Un assoluto gigante in una band di giganti. Neil Ellwood Peart è morto a 67 anni dopo una lunga battaglia contro il solito devastante male. Canadese di Hamilton, Peart è universalmente riconosciuto come uno dei più grandi batteristi di ogni tempo. I Rush la straordinaria macchina da guerra che conduce insieme a Geddy Lee e Alex Lifeson dal 1974 (più o meno sei anni dopo la fondazione della band avvenuta grazie al trio Lifeson/Jeff Jones/John Rutsey, non compare infatti nel primo album omonimo pubblicato quattro mesi prima del suo arrivo). Una carriera mostruosa costellata da successi e riconoscimenti personali ma anche una vita privata segnata da due indelebili tragedie come la morte della figlia Selena (1997) e della compagna Jacqueline (1998). Peart aveva dato l’annuncio del ritiro nel dicembre 2015. La tragica notizia è stata data dai suoi compagni di sempre:
“It is with broken hearts and the deepest sadness that we must share the terrible news that on Tuesday our friend, soul brother and band mate of over 45 years, Neil, has lost his incredibly brave three and a half year battle with brain cancer (Glioblastoma)”.
Non si contano in queste ore i tributi arrivati a ricordare e omaggiare il musicista canadese. Troppi davvero per poterli elencare tutti. Ecco una piccola selezione che si apre con la dichiarazione del primo ministro canadese:
Justin Trudeau > “We’ve lost a legend. But his influence and legacy will live on forever in the hearts of music lovers in Canada and around the world. RIP Neil Peart”.
Mike Portony > “It absolutely breaks my heart to pieces to get the news of the passing of one of my greatest heroes of all time. Neil Peart will always be a mentor and a hero to me and his influence on me as a drummer for the past 40 years is absolutely impossible to measure. But beyond that, over the past 15 years or so, he’s become a friend… always such a gentleman and a gracious host. Always inviting me to come to soundcheck and spend some time before the show whenever Rush was passing through. Always sending complimentary copies of his new books, or holiday emails with pictures of he and his young daughter Olivia. I have so many memories through the years, but probably the most special was the last time I saw him. I took my son Max to see Rush on their farewell tour as I wanted him to see the band before they retired. Neil, ever the incredible gracious host, invited us to soundcheck, let Max play his drums, gave him a pair of sticks and an autographed snare drum head and opened up his dressing room to us for the evening. The point is, if you were his guest you were family.”
Dave Grohl > “A kind, thoughtful, brilliant man. Today, the world lost a true giant in the history of rock and roll. An inspiration to millions with an unmistakable sound who spawned generations of musicians – like myself – to pick up two sticks and chase a dream. A kind, thoughtful, brilliant man who ruled our radios and turntables not only with his drumming, but also his beautiful words. I still vividly remember my first listen of 2112 when I was young. It was the first time I really listened to a drummer. And since that day, music has never been the same. His power, precision, and composition was incomparable. He was called ‘The Professor’ for a reason: We all learned from him.”
Brian Wilson > I feel real bad about this – he was way too young. Neil was one of the great drummers and he’ll be missed. Love and mercy to Neil’s family.
Max Weinberg > So saddened by the passing of Neil Peart. Drumming legend as we all know but a truly kind man. Personally arranged for my son, Jay (then a teenager) to open at a venue in Boston for Rush. Huge for an aspiring drummer! Condolences to his family from our family.
Flea > I’m gonna go spend the day air drumming. R.I.P. Neil Peart. What a craftsman, That dude fucking shredded.