According to Rolling Stone, one thing that is clear from watching RUSH‘s new documentary “Time Stand Still” is the band will never tour without either their chronic tendinitis-suffering drummer Neil Peart or arthritis-stricken guitarist Alex Lifeson.
The 64-year-old Peart, who has a young daughter at home, initially had no intention of going on a tour last year. “In November [of 2014], we all got together in Toronto and I was quite prepared to say, ‘Sorry, I’m done,'” he says in the film. “I realized I was kind of a solitary misfit in that context of being the one that wanted to pull that plug. I left one little window in my mind that if somebody wanted to do it one more time and didn’t know if they’d be able to, [I would do it].”
The drummer also admitted to losing his cool once he found out that he would have to tour one last time. “I felt trapped,” says Peart. “I was stomping around and cursing. But by the next day it was like, ‘It is what it is. Deal with it!'”
Lifeson and RUSH frontman Geddy Lee confirmed that the band will never do a show unless all three musicians agree to take part. “It’s not like you just get new members of a band and just go for it,” says Lifeson. “RUSH has never been a band like that. We’d never, ever do something like that.” Lee adds: “We always said that if the three of us aren’t on board, we don’t do a thing. There have been other decisions in our career where the three of us weren’t on board and we didn’t do it. Nothing as profound as ending our touring life, but fair enough. So one guy doesn’t want to do that thing anymore that I love to do. That hurts. But there’s nothing I can do about it and that’s part of the agreement.”
Peart, who traveled from show to show on his motorcycle, rode through torrential rain with wet boots on his feet, which caused him to develop a fungus that grew into eczema psoriasis and bacteria infections. A topical ointment only made the condition worse and walking became nearly unbearable, let alone playing drums for three hours a night. “By the end of the second leg I was walking on two raw stumps,” Peart says. “So drumming, of course, was agonizing.” Lifeson says of his bandmate: “He’s such a stoic guy. I can’t believe he played through that.” Lee adds: “There were two weeks of utter hell for him, like really utter hell.”
“Time Stand Still” will be presented in a one-night-only Fathom Events screening nationwide on Thursday, November 3.