Rush drummer says movie scene takes place every night – but that’s the only part of DVD he’ll ever watch


Three for dinner: Rush

Rush drummer Neil Peart says the bonus-feature dinner filmed for the band’s Beyond the Lighted Stage DVD takes place every night before they play – and he’s worried guitarist Alex Lifeson will choke him to death one evening.

But he’s never watched the acclaimed movie, and never will, because he doesn’t want to relive some of the subjects discussed.

Peart’s life disintegrated in 1997 when his daughter died in a car accident, then his wife died of cancer just ten months later. He took time off before deciding to continue with his musical career – but he has no desire to watch as the episode is discussed in the movie.

Peart tells Explore Music: “I haven’t seen it. When I was a little kid, if my dad turned the home movie camera on me I ran out of the frame. To watch a movie with me in it would be uncomfortable. A lot of it I don’t want to relive. My mum and dad told me there’s parts of the story I’m not going to be comfortable reliving. I don’t want to go through that myself.

“But I’m going to have to watch the dinner some time, because I remember it so well.”

The bonus footage shows Lifeson joking with bandmates Peart and Geddy Lee, with the drummer frequently unable to stop laughing. And he says that’s a regular occurrence.

“I was dying from laughter at Alex,” he recalls. “We keep saying he’s going to kill me. I’ll choke to death. It happens now: we always have dinner together before the show, then he’ll say something and soon I’m choking to death.”

Peart says Rush have never been better, and they’re enjoying every minute of their lives: “We know we’re at our prime, we know we’re playing our best and we know it can’t last for ever. We don’t talk about, ‘When will it be over,’ we talk about ‘Look what we have now’.”

He’s enjoying the fact that he continues to progress as a player, and maintains he’s a better drummer than he was two years ago. “I’ve pushed myself into having the first half of my solos improvised, and the second half is composed,” he says. “I like the fact I don’t know what the first note will be, the first figure or which part of the drum set I’m going to start on. So many of the ideas I work on the little practice kit. I work on it for 20 minutes before the show and that night it’s in my solo, which is pretty cool.”

And Peart believes it’s important to inspire people in whatever you do – with one small exception: “When people tell me I inspired them to play drums I say, ‘Tell your parents I’m sorry’.”

Related stories: