Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart died of cancer on January 7
He probably would have made an amazing parts manager as well.
Instead, Neil Peart is remembered as one of the greatest rock drummers of all time.
A member of the iconic Canadian band Rush, Peart died of brain cancer on January 7, 2020 at the age of 67.
Tributes to Peart credit his incredible proficiency on the drums and his lyrics with giving Rush a worldwide following over 40 years. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 and was the first group to be awarded an Order of Canada.
It could have turned out differently.
Peart’s father Glen Peart was president and co-owner of Dalziel Equipment Ltd., an International Harvester dealership based in St. Catharines.
Neil worked several summers at the dealership, but decided at 18 to move to England to pursue his burning passion to be a drummer. When he was less than successful, his father offered him a job as parts manager back in St. Catharines.
In an guest blog posted on Farm Equipment website last year, Glen Peart describes how happy he and his wife were when Neil sent a note in 1974 that he was coming home.
Glen Peart said his son was a natural fit for the business, good with numbers and had an easy way with people.
“When he arrived home, we computerized the parts inventory, set up some new controls and he slipped into the position quite comfortably.”
But then one day a white corvette rolled up to the dealership with two managers of Rush. They asked Neil to audition to replace the band’s drummer who wasn’t able to tour for health reasons.
Glen wrote that he encouraged his son to try out, adding that he told him that if it didn’t work out there was still a parts department that could use him.
Glen Peart closed his dealership after a few years and went on to become manager of the Ontario Retail Farm Equipment Dealers Association for 19 years, retiring in 1998.
Neil Peart went on to global fame.
Neil Peart’s death on January 7 triggered an outpouring from fans, fellow musicians and politicians.