URIAH HEEP guitarist Mick Box has paid tribute to Neil Peart, who died on January 7 in Santa Monica, California after a three-year battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. The iconic RUSH drummer was 67 years old.
Over the weekend, Box took to URIAH HEEP's social media to write: "Devastating news re Neil Peart. He certainly left a musical legacy that will go on forever and in his lifetime he inspired a million other drummers."
He went on to call Peart's passing "a great loss to the musical world." He added: "Our condolences go to his family and band mates Geddy [Lee] and Alex [Lifeson]."
In a 2019 interview with The Metal Voice, Box remembered how RUSH opened for URIAH HEEP on tour in 1974, with Peart performing his very first RUSH show on this trek.
"You know what?", Box said. "We gave them our audience and they took it by the throat and they won the day. They were always good musicians."
The guitarist also recalled that RUSH was being accused by some music fans as being nothing more than a LED ZEPPELIN copy on its eponymous debut. "I think in the early days Geddy was getting the Robert Plant comparisons because he's got a high voice and things like that," he said. "But they waded through all of that and came out stronger, and it was very obvious that they were going to be a force to be reckoned with, especially as a three-piece."
URIAH HEEP is continuing to tour in support of its 25th studio album, "Living The Dream", which came out in September 2018 via Frontiers Music Srl.
Peart joined RUSH in 1974. He was considered one of the best rock drummers of all time, alongside John Bonham of LED ZEPPELIN; Keith Moon of THE WHO; and Ginger Baker of CREAM. Peart was also RUSH's primary lyricist, drawing inspiration from everything from sci-fi to Ayn Rand.