desperate flight of 5,923 words and twelve photographs-only to fail again.

As Samuel Beckett said, "Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
There will be another time, another place, another story.
And there is always music.

Be sure to read the entire update at this link.

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