Rush's Neal Peart Remembered By Mike Portnoy was a top 20 story of Feb. 2020: Legendary Rush drummer and lyricist Neal Peart, who died in January from brain cancer, was remembered by Mike Portnoy (Sons of Apollo/ex-Dream Theater.
Prior to Peart's death, Portnoy struct down a rumor that Rush's Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson wanted to tour and were thinking of using him because Neal was unwilling to hit the road.
Portnoy shared his reflections about Peart during an interview with World Prog-Nation. He said, "The first time I saw them live was December 9th, 1982, on the 'Signals' tour at Nassau Coliseum. And at that point, I had been a fan for about a year or so. I really dug into 'em and then got obsessed around when 'Moving Pictures' came out, and 'Signals', and then worked my way backwards. All my favorite albums were the ones that preceded those, like 'Hemispheres', 'A Farewell To Kings' and 'Permanent Waves'. Those are my favorites, but I didn't really discover them till a few years after those albums [came out], and it turned my world upside down."
Mike said that Rush"was the right band at the right time for me. 'Cause before that, I was starting out on drums, and I was learning from John Bonham and Keith Moon and Peter Criss and Marky Ramone, more simple, straight-ahead stuff, and that was good for me to learn how to get around the kit. But then, when I was around 13 or 14, in the early '80s, that's when I discovered Rush and Neil, and at that point, I wanted to grow and learn more and learn how to build a giant big kit and play more complex music.
"So, it was the right band at the right time for me, and I got completely obsessed. I also discovered other progressive music, like Yes and Genesis and Crimson, and those drummer, Bill Bruford, Phil Collins, Terry Bozzio; all those guys, but Neil and Rush were always number one for me."
Portnoy also offered this personal reflection about Neal, "He had this reputation that he was sort of quiet and isolated and private, and he was, and it was very important for him to guard that. But once you were somehow allowed into that inner circle, he was always so sweet and kind and generous.
"He'd always send me holiday e-mails and he would always send me his new books and stuff like that. It was a relationship that I'll always cherish and I was honored to have."