Books

Rush drummer Neil Peart wrote books about his travels as a musician

The late drummer was also an author of several nonfiction books, including the 2014 memoir-travelogue Far and Near. He spoke to Shelagh Rogers in 2015.

Peart spoke to Shelagh Rogers about his travel memoir Far and Near in 2015

Neil Peart, drummer for iconic Canadian band Rush, died on Jan. 7, 2020. (Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP)

Neil Peart, the drummer of iconic Canadian band Rush, has died at age 67, CBC News reports.

The influential musician and lyricist died on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, in Santa Monica, Calif. 

He had been diagnosed with brain cancer, according to a statement from family spokesperson Elliot Mintz.

His death was confirmed by Meg Symsyk, a media spokesperson for the progressive rock trio comprising Peart, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson.

Along with penning impressive lyrics, Peart was renowned for his proficiency on drums and expertly weaving together techniques from different musical genres, blending jazz and big band with hard rock.

Peart was also an author with several nonfiction books about his travels as a musician, including 1996's The Masked Rider, 2002's Ghost Rider and 2011's Far and Away, based on his love of motorcycles and biking journeys around the world.

I had found my place of rest and redemption, and the Ghost Rider's work was done. He could keep on riding now, right off the end of that pier, into the sunset.- From Ghost Rider by Neil Peart

Peart spoke with Shelagh Rogers on The Next Chapter in 2015 about his book Far and Near.

"What I really like is the freedom of travel. I discovered early on that I wanted to be able to travel to [places like] Inuvik, N.W.T., and I wanted to be able to travel around Mexico and explore the Sahara Desert," Peart told Rogers.

"When we're touring typically we play a show and then a day off and then a show. I look at that map for the day off and see where can I go and how can I best use this day. My mantra about that is, 'What's the most excellent thing I can do today?'"

Neil Peart on "Far and Near" 17:23

Rush, which formed in Toronto in the 1970s, attracted a loyal, worldwide fanbase, sold millions of records and influenced a multitude of rock musicians with its complex, literary music. 

The trio was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994, joining the U.S. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.

You can read an excerpt from Peart's 2002 book Ghost Rider below.


With that in mind, I look back to another turning point, a late afternoon soon after I moved to Santa Monica. I stood alone on the Santa Monica Pier looking out to sea, thinking of all that had happened, and how miraculously my life had turned completely around again. I thought about all those restless, often miserable miles (55,000 of them) I'd covered between the dock on Lac St. Brutus and that pier overlooking the Pacific Ocean. And the distance my little baby soul had travelled on that Healing Road too, from sitting on that dock with a cigarette and a Scotch and seeking meaning in a pair of duck-shaped rocks across the lake.

As I stood on the Santa Monica Pier, the unofficial end of Route 66, the "Ghost Road," I saw that it was a fitting place to entertain the sudden realization that the Ghost Rider's road ended there too. A hermit no more, a gypsy no more, a splintered personality no more; I was growing into one man again (though no longer a man alone), with joy and meaning in my life, passing the days and nights in a place where I belonged — beside the woman who loved me so well. Carrie.

I had found my place of rest and redemption, and the Ghost Rider's work was done. He could keep on riding now, right off the end of that pier, into the sunset.

And if the music stops
There's only the sound of the rain
All the hope and glory
All the sacrifice in vain
If love remains
Though everything is lost
We will pay the price,
But we will not count the cost
BRAVADO, 1991


From Ghost Rider by Neil Peart ©2002. Published by ECW Press.

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