Did Rush’s Neil Peart Just Confirm His Retirement?
"Lately, Olivia has been introducing me to new friends at school as 'My dad – he's a retired drummer,'" Peart tells Drumhead magazine, via Cygnus X-1. "True to say," Peart says, before adding that it's "funny to hear. ... Now after 50 years of devotion to hitting things with sticks, I feel proud, grateful and satisfied."
Rush has been in a state of flux since the conclusion of the R40 anniversary tour, which they confirmed would be the group's last large-scale jaunt. More recently, Alex Lifeson has confirmed that he'd like to continue, but it's been clear from the beginning that Peart was the one least interested.
Health problems have played a role, but no single element was more important than his young family, Peart has said. Still, he now admits that the decision wasn't an easy one – and the aftermath hasn't been either.
"It does not pain me to realize that, like all athletes, there comes a time to ... take yourself out of the game," Peart adds. "I would rather set it aside then face the predicament described in our song 'Losing It.' You have to know when you're at the top of your particular mountain, I guess. Maybe not the summit, but as high as you can go."
Here's the key lyric from "Losing It," composed for 1982's Signals by Peart: "Sadder still to watch it die, than never to have known it."
Peart also quotes the mid-century jazz band leader Artie Shaw, who memorably retired at just 44. "This summation of his career," Peart tells Drumhead via Rush is a Band, "really resonates with me now: 'Had to be better, better, better. It always could be better. ... When I quit, it was because I couldn't do any better.'"
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