Rush‘s Geddy Lee has opened up about the last time he saw his former bandmate Neil Peart.
The drummer died in January 2020 after living with an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma for three-and-a-half years. He was 67 years old. A tribute concert was held in Los Angeles, California the following September.
During Lee’s current book tour – where he is reading passages from his memoir My Effin’ Life, which came out on Tuesday (November 14) – the singer-songwriter talked about his final meeting with Peart.
Per Consequence, the comments came as part of a Q&A segment of the tour’s opening night at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on Monday (November 13).
He told the crowd that Peart “would listen to a different Rush album” in the last months of his life, and “would be analysing it and listening to something he hadn’t heard, sometimes since we’d made it”.
Lee continued: “And by the time that he sadly passed, he had listened to pretty much all the work we had done as a band. And the last time I saw him…”
The bassist/vocalist then began getting emotional, telling those in attendance: “He wanted to tell me how proud he was of the music we have done together… some of this stuff is hard to talk about.
“And it just blew me away that, in that moment, we were sitting on his balcony at his house. And whenever we left him towards the end, we never knew if we’d see him again or not.”
Lee added: “And so we were sitting on his balcony and he was having a smoke, because he loved to have a smoke, like clockwork. And we were talking about what a great moment it was that he was here in this place and we had just seen some parakeets flying into the trees. And we both were bird nerds so we could talk about that.
“But he went on to talk about these songs and what they meant to him, and he thought it was very important for me to know that our life as a rhythm section together was important to him. So I thought that was beautiful.”
Over the summer, Peart’s sister Nancy opened up about the Rush drummer’s passing and how he had wanted to keep his illness private. “We had three and a half years to prepare, so we knew it was coming,” she said
Lee’s book tour will continue in the US and Canada until December 7 (find any remaining tickets here). He’ll then head to the UK for a five-night run, concluding with a stop-off at London’s Barbican Centre (find tickets here).
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