Danger + Survival = Fun


For 34 years Neil Peart has been the drummer and lyricist for the Canadian prog rock ensemble Rush. I've been a fan of the band since I saw them open for Bob Seger at the West Palm Beach Auditorium in 1976, but I knew little about the man until my friend Bill gave me a copy of The Professor's "Ghost Rider" memoirs. As it turns out, my childhood rock idol is a voracious reader, a prolific writer and an inveterate motorcycle rider. "Ghost Rider" chronicles Mr. Peart's 55,000-mile, 14-month journey on "the healing road" in the wake of his college-bound daughter's and wife's tragic deaths. Neil Peart has written three journals for people with wanderlust: one recounting his solo bicycling adventure across Africa, "Ghost Rider," and "Roadshow," a twin tale of motorcycle globetrotting and a back stage view of the rock 'n roll lifestyle during the 30th anniversary tour of his legendary band. Neil Peart's prose lacks the whimsy and wizardry of his song lyrics, but his musings on the value of time and space in the life of a "shunpiker" had me rushing to my BMW motorcycle dealership after one read. I'll be riding that BMW on the El Diablo Run to Baja this spring, and "Working Man" will surely be on my iPod.


Anonymous said...

Your blog rules!
One thing. "Working Man" was recorded before Neil Peart joined Rush!!

Harold McGruther said...

Yeah, I know Neil didn't join the band until "Fly By Night;" I referenced "Working Man" because "Closer to the Heart" would have made me seem gay.

Tman said...

Hmm, 2nd time I have seen a reference to his journeys.........cycles AND bicycles? Gotta go read it now!

rob said...

i finished ghost rider recently and had mixed feelings about it. gotta give the man props for his honesty and openness after going through two tragedies. however the letters in the book get old/redundant as do the drive 500 miles and find a hotel repeat/rinse travels. but i guess a man had to do what a man had to do.

Harold McGruther said...

I'm with you, Rob. If the Professor hadn't switched from his first-person daily recap to the "letters to Brutus" narrative at the middle of the book, I would have said "Ghost Rider" was little more than a millionaire's high-school "what I did last summer" essay.

However, I'm 46 years old and I've only been to one funeral--my crazy uncle's. Loved ones are bound to start dropping like flies sooner than later, and I don't know how I'm going to handle it. I hope if I end up telling the same story over and over again my friends will forgive me. LIke you said, "every man's got to do what he's got to do."