Interview With Neil Peart

Toronto Star, September 9, 1993, transcribed by Terry Blanchard

After 20 years of playing together and 30 million records sold, drummer Neil Peart says the rock group Rush still doesn't take anything for granted.

"I always worry that it may cease to be exciting, but something new always comes along," Peart says. "We've always found a way to weave new styles and new ways to put a song together. When we get together to work, there's still always an excitment."

Peart, singer-bass guitarist Geddy Lee and guitarist-backup singer Alex Lifeson make up Rush, which has released 19 albums, including one that reached triple platnium. Their 20th will be released this fall. Canadian music industry representatives voted Rush Group of the Decade in Canada in 1990.

The three are all at an age Peart discreetly refers to as "on the cusp of 40," and all have their main homes in Toronto and are all family men with children. But if their lifestyles appear small-c conservative, Peart notes, their beliefs, characters and music are not.

"We are implicitly and explicitly rebellious," he states. "We demand to do it our own way, even if we are wrong. We resist the machine and we refuse to be a mercenary."

The three try to blend their particular personalities into their music. "We are not just a group: we are very much three individuals," Peart explains. "Our new record is called Counterparts, and I think it is a comment on the way we work. There is constant interchange. We create together simultaneously."

The work is enjoyable for them because of their sense of humour, he says.

"Geddy is the funniest man in the universe," says Peart. "We're comedians among ourselves."