Neil Peart, drummer for Rush, Dies at 67

The drummer Neil Peart during a Rush performance in 1979 in Chicago. Mr. Peart, the anchor of the Canadian prog-rock trio, had an aggressive type of brain cancer.Credit...Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Neil Peart, drummer for Rush, Dies at 67

His drumming was directly intricate and explosive, pinpointing odd meters and expanding Rush’s power-trio dynamics. He was also the band’s primary lyricist.

Neil Peart, the pyrotechnical drummer and high-concept lyricist for the Canadian progressive-rock trio Rush, died on Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 67.

The cause was brain cancer, according to handout from Elliot Mintz, a spokesman for the family.

Rush was formed in 1968 but found its long-term identity — because the trio of Geddy Lee on vocals, keyboards, and bass, Alex Lifeson on guitars and Mr. Peart on drums — after Mr. Peart replaced the band’s founding drummer, John Rutsey, in 1974.

Mr. Peart’s lyrics transformed the band’s songs into elaborate suites exploring fantasy, magic, and philosophy, often with the individualist and libertarian sentiments that informed songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Freewill.” And Mr. Peart’s drumming was directly intricate and explosive, pinpointing odd meters and expanding the band’s power-trio dynamics.

In a recording career that continued into the 2010s, Rush headlined arenas and had quite dozen platinum albums.

Mr. Peart was also an author, writing books about his travels and his memoirs. The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.

After a Rush tour in 2015, he retired from performing, citing its physical toll on his body, especially given his illness.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the band said that Peart had had glioblastoma, the foremost aggressive sort of brain tumorfor three and a half years.

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