I was sitting in a bar with a friend when my phone chirped with the news that Neil Peart had died. It was a year to the day that I’d moved back to Toronto, and one of the things I’d noted to friends was the remarkable increase in the amount of Rush I was listening too. Appropriate, really—possibly the greatest band Canada has ever produced (with apologies to The Band, mostly—but not purely Canadian, and the Tragcially Hip, who I would dub the greatest Canadian band and if that doesn’t make sense I can explain.) I was a child of Toronto in the 80s, and Moving Pictures was inescapable. I can remember watching Symphony of Fire fireworks routines set to The Camera Eye.
Subdivisions though…Subdivisions may be Rush’s greatest non-Moving Pictures non-Closer to the Heart non-Spirit of the Radio song (I hate being boxed in, in case you haven’t figured that out.) The video might as well have been filmed in my neighbourhood, and was filmed at the next high school over from mine. Subdivisions resonates—even if, as in this case, you leave out those improbably deep heavy bass notes that open it.
I hope wherever Neil is now he’s drumming alongside the heroes he had—Buddy Rich and Animal chief among them. Neil was the best, and maintained his Canadian niceness until the end.