Unfortunately, it appears the current Rush lineup — that’s bassist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and legendary drummer Neil Peart — might never get the chance to finally tour Australia for the first time, because Peart has revealed he considers himself to be out of the game.
Having completed their R40 40th Anniversary North American tour in August, Peart has told Drumhead Magazine (via Rush fansite Rush Is A Band) that he considers himself to be “a retired drummer”.
“Lately [daughter] Olivia has been introducing me to new friends at school as, ‘My dad — He’s a retired drummer.’ True to say — funny to hear. And it does not pain me to realise that, like all athletes, there comes a time to… take yourself out of the game,” Peart says.
“I would rather set it aside then face the predicament described in our song Losing It — ‘Sadder still to watch it die, than never to have known it’.”
Rush, which formed its current lineup when Peart replaced original drummer John Rutsey in 1974, have never toured Australia.
In a statement, Rush megafan Joshua Batten from the ‘We Want Rush To Tour Australia’ group says he’s “extremely disappointed” by the news of Peart’s apparent retirement, but supposes that “deep down I knew this was coming”.
“Neil’s tendinitis has been holding him back a lot in the last year and now that he’s got a young daughter to look after, he really needs to spend whatever time he has with her,” Batten says.
“I still remain optimistic that Geddy will release another solo album and perhaps do a small club tour to support it, but as far as I’m concerned this is officially the end of my favourite band.
“But I’m glad I got to be such a huge fan for 5 years – I have dined on honeydew and drunk the milk of paradise. Enjoy your retirement, Professor Pratt – you’ve earned it.”
It remains unclear if Peart is just set to retire from touring as a drummer or from drumming altogether, which would stop him from continuing to make music with Rush.
When Rush announced their R40 North American Tour, the band’s press release said, “[This] will most likely be their last major tour of this magnitude,” and it looks like that could be very, very true.
Watch: Rush – Tom Sawyer (R40 Live Tour)