From Sunday’s Toronto Star:
Neil Peart is cradling a tumbler of whisky and squinting ahead.
The late afternoon sun casts moody shadows that dance around the lounge at the Hazelton Hotel. We’re tucked into the corner, slouched forward on russet leather sofas. A copy of Far and Near:On Days Like These, his latest book, sits between us, an anchor of manicured prose that spans three years of his life, travels and day job as the drummer and lyricist of Rush.
The prog-rock trio formed in 1974. To put this longevity in focus: when a 21-year-old Peart drove his mother’s Pinto to Pickering, and nailed his audition with existing band members Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, Pierre Trudeau was prime minister. Stateside, a scandalized Richard Nixon was about to resign. And Paris was home to the new Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Politicians come and go. Buildings open and close. But one thing that hasn’t changed since that July day more than 40 years ago: Rush is still, first and foremost, a live act. In the same way Corvettes are designed to go fast or the Kardashians were placed on earth to destroy synapses, Rush is all about playing in front of an audience.
“Live shows were always religion for us,” says Peart, sipping his double Macallan. “We never played a show — whether it was in front of 15 people or 15,000 — where it wasn’t everything we had that night.”
The lads are ready to give it their all once more. And if you’ve been meaning to glimpse them in their natural habitat, pouring sonic licks and pyrotechnic fury into a throbbing arena, this may be your last chance.