IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris 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.
Speaking to Rob Rush Radio, Harris said (head audio below): "I never met Neil. I met the other two guys [from RUSH]. I played tennis with the other two. A good friend of mine, Andy Curran from CONEY HATCH up in Canada, we played doubles [with them].
"Yeah, it's a sad loss with Neil passing — just awful, really," Steve continued. "But [IRON MAIDEN] never played any gigs with [RUSH]."
He then repeated: "Yeah, awful."
In a 2018 interview with The Metal Voice, Harris was asked how much of an influence on his bass playing RUSH's Geddy Lee was. He responded: "Not very much, really, if I'm honest, because I was really influenced by more British players. I did love RUSH as well, [and] I still do — the '2112' album and 'A Farewell To Kings' and all that, of course. … But Geddy is a fantastic player — of course he is."
Harris went on to recount the experience of playing tennis with Lee and RUSH guitarist Alex Lifeson. He said: "It was quite funny, because me and Andy [Curran] were supposed to play tennis against them two, and Geddy said, 'No, actually…' So, basically, me and Geddy ended up playing them two first and then we switched around afterwards. Nobody was there to watch it, but I thought it would be quite funny if people had seen me and him playing tennis together."
Harris's side project BRITISH LION released its second album, "The Burning", on January 17 in digipack CD, double gatefold vinyl and digital download formats via Explorer1 Music (E1).
BRITISH LION comprises vocalist Richard Taylor, guitarists David Hawkins and Grahame Leslie, Harris on bass and keyboards and drummer Simon Dawson.