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Geddy Lee responds to Neil Peart Drumhead magazine retirement announcement

Tue, Dec 8, 2015@10:06AM | comments

UPDATE - 12/11@9:25PM: The National Post has a great take on everything in this article where they thank Rush for a great 41 years (thanks TheSphere1729).

UPDATE - 12/11@9:34AM: John at has posted a sidebar to the article titled Notes to Neil where several famous drummers such as Taylor Hawkins, Mike Portnoy and Mike Mangini congratulate Neil on 50 years of drumming and reflect on how Neil has influenced them.

UPDATE - 12/10@12:34PM: Donna Halper has also chimed in regarding Neil's Drumhead article in this new post on her blog.

UPDATE - 12/9@2:48PM: And then there's this ... :)

UPDATE - 12/9@2:20PM: Ole's Andy Curran (formerly with SRO/Anthem) was asked by MusicExpress (thanks Nick B) about Peart's retirement and didn't offer much of an answer:

... Ole general manager, Andy Curran, speaking for the U.S based company which had just purchased the band's Anthem/SRO Entertainment operation, offered a curt "It's just a rumour as far as I know" in response to coverage from The Toronto Star and other news media. Curran confirmed that Rush has a live recording and concert film of their R40 tour scheduled for release and the band is committed to at least one more studio project. ...

Scheduled for release? How about released last month (??). And I believe Ole is based in Canada, not the US. I'm also unsure what the committed for at least one more album means, but I assume that's just referring to how they (Rush) have expressed in recent interviews that they are open to that; saying they are committed is a bit of a stretch. That is, unless he's referring to some kind of contractual agreement? Although I don't believe they are under contract requiring them to produce another album.

----- snip -----

Over the weekend we learned about a new article written by Neil Peart that appears in the November/December 2015 issue of Drumhead magazine where he reflects on 50 years of hitting things with sticks, and appears to announce his retirement from drumming:

... Lately Olivia has been introducing me to new friends at school as "my dad - he's a retired drummer." True to say - funny to hear. ...Now after fifty years of devotion to hitting things with sticks, I feel proud, grateful and satisfied. The reality is that my style of drumming is largely an athletic undertaking, and it does not pain me to realize that, like all athletes, there comes a time to ... take yourself out of the game. I would much rather set it aside than face the predicament described in our song "Losing It." In the song's two verses, an aging dancer and a writer face their diminishing, twilight talents with pain and despair, ...

John at has provided a full transcript of the article at this location. After the article appeared online, a number of music news outlets got hold of it and played up the retirement angle with a number of "clickbait" headlines saying that Neil had officially announced his retirement. But Rush bassist Geddy Lee seems to take issue with that statement. Prog magazine reached out to Lee and asked what his take on the article was:

... "There's really nothing to say. I think Neil is just explaining his reasons for not wanting to tour, with the toll that it's taking on his body. That's all I would care to comment on it. We'll get together eventually and chat about things. But in my view, there is certainly nothing surprising in what he said. Neil just feels that he has to explain with all the thousands of people asking, 'Why no more tours?' He needs to explain his side of it."

Asked whether he feels Peart's quote was taken out of context, Lee adds: "I think that's absolutely right. That's their job. Talking about something when there's nothing to talk about." ...

So Geddy makes it sound as if the announcement is more about Neil's retirement from touring and less about retirement from drumming. We should also keep in mind that Neil recently spoke with Modern Drummer magazine and was asked the following about his future:

MD: What's in the future? If Rush isn't touring, will you still record? Write prose? Be a dad?

Neil: You just answered it. There's no strict answer, but those possibilities are all there.

So in that interview he was definitely leaving the door open regarding recording new material with Rush. Neil Peart drum tech Lorne Wheaton also chimed in with this tweet yesterday where he certainly makes it sound like he at least thinks Neil's announcement was "official".

Hopefully we'll get some kind of further clarification in the near future.

Related Posts:
[Neil Peart talks retirement in new Drumhead magazine feature; full article now available online]
[Neil Peart talks retirement in new Drumhead magazine interview]