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Farewell To A King

“A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission.”

― Neil Peart September 12, 1952 – January 7, 2020

Farewell To A King

Mike Tomano

© 2020 Fossil Entertainment Group

I'm shaken by the passing of Neil Peart. RUSH was a rite of passage for any young Rock-N-Roller in the 70s & 80s. They were the "cult band" you discovered from the older teenagers in the neighborhood. They were a step into complex arrangements and deep lyrics. While other bands sang of chasin' girls and fast cars, RUSH explored philosophical themes, science fiction, human nature and individualism. They continued to grow as musicians with each album. They were...and are.. special. No compromise.

Neil Peart was the idol of aspiring drummers everywhere; young people bashing away in basements, trying to figure out The Professor's every groove and fill. In his rare interviews, this extremely private man was candid and insightful, articulate and wise. His lyrics made us smarter and inspired us to seek out his literary influences. A new RUSH album was cause for celebration. I was fortunate enough to see them live many times. I was honored to meet Geddy & Alex; and, though we were told not to bother Neil if we saw him, I ventured a discreet peace sign. His books take his readers on adventures and travels around the world; from the mountaintops of grandeur to the lowest pits of sadness. Through his art, Neil Peart gave us hope. He taught us the rewards that await dedication to craft, commitment to quality, and self-reliance.

RUSH retired as a band at the top of their game. Neil had a new family to devote time to and a life to live outside the "Limelight", the rigors of recording and the grind of touring. He had accomplished more than most dream of in a lifetime. We, as fans, were sad to see it end. A major portion of the soundtrack to our lives had concluded. I am remembering RUSH moments this weekend. Pouring over his interviews and articles in Modern Drummer magazine. The feelings of elation and awe hearing Fly By Night, 2112 and Hemispheres for the first time. Receiving A Farewell To Kings as a gift on my 10th birthday. The many shows I attended. His expertise as a percussionist, his soul-stirring lyrics and his balanced approach to life have left their marks on millions. Neil Peart did it his way.

He is gone way too soon. We wanted more. Another book. Maybe a return to music. A new travelogue to share with us. Sadly, not to be. His work will continue to motivate and uplift. Beyond his incredible skill as a drummer, Neil helped shape my attitude toward professional endeavors. He informed my growth as an artist and a man. His words and music enrich my life. I hate that he is gone.

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