How Neil Peart ‘Came Out’ To Road Warriors
Rush drummer Neil Peart surprised a close friend by “coming out” to a group of people who’d just helped the pair out of a difficult situation.
He’s well known for his desire to avoid publicity at all costs. But after having their motorcycles towed to safety from a dangerous rough track that had left them stranded, Peart told the rescuers who he was, and invited them to a Rush show the following night.
He writes on his website blog: “I astonished Michael by introducing myself — by name and by profession — to our rescuers.
“I started by asking Tom, ‘Are you a fan of rock music?’ He nodded tentatively, not knowing what I was getting at. Turning to face all of them, I said, ‘Well, I play for the band Rush. If any of you are going to be in Phoenix tomorrow night, I would like to invite you to our show.’
“Tom shook his head and said, ‘Whoa — I used to listen to Rush all the time.’ Then he made a wry face. ‘I just wasn’t sure if you meant that modern kind of rock!’
“The rest of them seemed excited about the idea, so I brought out my notepad and they wrote down their names. Michael gave them his cell number in case they had any trouble picking up their tickets.
“Later he said to me, ‘Wow — after traveling with you all these years, I’ve never seen you ‘come out’ before.’
“I fixed him with an ironic glare. ‘Someday you’ll learn that there’s always a proper time to come out.’”
Peart often cycles between concerts and he’s been riding the backroads of the world for over a decade with Michael alongside. The drummer reflects they have a relationship which helps them both deal with times on tour when things get tough.
“Our attitude toward each other tends to be constantly nasty – but in a funny way,” he explains. “As the 2012 part of the Clockwork Angels tour was grinding to an end, after three months, we had both noticed an atmosphere of tension around the work-days.
“With sixty-five people living and working together in tight quarters in our traveling circus – carried this time by six buses and nine trucks – sometimes individuals get weary, tempers fray, patience fails, and there are altercations.
The daily good humour and morale-raising jokes continued (for example, we and our audiences would often be surprised by costumed characters capering about during the shows). But during the day, I would catch the backstage gossip, and hear about certain crew members or drivers getting into verbal scraps. After many tours, you learn that it always seems to happen like that toward the end.
“Between Michael and me, the escape from that is that we talk so awful to each other all the time that nothing has to be held back — no tension or resentments build up inside. Petty issues are spewed out in a constant stream of gay banter, acid remarks, vicious insults, and gutter profanity that doesn’t allow any grudges or annoyances to linger. It’s like a pressure-release valve that’s always on, just a little. Or a lot.”
• Rush want fans to wear a band shirt all day today, to mark the date’s similarity to the title of their classic album 2112. They’re looking for fans to send photos for a website gallery – find out more.