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Rush’s Geddy Lee Wrote a Memoir to Help Grieve Neil Peart

Lee says he started writing because "I was struggling in the aftermath of Neil's passing"

geddy lee memoir book grief grieve death neil peart rush
Geddy Lee, image via Instagram
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    Rush’s Geddy Lee says he coped with pandemic lockdowns and the death of his longtime friend and drummer Neil Peart by writing a memoir. The as-yet untitled book will be published in Fall 2022.

    In an Instagram post, Lee said that he was “locked down for over a year and a half — the longest time I’d spent in Toronto since I was nineteen and hit the Northern Ontario bar circuit with Rush.”

    Lee spent more time with family, “teaching my grandson the finer points of baseball and birdwatching, tending to my pups (one of whom was quite ill) and spending the evenings with my lovely better half, glass of Armagnac in hand, as we watched every European mystery show ever produced.” But he was still feeling pretty low.

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    “My friend and collaborator on the Big Beautiful Book of Bass, Daniel Richler, saw how I was struggling in the aftermath of Neil’s passing, and tried coaxing me out of my blues with some funny tales from his youth, daring me to share my own in return,” Lee said. “So I did — reluctantly at first, but then remembering, oh yeah, I like wrestling with words. It’s a less physical version of arguing with musical notes, without a Ricky doubleneck breaking my back! And soon my baby-step stories were becoming grownup chapters. Being the nuclear obsessive that I am, I’d write and re-write them, reassessing perspectives in the narrative not just by scouring my memory banks but my diaries and piles of photo albums too. I was piecing together a mystery of a different kind.”

    He added, “I’d then send these improved and even illustrated stories to Daniel, who’d clean up some of the grammar and remove a lot of the swearing (I love to fucking swear), and presto! In a voice that sounded, well, just like me, a presentable, epic-length account of my life on and off the stage was taking shape: my childhood, my family, the story of my parents’ survival, my travels and all sorts of nonsense I’ve spent too much time obsessing over. And Daniel said, ‘I think you’re writing a book. An actual memoir, in fact.’ To which I replied, ‘Hmm… I guess I am.'”

    The book will be edited by Noah Eaker, and while it isn’t finished just yet, Lee said he is “rounding third.” It will be published by Harper Collins sometime next autumn.

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    It’s been a hard year for Lee; in July, his mother Mary Weinrib died. The Holocaust survivor was 95. That same month, Alex Lifeson shot down any chance of a Rush reunion, and so your best bet to hear the old songs live might be Primus’s Rush tribute tour, currently ongoing, which features a performance of the band’s 1977 album A Farewell to Kings. But that doesn’t mean more music isn’t on the way — Lifeson and Lee have said they are “eager to get back together” to work on new songs. In August, the pair released a different sort of collaboration, the Canadian Golden Ale beer.

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