Friday, April 16, 2021

Living or dead, at their most interesting

It's an old parlor game....players trade names regarding whom they'd most like to invite to their own fictional dinner party.  

Living or dead?  That's usually the first question a player will ask the host.  Without any regard for mortality, here's one person who'd definitely make my invitation list....

2008 image, Wikipedia
NEIL PEART - the late percussionist and lyricist from the now retired, and vastly under-recognized Rock band---> Rush.  I've watched and read every interview I've been able to find that features this notoriously private musician and author.  

Sadly, Mr. Peart succumbed to brain cancer and passed away on January 7th, 2020 at the age of 67.  This post is dedicated to his memory.

As a percussionist of the Pop/Rock n' Roll genre; Mr. Peart has few peers living or dead.  I count them on one hand: Stuart Copeland (The Police), John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Carter Beauford (Dave Matthews Band), Phil Collins (Genesis) and Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins).  For my money, Neil Peart was the best --- period.

However, even if he hadn't been what Rush bandmate Geddy Lee called "such a f***ing monster musician", Mr. Peart still would've made my dinner list because of the man he was, the way he conducted himself and how profoundly and clearly he expressed his views on many topics through his lyrics, books and public interviews.  

He often struggled with fame.  Example -- one of my favorite Rush songs called Limelight includes a notable Peart line, "I cannot pretend a stranger is a long awaited friend".  

He wrote seven books, all non-fiction works and some deal with personal themes like the healing process after the tragic death of his daughter (car crash) and just months later, the death of his wife (Cancer).  For an interesting montage of photos from Mr. Peart's 40+ year stage career click here>.  

Incidentally, other invited guests at my dinner party would include Margaret Thatcher, William F. Buckley, Jr., Jacques Pepin, Judy Garland, Mohamed El-Erian, Condoleezza Rice, Gillian Tett, Milton Friedman, Jean Kirkpatrick, Holman Jenkins and Don Rickles. 

Neil, if you're reading this post from above; don't confuse the foregoing with all the "adulation" that so creeped you out.  My invitation is founded upon respect, kindness and a comfortable seat at my dinner table--nothing more!