Former MEGADETH, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and WHITE LION bassist James LoMenzo has commented on the passing of Neil Peart, who died on January 7 in Santa Monica, California after a three-year battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. The iconic RUSH drummer was 67 years old.
During an appearance on the "Thunder Underground" podcast, LoMenzo said (hear audio below): "When [RUSH's eighth studio album, 1981's] 'Moving Pictures' came out, the word 'game-changer' is underused in context with that. Because that really changed what everybody kind of thought about what rock into metal drumming could be. That kind of precision, that kind of a space for each sound, and that kind of profusion, the strength that he played with, nobody had done that up until then. I would go as far to say as he probably modified people's perception of drums as much as maybe Eddie Van Halen did for guitar — in that record, especially. That's what I got out of it. And I remember being really excited. People cannot listen to 'Tom Sawyer' without air drumming — that ending part."
RUSH announced Peart's passing on January 10, setting off shockwaves and an outpouring of grief from fans and musicians all over the world.
RUSH's final show took place at the Forum in Los Angeles on August 1, 2015. Peart indicated at the time that he wanted to retire while he was still able to play well, along with a desire to spend more time at home with his young daughter.
Peart joined RUSH in 1974. He was considered one of the best rock drummers of all time, alongside John Bonham of LED ZEPPELIN; Keith Moon of THE WHO; and Ginger Baker of CREAM. Peart was also RUSH's primary lyricist, drawing inspiration from everything from sci-fi to Ayn Rand.