1/27/2020

Oh, Death, Where is Thy. . .

"Finally, there is the loss of Neil Peart (1952-2020), drummer for the Canadian rock band, Rush. Over at The American Conservative, I had the chance to write an obituary of him, labeling him “Homeric.” One commentator there (and, believe me, I rarely, if ever, read comments on internet sites) mocked me for the label. He’s just a drummer, the commenter claimed. Yet, Neil Peart was so much more than just a drummer. Yes, it’s true, he was a drummer, but he was also one of the best-read men of modern times in Canada, having read everything from Mark Twain to John Dos Passos to Camille Paglia. He also wrote and published several highly acclaimed books, usually dealing—in one way or another—with his vast and fascinating travels.

Additionally, Peart went through hell after the loss of his 19-year old daughter (due to a car wreck) in 1997 and the loss of his wife (from cancer and heart break) a year later. The two most important persons in his life gone, he rode his motorcycle throughout North America for well over a year, trying to re-find himself. His Penelope long gone, Peart, amazingly enough, found himself on these travels as well as finding his true love, Carrie Nuttall.

I first encountered the drumming as well as the lyrics of Peart back in the spring of 1981, my seventh-grade year, in Hutchinson, Kansas. Given all the hell that was home and school in 1981, I can state with absolute honesty that I would not be here, now, without the inspiration, words, and witness of Peart. Yes, simply put, I would not be here."