Rush is a Band

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Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

Sun, Jul 14, 2024

Glen Peart tells Farm Equipment magazine about his son Neil, the parts-manager turned rock star in rare interview

Wed, Oct 16, 2019@10:13AM | comments

Mike Lessiter of Farm Equipment magazine was recently able to connect with Neil Peart's father Glen Peart for a rare interview to ask a few questions about his son and the International Harvester dealership he co-owned and operated (Dalziel Equipment Ltd.) in St. Catharines, ON. Peart shares the story about how Neil became a parts manager at the store, went to London to pursue his musical dream, but then ultimately came back home:

... All the music that Neil wanted to play was coming out of England. At the age of 18 we talked it over and he would be working with me for the summer. I said whatever he could save up, I would double.

In the fall, we built a plywood crate for everything he owned - pretty basic - plus his precious drum kit, and off he went. The pickings were pretty slim; he ended up working for a Canadian who operated a souvenir shop on Carnaby Street in London. Neil was to clean up the old store paint it and get it ready for merchandise to put on the shelves. Neil had been working this project for a few days when the owner popped into the shop and said "I'm going to be away for a few days, the merchandise will be arriving. Could you just open the cartons and put it on the shelves?"

Neil was glad to have the job. As it arrived, he lined it all up on shelves as he had done many times in our dealership. When the owner returned, he was so pleased he said, "Why don't you stay here and manage this store for me? His dealership experience did pay off!

In the fall of 1973, our dealership won a sales campaign trip to England with many other Canadian dealers and his mother, Betty, and I had the chance to spend a couple of days with him in London. Betty was concerned that he was so thin and pale - the English climate will do that to you - but he was obviously homesick and missed all his friends.

Neil and I had a talk. I said "Neil, you are managing the store here and I have a Parts Dept. that could sure use you!" I know this was working on him and in the New Year (1974), he sent us a note and said "Dad, I'm coming home!" I don't know who was happier - his mom or dad - but it was a celebration! ...

He continued working at the store until the day the white corvette showed up:

... Neil had joined a small local band playing only on weekends. Somehow, his reputation had gotten around.

The "White Corvette" visit to our farm equipment dealership has been documented several times. After lunch when the two men left, I could tell that Neil was really tormented. He was certainly not himself.

When we locked the door, he came and sat in my office and unloaded. The two visitors were the managers of Rush, a band from Toronto that were about to hit the big time. They had signed a contract and their first tour was arranged but their drummer had just dropped a bomb on all their plans - for health reasons, he had been told not to travel. The managers wanted Neil to audition ASAP and, if successful, to join the other two guys and start to practice - immediately!

Neil was consumed with guilt because we were just coming into our busy season and he felt he was letting me down. I finally said, "Neil, this could be the chance of your life. We have to talk this over your mother when we get home, but I feel you have to do this. It could be a dream come true and if it doesn't work out, there will still be a Parts Department that can use you!" Obviously, Mom agreed with my thoughts and the rest is history!"...

You can read the entire article at this location, along with a companion piece that discusses in more detail how Neil became a part of Rush here. Thanks to Jake W for the heads up.