GEDDY LEE: NEIL PEART 'Hasn't Just Retired From RUSH; He's Retired From Drumming'December 18, 2018
During an appearance earlier today (Tuesday, December 18) on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation", RUSH bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee once again confirmed that the band is unlikely to play any more shows or make new music. "Neil is retired," Geddy said, referring to longtime RUSH drummer Neil Peart. "He hasn't just retired from RUSH; he's retired from drumming. He's not drumming anymore, and he's living his life. Which is fine — Alex [Lifeson, RUSH guitarist] and I are cool with it. We're all still total pals. In fact, Alex and I were there just a few weeks ago visiting him, and we stay in touch. And, of course, Alex lives very near to me, so we're constantly going out to dinner, 'cause he loves to drink everything in my wine cellar. We're still pals, and we all talk, but that period of our life is done."
Lee — who recently released a book called "Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book Of Bass" — didn't rule out future collaborations with at least one of his bandmates.
"Is there more music to come from myself and from Alex?" he asked rhetorically. "I don't know when and what shape that will take. I don't know if Alex and I will do something together.
"People keep me asking me and they want me to be definitive, and I can't be, because I really haven't thought that far," Geddy added.
"I've been working on this book for just over two years now, and it's been great fun — it's been passion project for me. And it's been very good for my head. And, in a way, it was really a good break from everything that was going down with RUSH and from the end of that [last] tour, and it threw me into another obsession, which was educational, in terms of learning about my instrument, but also in terms of learning about making a book and what's involved. So I enjoyed that. Now I will start thinking about what I'm gonna do next and I'll start playing all those beauties" — referring to his bass guitars — "that are staring at me when I go into my studio."
RUSH has been completely inactive since completing its "R40 Live" tour three years ago. Peart says that playing concerts at his age causes too much painful wear and tear on his body and he'd rather call it quits before the performances start declining in quality.
Asked by "Trunk Nation" if he is happy with the way RUSH's final tour came to an end, Geddy said: "Oh, yeah. That last gig was a difficult night. But what you're talking about is really what was going through Neil's mind. He was struggling throughout that tour to play at his peak, because of physical ailments and other things that were going on with him. And he is a perfectionist, and he did not want to go out and do anything less than what people expected of him. That's what drove him his whole career, and that's the way he wanted to go out, and I totally respect that. And for Alex and I, of course, we're not drummers, so we don't take the same physical abuse, although Alex does suffer from arthritis and he was having a very difficult time on that tour playing a three-hour show. So it was clear that whatever happened in the future, it was not gonna be like that. And I spent a lot of time designing that tour with all our great creative people and trying to make sure that it told that story in reverse, and it was great fun to do. And I think my sadness was just the fact that I was so happy we pulled it off with the whole reverse chronological thing that I would like to have had the rest of the world, that couldn't come to those cities, experience that. And that's really the only regret I have — that we couldn't do more shows. But in hindsight now, and with the benefit of time, I'm very happy with the way it went down. It just didn't sit right for me to do a farewell tour and try to capitalize on that word. It just didn't work for me… It wasn't the easiest thing to pull off, but I feel good about our body of work, and I feel good about the way it ended. And, you know, onward and upward."
Lifeson and Lee have repeatedly said that RUSH will never do a show unless all three musicians agree to take part. They haven't performed as RUSH without Peart since he joined the band in 1974.
For first six years of RUSH's existence, John Rutsey was behind the kit and he played on the band's self-titled debut LP.
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